Review: Only Enchanting

This is easily my favourite book from the Survivor’s Club. I loved so many, many things about it.

First the characters are delicious. Flavian, or Viscount Ponsoby, is a man devastated by his former fiancée’s choice to leave him. He was in the war and survived but endures mental scars that, he believes, made him a monster. He convinces Agnes to marry him because she’s calm, serene, predictable and innocent where he’s cynical and battle-weary. Agnes falls quickly in love with him but tries to keep her good sense in mind to prevent her from making the ‘foolish’ mistake of marrying him.

Still, they marry. And the resulting story of how they heal each other is wonderful. I loved every word.

Mary Balogh is a great story teller. She hints at their wounds with tiny tidbits early on that fuelled my imagination without letting the reader know the full story. Their secrets come out gently in the natural course of events and conversations.

I loved both characters from the start and the writing was superb, so there was little Ms. Balogh could have done to upset me but the plot only gets better and the twists only got me more and more into the book until I put aside my blog, my writing and our attempts at selling our house and simply read the entire thing.

I loved that there wasn’t a violent, physical danger. Here, the threats were all dealt with conversation. I loved that the characters didn’t know each other well before they married in haste. It was delicious to see them unravel their secrets and still come out whole and in love. I loved the writing. They sounded incredibly British and authentic. I loved the setting, the fact that they weren’t in London the entire time surrounded by the dreaded ton.

Only Enchanting is a book that I love and cherish already and I’ve only read it once. If you’re a historical fan or thinking of trying the genre or someone who loves romance but has never tried it, I would highly recommend it. It’s Mary Balogh at her finest.



Note: click on cover to go to site.


Just for a laugh

I shouldn’t do this. It’s not professional. Not at all. But I was in a coffee shop and I read this blog and I laughed out loud. More than once. Until people started staring.

It’s really funny.

Honestly. Just funny. Ha! I needed a laugh.

Heroes that are too nice.

I like realistic characters. I don’t like it when they’re perfect. When I read, I’m pretty oblivious to the perfection of other characters unless its so over the top that my teeth start rotting because of the sugar content of the book. But, when I write, I’m Critical. My heroines can’t be too nice and I can’t stand it if my heroes are perfect. Who is? What man have I ever dated that had perfect teeth, gorgeous hair, blemish-free skin, worked out, had a great job, body and personality to match? Ah, none. Men aren’t perfect the same way women aren’t perfect.

I read somewhere that to write good romance, the heroine had to be less than perfect but the hero couldn’t have a single defect. The writer claimed a heroine who had faults was a someone women could relate to and I agree. But they added that women liked romance because they liked to imagine the perfect man sweeping them off their feet. They even went on to add that no amount of perfection no the side of the hero was too much.

I disagree. I think that less than perfect heroes are not just more realistic, they’re more attractive. The same way less than perfect heroines are more attractive.

I like to read about a woman who’s struggling in some aspect of her life because that makes her likeable and someone I’d laugh with and share my own struggles with. The same way, the guy in the story needs to have some sort of issue.

Now, I don’t mean that psychopaths would make a good character. Hannibal the Cannibal scared the bananas out of me when I read his biography (though he is a great hero in  Thomas Harris’ novel Hannibal). I just mean that perfection is…well, too perfect.

I read a book where the hero was Perfection Incarnate. This guy walked around all day with a halo on his head. He couldn’t let a little old woman stand for more than two seconds without offering her a seat and he did everything perfectly from cook to sing. Even his body was perfect, from teeth to toes, to nails and hairs in between. It was almost ridiculous. He could heal better than the town doctor, could resolve a disagreement better than the cops, and out shone the local haircutter. When he rescued the heroine’s lost dog, I almost gagged.

I like the hero to have a journey in the book. To me, it’s interesting when he has a hurdle to overcome. If he hates outspoken women because his mother never let him say a word as a child and our heroine doesn’t shut up? Could he love her anyway? How would that work? To me, he’s more interesting if he has quirks than if he doesn’t. Those issues don’t turn me away, on the contrary, I want to know how he works them out. It makes me curious. Perfection is boring and really, no man is ever perfect (certainly my lovely hubby isn’t as I can attest when I hear him sing).

Men aren’t perfect and we love them anyway. Maybe more so because they’re flawed.



Some good links for writers

I thought I’d share some links that I’ve found very helpful. These sites have great resources and they’re very organized (which helped me find what I wanted right away).

This one is done by a group of writers trying to help out other writers. Check out their categories… Good, right?

Another site full of resources for writers. I again, particularly like their categories. If I’m stuck on my plot or have an issue with a character, I know where to go.

This one is Kristen Lamb’s site. She’s a pro on self-advocacy for books. I not only found her site helpful, I also found her book helpful. Being a newbie, I needed a guiding hand getting started. She was exactly what I needed.

Molly Greene won an award for her blog. It’s full of goodness and I found some articles really helpful (because I’d already done the mistakes she warned about…oops!).

If you have any others that you have found helpful, send me a comment and I’ll show it here! Let’s all help each other out!