Book Review: Mary Balogh’s Simply Love

Posted May 31, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Mary Balogh’s Simply Love

Simply Love


Mary Balogh

historical romance in Paperback edition that was published by Delacorte Press on August 15, 2006 and has 320 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Slightly Married, Slightly Wicked, Slightly Tempted, Slightly Scandalous, Slightly Dangerous, A Summer to Remember, Simply Unforgettable, Simply Magic

Second in the Simply Quartet Regency romance series and revolving around four teachers at Miss Martin’s School for Girls in Bath. The couple focus is on Anne Jewell and Sydnam Butler. It’s been two years since Simply Unforgettable, 1 (7).

My Take

Simply Love is about acceptance. Primarily accepting that one should not judge a book by its cover nor by one’s social class. It’s interesting that Anne fled at the first, no, it was her second sight of Sydnam. He, poor boy, had been a promising artist and can no longer paint after his capture. An interest Balogh makes good use of with David’s interest in painting and which portrays Sydnam in a very flattering light as well as providing a vehicle for Sydnam’s comeback — Upton must be a very good art teacher, and David a very good pupil.

I like that Anne realizes how rude her behavior was and does her best to be accepting, and Balogh provides running commentary on Anne’s discomfort with Sydnam and his own thoughts about Anne. I wish Balogh had been more believable in their growing love for each other. I did want it, I just wish…well, you know.

The story annoyed, delighted, and saddened me with Anne’s irritation with her adamant possession of her son. Why is it so horrible for Joshua to acknowledge a kinship with young David? When you consider how much Anne regrets and is angered by her own family’s rejection of her, wouldn’t you think she’d want a welcoming family for her son??

The frustration Anne and Sydnam experienced in their own minds as they meet, get to know, and become more intimate with each other even as they worry over what the other truly feels, as they misinterpret the other’s actions, will drive you nuts as well. There’s an aspect to it that doesn’t feel real, and there were times I wanted to slap ’em both silly.

Ya gotta love the Bedwyns. They may be arrogant, but they do accept people from any class of society.

Ooh, Miss Martin has a past involving the Bedwyns!

Anne’s father is an ass, thinking that Anne had tried to force Albert into marrying her. That she had “teased” him, and he lost control. Yep, men are definitely the weaker sex, if that’s what people think. That a man loses control after a bit of “teasing”. Her father thinks she could have stopped him. If she’d wanted to. Excuse me??? Oh, that’s right, since/if men are the weaker sex, they must be physically weaker too. Asshole. He insisted that everyone in the family ignore their embarrassing daughter. God forbid he should look bad.

I LOVE that Anne confronts her family, forces them to look at their hypocrisy. Poor Henry and Sarah, so unhappy with their betrayal of someone they supposedly loved.

The Story

Anne first spied him in the deepening dusk of a Wales evening — a lone figure of breathtaking strength, until he turns toward her.

For teacher and single mother Anne Jewell, Sydnam Butler is a man whose sorrows — and passions — run deeper than she could have ever imagined. She begins to see beneath the façade while Sydnam senses in Anne a kindred soul, and between these two wary hearts, desire stirs.

Then scandal looms, suddenly the unwed mother and the war-scarred veteran must make a decision that could forever alter their lives.

The Characters

Anne Jewell teaches geography and mathematics at Miss Martin’s. She’s an unmarried mother with a son, David, and originally came from Lydmere in Cornwall.

Miss Martin’s School for Girls was…
…started by Miss Claudia Martin with the backing of a generous, unknown donor. Besides Miss Jewell, the teachers include Miss Susanna Osbourne; Lila Walton who had been a senior pupil last year and is now a junior teacher; Mr. Upton is the art master; Mr. Huckerby the dancing instructor; Mademoiselle Pierre teaches French and music; and, Mr. Keeble is the doorman. Mr. Hatchard is Miss Martin’s London agent. The students include Agnes Ryde; some of the students are charity girls. Mr. Blake is the physician on call for the students; he’s sweet on Anne. Frances Marshall, the new Countess of Edgecombe, had been a teacher at the school in Simply Unforgettable; Lucius is her husband.

Sydnam Butler, independently wealthy and preferring isolation, is the steward of Glandwr House in Wales where the Bedwyns plan to summer and where they have invited Anne and David to come for a month. Mrs. Parry is the housekeeper. Glenys is the maid who tends Anne at Glandwr. Tý Gwyn is a house and property that are part of the estate that he’d like to buy from Wulfric. The rest of Sydnam’s family includes Kit Butler, the Viscount Ravensburg, his brother who is married to Lauren (A Summer to Remember, 0.6). Andrew, Sophia, and Geoffrey are their children. Sydnam and Kit’s father is the Earl of Redfield.

The Bedwyns have…
…been friends with the Butlers since childhood and their own series precedes the Simply Quartet. Joshua Moore is Lady Potford‘s grandson and Marquess of Hallmere with a seat at Penhallow. He’s married to Lady Freyja Bedwyn (Slightly Scandalous, 3) and has been a huge support for Anne. Daniel, the new Marquess of Lindsey, and Emily are their children. As far as Joshua is concerned he, Prue, Chastity, and Constance are David’s relatives.

Lord Aidan Bedwyn and Eve, Lady Aidan Bedwyn, (Slightly Married, 1) adopted Davy and have two daughters?, Becky and Hannah. The Duke of Bewcastle, Wulfric, and his duchess, Christine, (Slightly Dangerous, 6 & last), a former teacher, will be at Glandwr House for the summer as well. Lady Morgan, the youngest Bedwyn, is married to Gervase Ashford, the Earl of Rosthorn (Slightly Tempted, 4); Jules and Jacques are their children. Lord Rannulf Bedwyn and Judith, Lady Rannulf Bedwyn, (Slightly Wicked, 2) are as compassionate as the rest of the family; Miranda and William are their children. Lord Alleyen Bedwyn and Rachel, Lady Alleyen Bedwyn, have twins. Laura is another of the children.

Other guests include…
Mrs. Pritchard is Lady Aidan’s elderly Welsh aunt who had once earned her living down a coal mine. Baron Weston is Lady Alleyne’s uncle. Mrs. and Miss Eleanor Thompson are the duchess’ mother and sister. The Reverend Charles and Mrs. Lofter are the duchess’ brother-in-law and middle sister. Alexander is their ten-year-old son.

Tudor Rhys is the Welsh minister. Huw Llwyd sings and his wife accompanies him on the harp; they are the duke’s tenants.

Penhallow, Cornwall, is…
…where Anne worked as a governess with Lady Prudence Moore, Joshua’s mentally handicapped cousin. Prue has since married a fisherman, Ben Turner, and has two sons. Albert Moore is Joshua’s cousin, Prue’s brother, and would have inherited the title if he had lived. His father had been the Marquess of Hallmere. Lady Constance, David’s aunt, is married to Jim Saunders, the steward. Aunt Chastity, Lady Meecham, is married to Meecham.

Gloucestershire is…
…where Anne grew up. Matthew, her brother, is married to Susan and is a vicar now with two children, Amanda and Michael. Sarah is Anne’s betraying younger sister now married with four children: Charles, Jeremy, Louisa, and Penelope. Henry Arnold was the man Anne had thought she’d marry.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a tone-on-tone aqua with a fancy yet simple filigree design with foil shadows. The author’s name and title are in a raised white font: the name at the top and the title at the bottom. In between is a gleaming heart-shaped Cinderella-style coach in gold with pearlescent and diamond accents.

The title is “…the real meaning of things … because it is Simply Love” and binds everything together.