Title: Simply Magic
Author: Mary Balogh
Published: 2007, Delacorte Press
Category: Historical Romance
I finished this book maybe 5 days ago, and when I sat down to write this review, I couldn't for the life of me remember what it was about! Never a good sign. But I've read the jacket and it's all come flooding back.
This is the third book in Balogh's Simply series about the four teachers at Miss Martin's School for Girls in Bath. Susanna Osbourne is our heroine this time; she's been at the school from the age of 12, first as a charity student, then as a teacher. She goes to spend a holiday with Frances (the heroine of Simply Unforgettable) and meets Peter Edgeworth, Viscount Whitleaf. (If that name is familiar to you, he appeared briefly as Lauren's cousin at the end of A Summer to Remember.) Susanna dislikes him intensely both because he appears to be a frivolous good-time guy and because his name brings back horrible memories from her childhood. Peter is immediately attracted to her and is thrown to find that he obviously repels her so badly -- he is used to being universally liked. He sets about getting to know her, and Susanna realizes that her first impressions of him were not fair. They become friends, never intending the relationship to go further; Susanna and Peter both know that she is too low on the social scale to be his wife. But after they part, Peter misses her and keeps coming up with excuses to see her again.
Once my memory was jogged about this book, I remembered it quite well, didn't I? But I have to say that it was rather forgettable (I would even say simply unmagical, though that's a horrible joke). Balogh's more recent books have all been comfort reads for me; they are about nice people, who are always honorable and fall in love slowly, with decorum and maturity. I would recommend this book for people who are looking for a quiet love story. The plot line about Susanna's past was interesting when it was finally revealed, but was not exactly thrilling.
But I did enjoy it, though I'm glad I didn't pay hardcover price for it. Of the Simply series, I loved the second one, Simply Love, while Unforgettable and Magic were both just okay. I will probably end up buying this one in mass market when it comes out, because look at the cover!! It's so pretty. Maybe I can resist, but the power of that lush garden landscape might overcome my will power.
Random observation: It makes me feel sort of old when the HEROES of romance novels are younger than me. :(
Simply Perfect, last in the series, is out on March 25.