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In Mary Balogh's engaging and seductive new novel of drama and romance, a woman comfortable in her solitude allows temptation to free her heart, when a daring war hero shows her how truly extraordinary she is.
Gwendoline, Lady Muir, has seen her share of tragedy, especially since a freak accident took her husband much too soon. Content in a quiet life with friends and family, the young widow has no desire to marry again. But when Hugo, Lord Trentham, scoops her up in his arms after a fall, she feels a sensation that both shocks and emboldens her.
Hugo never intends to kiss Lady Muir, and frankly, he judges her to be a spoiled, frivolous--if beautiful--aristocrat. He is a gentleman in name only: a soldier whose bravery earned him a title; a merchant's son who inherited his wealth. He is happiest when working the land, but duty and title now demand that he finds a wife. He doesn't wish to court Lady Muir, nor have any role in the society games her kind thrives upon. Yet Hugo has never craved a woman more; Gwen's guileless manner, infectious laugh, and lovely face have ruined him for any other woman. He wants her, but will she have him?
The hard, dour ex-military officer who so gently carried Gwen to safety is a man who needs a lesson in winning a woman's heart. Despite her cautious nature, Gwen cannot ignore the attraction. As their two vastly different worlds come together, both will be challenged in unforeseen ways. But through courtship and seduction, Gwen soon finds that with each kiss, and with every caress, she cannot resist Hugo's devotion, his desire, his love, and the promise of forever.

311 pages, Hardcover

First published April 13, 2012

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About the author

Mary Balogh

209 books5,513 followers
Mary Jenkins was born in 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Mary Balogh started writing in the evenings as a hobby. Her first book, a Regency love story, was published in 1985 as A Masked Deception under her married name. In 1988, she retired from teaching after 20 years to pursue her dream to write full-time. She has written more than seventy novels and almost thirty novellas since then, including the New York Times bestselling 'Slightly' sextet and 'Simply' quartet. She has won numerous awards, including Bestselling Historical of the Year from the Borders Group, and her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She has won seven Waldenbooks Awards and two B. Dalton Awards for her bestselling novels, as well as a Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,280 reviews
July 18, 2018
3 Meh Stars

The Proposal was my first Mary Balogh book, and it was just okay for me. The first half went very slow. I found myself very bored at times. The second half was much better, but still kinda slow. I really liked Gwen. I found her to be sweet, smart, and loyal. Hugo on the other hand was hard to warm up to. He was wishy washy, very dull, and at times flat. I think the author meant for him to be broody, damaged, and deep. Instead he came off one dimensional. Hugo drove me nuts with his.... should I court Gwen? Yes I will court her! I love her. No I will not court her she is upper class and I am middle class it will never work!, and around and around he went. I want a hero that knows what he wants and goes for it. Mary Balogh had a very old world writing style that reminded me of Jane Austen which I loved. However she was very long winded and wordy. At times she would have both Gwen and Hugo relive the same scene making it redundant. Still there was enjoyable moments to the book. So I gave it a middle of the road 3 stars. The second half really helped save this book for me.
Profile Image for Wollstonecrafthomegirl.
472 reviews195 followers
August 8, 2020
It's been a long while since I read a Balogh and, oh boy, this one hit a serious sweet spot for me. This, to me, is everything that's good about historical romance. Two well drawn characters, not too much drama for the sake of drama, lovely dialogue and the close examination of a growing romance. It's grown up, in the best way possible. I'll start with Hugo because he was great. I love that he spoke his mind and shocked Gwen so completely with it. His bluntness made me smile, even a passing comment about why Gwen would shorten her name when Gwendoline was such a lovely name, was just so unexpectedly honest. When he stripped off and went swimming in front of her, that was brilliant. That scene in a lot of ways captures the essence of this book, there's sometimes a paucity of words between these two characters but often it's what is not being said which is really important. Particularly for Hugo who covers his emotions and his inadequacies by not revealing his feelings - for example, agreeing with Gwen that she looked like a drowned rat and then later thinking to himself that she was beautiful no matter what the state of her clothing, or handing her into a carriage and just saying 'have a good trip' despite all that had passed between them (at that point numerous kisses and passionate sex). It might seem as though there's a lack of passion there or love or romance but I think Balogh does a good job of conveying that his feelings and emotions towards Gwen are taking place in between all this plain speaking (it's a Knightley thing - "if I loved you less perhaps I could express it more" [Austen is rolling over in her grave, that's not the exact quote, but you get what I'm saying]). Then there's Gwen who tumbles into an affair and then love with this unlikely man despite swearing off marriage altogether. She's a little less strong as a character but I liked her very much. Both h/H make early judgments about the other and then they're forced to revise them. The sex is really, really great typical Balogh not too explicit and there's not too much of it, but what there was worked for me because I really like the characters. There's no dirty talk as such in this book but Hugo's desire for 'lusty sex' and his willingness to talk about that fact ("The next time" he said, "if there is a next time, I want you naked.") was great. There was one thing which keeps this from being a five star for me and it's only a hairs breadth away, in reality. I think the class differences point was hit a little bit too hard and could've been handled in a slightly subtler manner. Sometimes Hugo was overly judgmental of Gwen even when she'd proved herself not to be a snob or someone who would shy away from the confrontations he experiences because of his actions during the war, some of the inner monologue on this point could've been edited out without the book losing anything at all. This is me being picky though, Balogh is a genius of the genre and I suspect she can take it. I still recommend this book wholeheartedly, it's wonderful.
Profile Image for Carol Cork *Young at Heart Oldie*.
425 reviews200 followers
July 30, 2020
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Mary Balogh weaves an intelligent and touching story of two people from different social classes who find love. It’s an emotionally satisfying, character-driven romance written with her insightful glimpses into the human heart.

