Simply Magic is not one of Mary Balogh's more compelling reads. Neither the story nor the characters are particularly memorable. I could easily put the book down, and not feel the need to return to it quickly. The story is pleasant enough, and the characters are likeable, but there was not enough conflict or something to propel it forward.
Mary Balogh is usually a wonderful storyteller, but this time she seemed to be on autopilot. She is a talented enough author that even her weaker efforts are still pretty good, but I would recommend reading some books on her backlist before Simply Magic.
I hate that Ms. Balogh has turned to contemps the past few years...she is the absolute BEST when it comes to historical romances!! Her "Slightly" series and now her "Simply" series.
Occasionally one of her books is a bit long or slow to immerse in the story but that's the worst thing I can think of to say...she touches emotions...ALWAYS! At least for me. Her stories are rich, touching, and real! Enjoy! =)
Susanna and Peter's story was well-written, but I still feel that Simply Unforgettable was the best of these to-date. Certainly the explosive "secret" that Susanna wishes to keep would be monumental for the day, but ultimately, it didn't seem to hold its weight.
It's still a worthwhile read if you are a Balogh fan, or if you've at least read Frances' and Anne's stories. I'm hoping that the upcoming story about Claudia Martin returns Balogh to the passionate work she showed when writing about Frances and Lucius.
From Mary Balogh's web site:
Susanna Osbourne, a young teacher at Miss Martin's School for Girls in Bath and at one time a charity pupil there, has gone to stay for a few weeks of the summer holiday at the home of her married friend, Frances, Countess of Edgecombe (Simply Unforgettable). There she meets the handsome, charming Viscount Whitleaf, who flirts with her and leads her to believe that he is a shallow young man. But her main objection to him is that she recognizes him as someone she knew as a child--and the memories are ones she has spent all the years since then repressing. A friendship grows between them nevertheless, but although by the end of the summer friendship has blossomed into something more, Susanna is as relieved as she is broken-hearted to return alone to school for the autumn term. She is fated to meet the viscount again soon, though, and this time there is almost no alternative for either of them but to face a past that can either destroy them both or bring them healing and understanding and forgiveness--and a lifelong love.
It's a lovely story, most subtle and builds more slowly than some romances, but still filled with great characters who have to find a way to break through their reserve and troubled past to let love in. A delightful story, and definitely worth reading!
Mary Balogh is one of my favorite authors and has written some of best books out there. Although good, Simply Magic is not one of her best. This one is what I call a "soft read" meaning it flows gently along with the two main characters falling in love without an overdose of heartwrenching situations. Some conflict, but not enough for you to put the book down thinking, "I can't bear it anymore." I enjoyed how characters from her other stories/series came together again (I love finding out how they're doing). I'm looking forward to Simply Perfect, the next in the Simply series.