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Summary

The Survivors' Club: Six men and one woman, all wounded in the Napoleonic Wars, their friendship forged during their recovery at Penderris Hall in Cornwall. Now, for one of them, striking a most unusual bargain will change his life forever....

Ralph Stockwood prides himself on being a leader, but when he convinced his friends to fight in the Napoleonic Wars, he never envisioned being the sole survivor. Racked with guilt over their deaths, Ralph must move on...and find a wife so as to secure an heir to his family's title and fortune.

Since her seasons in London ended in disaster, Chloe Muirhead is resigned to spinsterhood. Driven by the need to escape her family, she takes refuge at the home of her mother's godmother, where she meets Ralph. He needs a wife. She wants a husband. So Chloe makes an outrageous suggestion: strike a bargain and get married. One condition: Ralph has to promise that he will never take her back to London. But circumstances change. And to Ralph it was only a promise.

©2015 Mary Balogh (P)2015 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Only a Promise

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  • Vi
  • 07-02-22

Loved it

I understand where some reviewers say its a bit of an uncomfortable reading. For me it portrayed the depth of how wounds can go and the healing power of true love

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A selfish man, using others as usual.

The hero has a depressing approach to life, he has decided that emotions have to be ignored. He is aware his attitude causes pain to his family, but feels justify by his decision. He is part of the survivors, yet seems to think he has suffered more than everyone else.
He is forced to marry, copulates with his wife, does it with no finesse. I wouldn't hold out much for the future, this is why wives have lovers. He also expects more from his wife, while he remains a coward.
The heroine wants a home, marriage and children, so enters into an unholy alliance.
Suicide is the cruelest death as it leaves the living, wondering how they have failed.

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  • bluestategirl
  • 14-04-16

My Least Favorite is still 4 Stars.

Ralph has walls, big thick walls -- around his heart, around his pain, around his common sense. He can't forget his part in the death of his three best friends during the war, and the guilt of their deaths surrounds him like a thick cloud. Out of self preservation, he has suppressed all emotion, rather than be driven to suicide by the pain. He has made an art of feeling nothing.

But he is the heir of a duke, a very elderly duke, who is his grandfather, and he is finally persuaded that he must marry and set up his nursery. The Duchess encourages him to go to London for the season, and find a bride and do his duty, but he feels nothing for any of the young ladies on offer, and he soon returns empty handed.

It is then that his grandmother's companion makes a bold proposal: Marry me. I will give you children, and expect nothing in the way of affection in return. And with that a devils bargain is struck.

While I love all the books in this series, this book was grim for me. In fairness, I had just finished the delightful 'Must Love Breeches,' and probably should have waited a bit before diving back into something as serious as this. I kept wanting and hoping for something good to happen between Chloe and Ralph, but for most of the book, he remained aloof and controlled, and the sex was mostly functional, at best.

Of course, there is a HEA, but by the time it happened, I was tired and ready to put on my cloak, and go home to a glass of brandy, and a cheery fire. I felt chilled by the experience.

I understand his motivation, and her's as well, but the time it took for things to be resolved felt like a bit of a bad joke, and I felt duped somehow. They both deserved so much more.

I am very curious to see how I will feel after a second reading, now that I know what to expect. Perhaps I'll change my mind and find it all played out perfectly, the way it was supposed to. But unfortunately, Audible won't allow me to change my review, and that's a shame. It's also a reason why I often don't review books the first time I read them, because once posted, a review on Audible is forever, even if I change my mind.

I still say it is Highly Recommended, (It is Mary Balogh after all, and a continuation of the Survivor's Club).

Just remember to prepare yourself accordingly, because it is grim.

15 people found this helpful

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  • 1CheekyLass
  • 12-06-15

I Love the Survivors Club Series!!!!

Any additional comments?

I was disappointed in book 4 of this series so I was hoping for a good story. Initially I wasn't sure how this would turn out as the proposal was so matter of fact. I just didn't think they would be good together. I admit when I'm wrong and I was wrong about that. :) I was a bit irritated at times with Ralph and Chloe but overall I really enjoyed their budding relationship and the story. This story is of healing and confronting ones past (and present). Ralph needed to forgive himself and to let go of his guilt & Chloe needed to stop running from who she was. They both helped each other overcome a lot and mend fences. I was happy to see them get their HEA; They deserved it. I really enjoyed this one.

I was unsure about Ralph as a hero to be honest. I didn't feel like we knew a lot about him. I wanted to hit him upside of the head a few times but he was a good guy. I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series.

Steam Factor: Low

4.5 stars!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anna
  • 26-05-16

Disappointing

What disappointed you about Only a Promise?

Both the hero and heroine, and the unbelievability of certain scenes. For example, they have sex with no kissing or foreplay, he simply "mounts" her, and she enjoys it?! I continued to listen, thinking it must get better, which it briefly did before returning back. After that, I decided I did not want to waste my time and did not finish the book.

Would you ever listen to anything by Mary Balogh again?

I have thoroughly enjoyed the other books in this series (which is why I decided to keep listening, hoping it would get better). I would highly recommend the other books in this series.

What about Rosalyn Landor’s performance did you like?

I really like Rosalyn Landor's performance. It was the writing, not the performance, that was horrible.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Repulsion.

Any additional comments?

Skip this book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • anne
  • 11-10-15

IF ONLY A BETTER PLOT

The writing is wonderful, the narrator is one of my favorites, but the plot is so simple and predictable that it was annoying. I kept waiting for something to happen that gave the story a little more substance. Not one of the author's best efforts.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jamie P.
  • 16-11-17

Dull

Story had potential, but it was dull all throughout... I kept waiting for the "good" part. :(

2 people found this helpful

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  • Patricia
  • 23-01-22

Unpleasant

if you idea of romance is a husband pouncing on his virgin bride with no preliminaries - not even a kiss - then this is the story for you. Even more preposterous, she likes it. YUCK.

I did finish the book, but I will save you the trouble. He is a selfish jerk and she is a doormat who puts up with him - the end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-09-21

Only A Promise

I enjoyed "Only a Promise"/The Survivor Club Series. The characters were believable and realistic. Thank you

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-03-21

Favorite of the series

This book was, in my opinion, the best written of the series so far. It had my attention the hole time

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mb4pax
  • 04-09-19

Outstanding

Mary Balogh as author and Rosalyn Landor as narrator create a touching, sorrowful, joyful and utterly unforgettable historical romance. As with the previous books in this series, the focus is on relationships between seven people surviving war (Napolean's) and each survivor's road to recovery - a part of which includes finding love. Incomparably entertaining book and series of books.

1 person found this helpful

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  • jodiod
  • 13-11-16

Great series

Very enjoyable story and narration. Loved it most when the members of the Survivors Club get together. Already purchased the rest of the series.

1 person found this helpful