This is the first book in the series about a group of survivors of the Napoleonic Wars, all left scarred (emotionally, physically or both) by their experiences, who form a close bond while convalescing. THE PROPOSAL tells Hugo Emes, Lord Trentham’s story.

Hugo inherited his father’s vast business and trading empire and is extremely wealthy, but proud of his middle class roots. He is brusque and plain spoken, and frowning seems to be his perpetual expression. He likes to spend time at his country home where he can enjoy peace and privacy and share the company of his adored half-sister, Constance. Hugo also carries a heavy burden of guilt, blaming himself for the deaths of his three hundred men lost in battle. There is something endearing about Hugo because despite his fierce and dour appearance, I knew he was kind and caring as it is so evident in his love for Constance and his desire to see her happy.

Gwen is the perfect lady…beautiful, elegant, poised and charming. Since the tragic death of her husband, she has been happy to remain a widow, content in providing help and support to her family and friends. I loved her cheerfulness and sense of humour and the fact that she never lets her physical handicap define who she is. I admired her strength during the difficult times in her marriage and the way she cared for and supported her “sick” husband. She also carries a heavy sense of guilt over his death, believing that had she acted differently, he may not have died.

The romance between Hugo and Gwen developed slowly which I really liked. It allowed time for mutual trust to grow until they were able to confide their deepest secrets to each other. It allowed them both to realise they shouldn’t feel guilt over their past actions. Both of them grow and change as they fall in love but it is Hugo who undergoes the most significant but subtle changes; doing things he’d never done before…

He winked at her. Winked. He could not remember ever winking before in his life.

things he found himself enjoying…

He had never had a teasing relationship with any woman— or any sort of relationship, for that matter. It was all new and strange to him. And wonderful.

I love how Gwen is accepted wholeheartedly by Hugo’s family and the scenes played out against the background of the anniversary celebrations are some of my favourites – full of fun, laughter and lovely family moments.

We are introduced to the others members of The Survivors’ Club and I know I will be reading their books too.

MY VERDICT: A wonderful classic Regency romance. Highly recommended!


The Survivors’ Club series (click on the book covers for more details):

The Proposal (The Survivors' Club, #1) by Mary Balogh The Arrangement (The Survivors' Club, #2) by Mary Balogh The Escape (The Survivors' Club #3) by Mary Balogh Only Enchanting (The Survivors' Club, #4) by Mary Balogh Only a Promise (The Survivors' Club, #5) by Mary Balogh Only a Kiss (The Survivors' Club, #6) by Mary Balogh Only Beloved (The Survivors' Club, #7) by Mary Balogh

This review is also posted on my Rakes and Rascals Blog:

Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,901 reviews1,508 followers
September 13, 2015
So it turns out this is my first by this author. It won't be my last. Yes, I enjoyed it very much. I'm not entirely sure what to say about the book, so this is likely to be a bit disjointed.

First, Balogh transplants some modern sensibilities into the Regency era, but does so in consistent enough ways that I didn't really mind. Yeah, group therapy and a man who is obviously fast-cycling bi-polar being described as "ill but not mad" are both rather modern constructs transplanted into that time. And other psychological constructs regarding love and acceptance are presented as obvious (if hard-won) wisdom learned through experience rather than the rather radical concepts they'd have been for their time. And, of course, religion is as present as it is in most Regency romances (i.e. completely absent).

Which sounds like a lot of bad things. And if you're a period purist they might just be. Still, if you're willing to bend with the period a bit, the story is good and the characters are kind of wonderful. I liked Gwen immediately, even as I worried she would turn out to be a doormat or pushover (she isn't—she's just kind). And Hugo is a big teddy bear, if a somewhat lusty one.

And I liked them working out emotional space to connect with each other. I mean, you can see how attached they get rather early (that's not hard, what with the beach sex and all) but they have rather a long ways to go before being able to be together. They really are from functionally different worlds and they both have to work out how they're going to bridge the gaps (both separately and with each other). I like that Balogh doesn't shortcut the difficulties they'll face and that she gives the characters space and time to work things out—sometimes by actually talking it over with each other. What a concept.

And at least one reason I got over the anachronistic psych 101 is that Balogh has some interesting things to say about going through bad things and learning to accept both your own failings and the failings of those around you (even the ones that hurt deeply). There are moments of forgiveness that are true gifts, here, and I'm rather glad to see those explored, even if they were kind of displaced in time.

Which makes this a solid four star read all the way through. I bounced out of the story on some of the modern mental frameworks being discussed in rather modern ways, but the payload of the story was rich enough to dampen what might normally have tossed me hard enough to not come back.

A note about Steamy: This is the middle of my steam range. There are two explicit scenes of moderate length. I also liked that the characters maintain period concerns enough that threat of pregnancy is discussed as a realistic risk. Indeed, this is another point on the axis of "talk about actual relationship things" that I came to appreciate in the book.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,633 followers
March 7, 2014
I reached for this novel the same way a drowning man reaches for a life preserver.

After a difficult month, it was a relief to lose myself in a charming historical romance. We meet the brave and scowling Lord Trentham, who fought in the Napoleonic wars and feels guilty about all of the men who died under his command, and the lovely widow Lady Muir, who is nursing her own emotional wounds after a difficult marriage. Trentham feels pressure to marry, but Lady Muir has vowed never to marry again. Oh no! And yet, they seem perfect for each other. If only those two got together maybe they could help each other heal...

This is the first of a new series for Mary Balogh, and it's delightful. I had previously loved her Bedwyn Saga and her Simply Quartet, and based on this first volume, her new Survivors' Club is very promising.

I am in a bit of awe for how well-develped Balogh's characters are. Each novel references other families and back stories from different books, and I wish I could peek at her notes to know how she keeps it all organized. In my opinion, she is a queen of historical romance.

Profile Image for Dorothea.
227 reviews64 followers
July 11, 2012
I went into this book with fairly low expectations. Here's why:

(1) This is the first of a new series, involving the members of a group called "The Survivors' Club". Here is Mary Balogh's description of that club, taken from her website:
The seven members of the club, six men and one woman, are survivors of the Napoleonic Wars, five of them former military officers. All seven were variously wounded during the wars and ended up spending several years at Penderris Hall, the Cornish estate of the Duke of Stanbrook, healing and recuperating. The duke was not an active participant in the wars, but his only son was. He died in the Peninsula. The one woman is the widow of a reconnaissance officer, who was captured as a spy in the Peninsula and tortured by the French. She was present during part of the torture and the death of her husband. The seven are all nominally healed, but they return to Penderris for a few weeks each year to spend time with one another, to draw strength from one another and help with any problem that might have arisen.
What worried me here is that this setup seems like it will give Balogh a lot of opportunities to write about characters with disabilities. She's often done so before and while she could usually have done it a great deal worse, she could have done better too. A recurring theme, especially among male characters who became physically disabled in an accident or war, is independent stoicism as a virtue -- these characters show that they're not crushed in spirit by viewing their disability as a challenge to overcome, e.g. someone with a painfully twisted leg forcing himself to walk as though nothing were wrong, instead of allowing himself to lean on a cane or roll in a wheelchair. Female characters with disabilities tend to be very sweet and compassionate to others. Nobody complains or expects that others should make accommodations for them (or if they do it's a sign of bad character). Also, I can't think of any of her disabled characters who know anybody else with a similar disability -- they're all kind of isolated.

(The excellent blog Diary of a Goldfish has two recent posts on "10 Things Fiction Writers Need to Remember About Disability" (1-5, 6-10) -- some of these tips would really improve Balogh's -- and other authors' of course -- writing!)

(2) Gwen, the heroine of this story, was introduced lo these many books ago as the sister of the Other Woman in One Night for Love (by the way, one thing I like about Balogh is that she doesn't really do the Other Woman. That particular character was the heroine of her own book, A Summer to Remember, which I've heard is many people's favorite Balogh novel). Gwen is one of those sweet and uncomplaining female characters with a disability; in her case she limps because of a badly-set broken leg.

(3) Okay, this is a silly reason, but since Gwen was this persistently unpartnered character in so many books, when Balogh started writing her Simply series about a group of schoolteachers in Bath (which overlaps with the two above-mentioned books and the Slightly series), I invented a really awesome conclusion to that series in which Claudia Martin, the stern headmistress of the school, ends up with Gwen. I actually persuaded myself that this good idea was apparent outside of my own head, and that Balogh might actually write that book and that her publisher might actually publish it as part of a mainstream historical romance series. Of course, that did not happen. Miss Martin ended up with some guy. But when I read that the first marriageable member of the Survivors' Club (not the lady with PTSD) was going to be inflicted on Gwen, Gwen of all people, my bitter disappointment at the heterosexism of mainstream romance novel publishing welled up again...

Well, Gwen is straight and that's that, I guess. I was able shove aside that particular elephant in my reading-room long enough to pay attention to who Gwen is in this story, rather than in the story I'd told myself.

So, happily, I found that my #2 worry wasn't (at least, to my standards) really a problem. I think that Balogh did a pretty solid job of making Gwen a character with a mild disability -- it affects her life in a few persistent ways, but her character and her story are definitely not about her disability. (Balogh actually made her temporarily more disabled at the beginning of the story -- she twists her ankle going up a cliff and the hero rescues her; it turns out the sprain is bad enough that she has to stay at Penderris Hall with the hero for a few days. This is of course a pretty convenient way to throw the couple together, but I wonder if there's not more to be said about that particular accident happening to Gwen. However, this review is going to be long enough without going any further into that.)

Once Gwen and the hero of the story (Hugo) are friends and thinking about being more, he teases her a couple of times about her disability.

Hugo: Hey Gwen, I can't court you after all.
Gwen: Oh? Why now?
Hugo: Oh, you're not perfect. You limp!
Gwen: LOL.

That actually worked for me, because it seemed clear that Gwen knows that Hugo doesn't actually give a damn about her limp, and Hugo knows that most people either studiously avoid mentioning her limp or are very solicitous and pitying to her about it, so teasing her about it would actually be a nice change for a while.

Anyway, Hugo is not physically disabled at all; he just has a gigantic amount of survivor's guilt. (I think Balogh did a pretty good job of taking what could have been terrible manpain and turning it into Hugo having the ability to empathise with and comfort Gwen when she reveals her dark secret past.) This means that the opportunities for disability fail did not follow Gwen and Hugo when they left the Survivors' Club, where the story begins.

The beginning of the story was really the problem with it, and why I'm giving The Proposal two stars instead of three. Balogh made what I think is a mistake by describing the Survivors' Club before introducing Hugo. I think perhaps she expected readers' interest to be heightened by the premise of the Club and, maybe, some kind of compassion stimulated by knowing that terrible things had happened to all these people. Sure, okay, but knowing that a fictional character has been hurt does not by itself make me want to read a book about him or her. There's a scene, later, after Hugo has shown up and started doing things, in which he briefly explains the Survivors' Club to Gwen. I think Balogh should have cut out most of the beginning and let this explanation do all the work. The Survivors' Club is more interesting as part of Hugo's character development than the other way around.

I think what really bothered me (apart from the beginning being simply boring) was that I felt that I was being expected to have certain reactions to the members of the Club -- so tragic! so noble! so good to each other! -- and that these reactions were supposed to make me like The Proposal et sequelae more. I wasn't having those reactions, so it felt a bit manipulative.

An even longer review would say more about one of the more important sources of conflict in Gwen and Hugo's relationship. He's middle-class and she's upper-class; they (especially Hugo) worry that if they marry, they'll feel out of place with each other's families and social groups. I like how Hugo tackled this problem head-on by inviting Gwen to a sort of family reunion. Of course, all the family members are so nice and friendly that the problem disappears and the reader never has to think too hard about class inequality... well, it's a romance novel. (Aside: Rose Lerner and Susanna Fraser are two new writers who are doing fantastic jobs of actually addressing class issues in historical romance, while writing really great stories.)

Hugo tackling things head-on might be my favorite thing about The Proposal. He is blunt, a bit tactless sometimes, and totally lacking in social graces, but really a very kind person. Introspection and explaining his feelings are not habitual to him, but he muddles through them with sincerity when necessary. I think Balogh did a very good job of writing the scenes from his perspective, making them rather charmingly his. In the end it was completely understandable that Gwen would like him, as well as love him -- even though he is not Claudia Martin -- bah!
Profile Image for WhiskeyintheJar.
1,273 reviews516 followers
October 7, 2015
3.5 stars

This felt strangely dispassionate in its passion. Maybe too stiff upper lip for me? Not sure but I really started to enjoy the couple more towards the end when they began to warm up to each other, teasing and being a little feisty. Definitely keeping on with the series.
Thank you to all that recommended :)
Profile Image for Shawna.
3,496 reviews4,556 followers
May 20, 2012
4 stars – Historical/Regency Romance

This is a nice start to a very promising new septet series by the refined queen of traditional, authentic Regency era romance, Mary Balogh. The relationship between Gwendoline, Lady Muir and Hugo, Lord Trentham was engaging, refreshing, and heartfelt. But what I loved most about it is the deep bond and earnest affection between the seven members of the “Survivor’s Club”, and I look forward to the other books, particularly Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby’s and Vincent Hunt, Lord Darleigh’s.
Profile Image for  ~Preeti~.
637 reviews
August 12, 2022
4.5 ✨ It's weird how our preferences change with time and our personal experiences. A few years back when I started my journey into Historicals and read my first book by Mary Balogh, I was irritated by how much time and pages she devoted to reconciliation between families and how difficult it was for her couples to find their happily ever after especially if it's a forbidden romance.

Because as a romance reader I always thought 'Just being in love is enough. I was satisfied by seeing couples proclaiming their love and giving no damn to their families and society. And, then I got my taste of Romance in real life and my whole sense of reality changed, and so is my love for forbidden romance. It's also funny what is considered forbidden in different times and places. But, maybe that's why I love a variety of sub-genres of romances.

So, anyhow I have started loving the discussions about families and that 'Perhaps love between two people might not be enough for marriage' before the happily ever after in Miss Balogh's books.

I should admit that I would have given it a 4-star if I was reading it. But the audiobook narration helped me get through 1-2 lengthy inner monologues. Still, I enjoyed this one more than I was expecting to. Mostly because the Hero, Hugo was such a breath of fresh air. He was awkward, blunt and a complete wallflower on social occasions. Though, he was also a gentle giant. And, h was sweet, though a bit shaky in her love for Hugo. But, that's understandable when she was the one who had to step down from her social class.

I also enjoyed how MB handled the mental issues(PTSD and Bipolar) in the book. If it was not stretched for the extra 20-25 pages, in the middle, I would have given it 5 stars. Though I have no right to say anything when I was grinning throughout the last few scenes, especially the wedding scene in the church.🤩🤩🤩
Profile Image for Preeti ♥︎ Her Bookshelves.
1,278 reviews20 followers
August 21, 2019
Conflicted, very conflicted about the book and quite unsure how to rate it!
And is it just me or are all tall, 'huge' Hs named Hugh or Hugo?

Conflicted not because it’s complicated or deals with complex issues. Rather it’s quite simple and straightforward in its premise – two people attracted to each other right from the beginning, have sex, are even halfway in love but not ready to take the final step forward to matrimony. Although the reason comes couched in many layers but it all boils down to class divide and in his case a bad case of inverse snobbery and inferiority complex. But wait, even the h has some misgivings on marrying below her.

Sad as it starts so beautifully and you can’t help but root for this ‘opposites attract’ couple. They are lost in their own way with the past weighing heavily on their souls. I like their characterizations- interestingly and strongly etched.
The initial hesitation and reservations seems valid and reasonable and I enjoyed their dancing around till it became tedious and I lost my patience with the round and round we go!

This is a sweet book with endearing characters, and with some really tender and sensitive moments but also tries one’s tolerance severely with its slow slow burn. And I don’t want to read about dozens of other people and their opinions/ lives – his friends first (from the series), then her family (another series) and then his family (middle class - so don’t really qualify for a series of their own!)

So in the beginning, I thought I’d stumbled onto a 5 starrer, then it slackens to a 4, then to a 3 and finally rounds off to 3-3.5 for some flashes of originality if not brilliance. The rating also corresponds to how I rated the H actually. He went from a perfect tortured and dour alpha war hero to a boring insecure middle class beta.
You know, he read my thoughts!
“I am just an ordinary man, Gwendoline,” he said. “Perhaps that is what I have been trying to say to you all this time.”
Profile Image for Lauryta_books.
135 reviews1,738 followers
July 14, 2021
“La proposición” es una historia de romance y época, que ya sabéis que es un género que disfruto mucho, sobre todo después de conocer a los Bridgerton!

En términos generales, ha sido un libro entretenido con una ambientación muy chula que he logrado disfrutar. Creo que el fuerte de esta historia es precisamente el contexto en el que se desarrolla y saber que la autora, con más libros, logrará crear una atmósfera propia de época.

Sin embargo, lo que ha llevado a que tenga sentimientos encontrados con este libro ha sido el romance entre los personajes. No he acabado de conectar con su historia de amor y por eso no he podido creérmela y engancharme.

Además, aunque Gwen sí que me ha gustado un poco más como protagonista, los dos me han parecido un poco superficiales, creo que podía haber explotado más la situación de cada uno por separado para reforzar la relación que tenían juntos. En eso la historia se me ha quedado un poco a medio gas.

Aún así, me ha gustado el estilo de la autora, las descripciones, aunque eran largas, no me resultaban pesadas y había personajes secundarios, “El club de los supervivientes” me llamaron la atención, así que estoy segura que seguiré con los siguientes libros!!

Profile Image for Loslibrosdejuliet.
470 reviews1,440 followers
September 5, 2021
Creo que es una historia ideal para desconectar y más si te gustan las novelas románticas de época. Me ha gustado porque Hugo, Lord Trentham, no espera enamorarse de alguien, ni siquiera se ha planteado la opinión de buscar esposa. Pero sabe que necesita una y pronto.

Gwendoline, lady Muir, es una joven viuda, adaptada a una vida tranquila con su familia. No tiene ninguna intención de volver a pasar por el altar, es feliz tal y como está.

Pero el destino les tiene preparado otro camino, cuando lady Muir decide ir a la playa a desconectar un poco, sufre una aparatosa caída. Por suerte, Hugo la ve y va a su rescate. Para Hugo lady Muir rompe todos sus esquemas, nunca había pensado enamorarse y mucho menos de una aristócrata.

Me ha parecido divertido en muchas ocasiones, Hugo tiene una forma de decir las cosas muy directa, véanse sus pocas formas de socializar. En cambio lady Muir está muy acostumbrada a la vida social.

Me ha gustado, ha sido ligero y rápido de leer. Es autoconclusivo aunque pertenece a una saga.
Profile Image for Grecia Robles.
1,452 reviews326 followers
August 1, 2021
Con Mary Balogh nunca sé con qué clase de libro me voy a encontrar pueden ser muy buenos con el de Wulf o muy meeeh aburridos y éste precisamente cae en la segunda catería.

Es muy lento, en la mayor parte no pasa nada, sus protagonistas bien pero hasta ahí.

Casi lo abandono pero le seguí por la promesa de la aparición de Wulf que amo infinitamente pero sólo fue una escena equis o sea merecía más que una simple mención.

No sé si más adelante seguiré con la serie el único que me llama la atención es el del Duque y es es el último libro así que lo pensaré.
Profile Image for Alba Turunen.
651 reviews205 followers
May 21, 2021
#RetoRita4 #RitaMary

3'5 Estrellas, no es lo mejor que he leído de Mary Balogh, pues creo que se pierde repitiendo lo mismo, pero ha estado muy bien como inicio de serie. Tenía muchísimas ganas de comenzar el "Club de los Supervivientes" y de conocer la historia de amor de Gwen. Este mes el Reto Rita me ha servido para darle al fin ésta oportunidad.

Llevamos conociendo a Gwen desde "Noche de amor", la fiel y aristocrática prima de Lauren, que no nos cayó muy bien en dicho libro por el trato que le dio a Lily. Pero poco a poco fuimos conociendo más a Gwen a través de los Bedwyn y los Simply. Sabemos que se casó por amor y ahora es Lady Muir, que un accidente de caballo le provocó un aborto y una cojera permanente, para después quedarse viuda.

La vida de Gwen no fue un lecho de rosas, y ahora viuda y medio inválida, no pensaba que encontraría el amor, tiene treinta y dos años y lleva siete viuda ¿Quién podría quererla ahora?

Nuestro protagonista, Hugo Emes, ahora Lord Trentham, creció y se crió como un próspero burgués, hijo de un rico comerciante, que convenció a su padre para comprarle un puesto en el ejército. Han pasado los años y Hugo se ha convertido en un héroe de la Guerra de la Independencia, durante las campañas de Badajoz. Sus actos heroicos le otorgaron un título, pero Hugo no siente ni que sea merecido, pues lleva una pesada carga en vidas humanas sobre sus hombros, ni es capaz de codearse con la aristocracia.

A su vuelta de la guerra y conociendo las secuelas que éstas dejaron, Hugo fue invitado a unirse al Club de los Supervivientes, un grupo de seis hombres y una mujer con experiencias parecidas a la suya y que mediante un mutuo consuelo pueden ayudarse a recuperar cierta normalidad. Todos los años se reúne el club para ponerse al día sobre sus vidas, y éste año Hugo ha acudido a la llamada del Duque de Stanbrook para pasar unos días en su mansión de Cornualles. Hugo sabe que algún día debería casarse para tener una esposa que le ayude a llevar su hogar y quizás algún hijo al que dejar su título y tierras, pero Hugo no esperaba conocer a su mujer en semejantes circunstancias.

Gwen, como dama viuda de su época, pasa su vida visitando a amigos y familiares, y ésta vez está en Cornualles pasando una temporada con su amiga Vera, pero un día ambas discuten y Gwen sale a caminar y a esperar que se vayan sus malos humos. Pero el mal tiempo y los acantilados y playas de Cornualles son traicioneros para su cojera y tiene un traspiés que le provoca un esguince. Suerte es que Hugo estuviera presente para rescatar a la dama y llevársela a casa de su amigo, donde Gwen será presentada al resto y tratada como una invitada honoraria durante los días que dure su recuperación.

Así es como nuestros protagonistas se conocerán y en seguida veremos la química que existe entre ellos. A pesar de todo admito que su romance me ha parecido un poco rollete, los dos son muy orgullosos y cabezones y le dan vueltas a lo mismo. Hugo tiene una medio hermana menor a la que debe casar, a poder ser muy bien, él tiene título y dinero y Gwen parece la dama perfecta para apadrinarla porque pertenece a la aristocracia, pero se volverá una y mil veces a lo mismo, ninguno espera amor, pero Gwen querría volver a casarse, y no sabe si Hugo con su gran tamaño y enorme corazón de soldado puede ser el hombre elegido y a la vez a Hugo le intimida mezclarse con la nobleza porque no se considera uno de ellos ni ellos le consideran uno de los suyos.

En general el libro ha estado muy bien como introducción a una nueva serie, pero no es ni de lejos el mejor libro de Mary Balogh, lo bueno, que hemos conocido a los que serán los protagonistas de los seis próximos libros y me han dejado con muchísimas ganas de conocer sus historias.

Como siempre, es un placer volver a leer a mi escritora favorita, adoro todo lo que escribe ésta mujer porque es sinónimo de calidad, cosa que no ocurre ahora, hasta sus libros más malos o sosos tienen algo. Si hay algo que lamento es que las editoriales españolas la hayan olvidado, pues para mí es una de las grandes al lado de Lisa Kleypas, Gaelen Foley o Laura Lee Guhrke (por desgracia, otras pocas olvidadas), pero sin duda seguiré leyendo a Mary Balogh y todo lo que publique.
Profile Image for Tina.
1,753 reviews279 followers
April 1, 2012
We first meet Gwen, Lady Muir in One Night for Love. She is the slightly lame sister of the hero, Neville, of that book. Although One Night For Love has spawned a metric ton of spin-off books (The entire Bedwyn series being one of them), at no time did I ever suspect we'd be getting Gwen's story.

It took me awhile to realize the connection, but it was a fun aha! moment when it did. Gwen is long widowed with a lot of buried guilt regarding her marriage. She is visiting a friend who is newly widowed, when she sprains her ankle on the beach and meets the hero, Hugo Emes, Lord Trentham.

I have to say I simply fell in love with Hugo. What a great character. He is a war hero who came back from the war suffering from PTSD and his own incredible guilt. He formed a friendship a small group of survivors of the war who also carried their own scars, both physical and mental.

At heart Hugo is a decent gentle sort who comes from an upper middle class background. He has never had any great ambition, he only has ever wanted to live a quiet comfortable life. But his foray into war changed all that. He is feted and given great honors because of what he did on the battlefield, all the time he doesn't feel at all worthy of it.

When he rescues Gwen they are immediately attracted to one another. Although Balogh is very subtle in how she lets their attraction manifest. It isn't bolt of lightning and immediate lust, but it is an acknowledged attraction and Hugo speaks very frankly about how much he likes and wants Gwen.

The meat of the story is their courtship. They fall almost reluctantly in love with each other. Each one of them has internal issues that doesn't allow them to completely let go. And Hugo, although he has been elevated to a Lord, is conscious of a class divide between him and Gwen. But they talk to each other and get to know each other. The build of their romance is well done and completely sweeps the reader along.

There are nice bits of humor strung throughout. You smile as Hugo and Gwen get comfortable enough with each other to have inside jokes.

Fans of Balogh who have read all the books that have spun from One Night for Love will be treated to a who's who of walk-ons by various characters from those books. There is even a memorable scene that includes Wulfric Bedwyn (who remains my favorite Balogh hero ever).

When I finished the book I closed it with a happy sigh. A good book should always elicit that reaction.

review is from an ARC through the Amazon Vine program
Profile Image for Christi (christireadsalot).
1,640 reviews432 followers
December 15, 2022
The Proposal is the first book in Mary Balogh’s The Survivors’ Club series. The series follows 7 characters who have all survived, mostly from war, and have physical or mental wounds. These 7 (6 men, 1 woman) joined forces and have formed their very own “survivors club” where they now get together annually.

I really enjoyed the setup of this club of characters, I honestly started the series because I was recommended book 2 but love to read a series in order. I was pleasantly surprised to find this one has a class difference romance! Hugo left home and became a soldier at 18 but is now 33, finds himself with a title appointed to him because of his role during the war, and is the guardian of his half-sister who lives with his stepmother. To help his sister’s standing and advancement in society, Hugo knows he must marry but he’s hoping to find someone of middle class like he was raised. While spending time with the other members of the survivors club, he ends up running into Lady Muir, who sort of falls into his lap right as he’s decided he wants to find a woman to marry.

Gwendolyn, Lady Muir, has been widowed for 7 years and is visiting a friend when she takes a walk near the beach cliffs. She ends up slipping on a steep part and twists her ankle when Hugo finds her. He ends up carrying her back to the house where he and his survivor friends are gathered and a doctor informs Gwen that she should stay and rest that week for the sake of her ankle. Hugo is definitely a starchy hero who feels pulled to Gwen while also trying to avoid her because she’s a society lady. They become close while she spends time convalescing at the home and the story really goes from there.

I did enjoy the first half of the story more, the middle kind of started to drag for me, but then the last bit picked up again. This was a solid start to the series, we get introductions briefly to the other characters who I am assuming get books. Like many Balogh reads this was a slow burn and like mang of her heroes, the hero proposes midway into the book before getting shot down by the heroine initially. I liked in this one how she comes back and says he can court her instead first and help his sister with society parties.
Profile Image for Jan.
868 reviews163 followers
October 12, 2020
Not my fav Mary Balogh book, but it wasn't too bad. I like the idea of the Survivors Club, and a grim, serious ex-military man is usually a delicious fav of mine. Unfortunately the book dragged a little in parts. There was a little too much I love you but can't be with you will you court me no I won't court you yes I will court you I love you will you marry me.... It dragged on a little too much and started to feel a little repetitive.

I did like the last part of the book where we started to see the real Hugo in his element. The class difference aspect was interesting. I also enjoyed the character of Gwen and was sad for what she had been though in her life. She and Hugo were well-matched. The last section of the book worked well for me, and almost lifted it to 3.5 stars. So altogether, 3.25 stars maybe?
Profile Image for Luana ☆.
504 reviews76 followers
April 27, 2021
Hahahaha this hero has absolutely no idea how to deal with woman. Or with people in general, really. He speaks very bluntly (I mean, even nowadays it would be shocking), which I laughed a lot, he's very honest, speaks only what is necessary and nothing more, he's a military man that had a title set upon himself after being a hero in the war, and he has no idea how to go about society. But he's so sweet when he cares about someone. He gives the best advices and is an incredible honorable man.

This is the romance of an older woman whom has been a widow for 7 years and never thought about marrying again. They are from different backgrounds and social standards, trying to see if a marriage is even possible for them.

This book was a sandwich for me. Entertaining - boring - Entertaining. 
And it finished in such a sweet tone that I was grinning like a fool.
But it was a comfortable book. Nothing great, nothing really bad, just comfortable.
Profile Image for Dagmar .
193 reviews31 followers
June 6, 2022
No one can pull a reader into a story quite like Balogh. What a gift.
A wounded Hero who gets saved by love...Nothing better in an HR. Beautiful, sexy, slow burn...full of depth, human connection, authentic, flawed, relatable characters...this was heartsoaring and completely engrossing. I haven't read an HR that digs deeper into the inner experiences of war survivors and how they support one another in friendship. I loved how the MC's were a bit older and cultivated their relationship, breaking through self imposed emotional walls in moments of touching and direct exchange. Romantic, cheeky, profound, unique; I found this book completely unputdownable and will promptly read the rest of the series. Goes straight to the heart...very moving. A total joy.
Profile Image for Justin Chen.
382 reviews339 followers
March 4, 2022
4 stars

An all around handsomely-crafted romance, The Proposal is as classy as one can get as a historical romance, featuring an unique premise as a series starter (a 'club' for wounded souls, psychically or mentally), and 2 sympathetic, dimensional characters. While it doesn't have the most sensational passion, what it does best is conveying two characters who are aware of their mutual attraction, working through their class difference, personal trauma, and hesitation for change.

Mary Balogh's writing is lyrical, and crystal-clear at surfacing the thematic underbelly of her story, perhaps too much at times. There are definitely moments of info-dumping; it's as if the author can't trust readers to remember the novel's theme (class difference and overcoming tragedy), without it being repeatedly spoon-fed to us. This can become rather irksome when you just want the story to progress, but what's on page is yet another passage reciting setups you already know. The novel also utilizes the technique of telling the story, then backtrack and re-tell the same scene from another character's point of view; while certainly unexpected, it doesn't come across as insightful as perhaps what the author has intended.

Overall I still quite enjoyed The Proposal, it is definitely more Jane Austen than other contemporary works in the genre that are more feisty, outright funny, and erotic, and the concept of the club definitely has me intrigued on continuing the series. If you're in the mood for a witty slow-burn romance with sensible characters, this is not a bad choice (just be ready to skimp here and there when the novel starts repeating itself).

***The Rake Appreciation Society Book Club | March 2022 Selection***
Profile Image for Starr (AKA Starrfish) Rivers.
908 reviews266 followers
December 9, 2018
I'm in a generous mood. I do love the Hero, Hugo. I love Heroes who are "pure" and straightforward and kind and blunt. He is all of those things, a great boulder of a beautiful man. So sweet inside, so male in the way he approaches the world, and so innocent too.

I love the push and pull between Hugo and Gwen. She is much more sophisticated than him, but he appeals to the woman in her - class be damned!

I love that she makes him court her, and that he refuses to do so, instead wooing her in his own way. I love that she tells him she loves him first, and is quite sure that he loves her. It'd be hard to miss knowing you're loved by a man like him. Even if he doesn't say it, he shows it.

I just adore this couple!

But I don't like the cover. Hugo looks more like this to me:

Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,760 reviews793 followers
December 5, 2018
This review was originally posted on Addicted To RomanceI received this book for free from Audible Romance Package in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Proposal is the first book in the Survivors' Club Series by Mary Balogh. I have been wanting to get to this series so badly and so when I saw the first book up on the Romance Package at Audible, I knew I needed to try it and get my historical fix that I was in the mood of. At first, I wasn't sure what I thought of the book to be honest, or if it would work for me but boy I FELL hard for this book here and it was superb. It starts out slow of course but throughout the story, the author slowly reels in the reader and keeps you interested in this romance.

Our beautiful love story begins with the annual get together of the Survivors' Club. All seven members are Survivors of the war against Napolean, who were all wounded and joined forces to get back to living healthy and as normal lives as they could get to. There are six men and one woman in this group and they have each other's backs. They trust each other completely. Our first Survivor is Hugo Emes, Lord Trentham. His wounds were more mental than physical. He bears the guilt of losing over 300 men in a battle and only a few surived, and he has always blamed himself for it. But now he knows that he needs to get married and have an heir. He has always worked in business, but was granted a title after his work in the war as a soldier. But he wants to honor his late father and make sure everything they worked for isn't lost. So he wants to find a woman who is practical and logical to marry.

Gwendolyn, Lady Muir, is a widow and bears her own guilt and pain. She blames herself for her husbands death. Gwen feels like she was part of the problem despite the fact that her late husband had many internal issues. She is out in the country visiting a friend and her cousin and after a tense discussion with her cousin she goes out for a walk by the shore. But then she falls and hurts her ankle, that was already broken before and hadn't been set right and she carries a bad limp. Just her luck to damage it again. But then she sees Lord Trentham who rescues her and takes her back to the country estate. While she heals and stays at the estate, Gwen gets to become friends with the Surivors' Club including a growing attachment to Hugo. She knows that she is falling in love with him, but they are worlds apart different, but will their social class and personalities clash or bring harmony to their lives?
I do not believe there is right or wrong," he said. "there is only doing what one must do under given circumstances and living with the consequences and weaving every experiences, good and bad, into the fabric of one's life so that ultimately one can see the pattern of it all and accept the lessons life has taught

I simply fell so hard for this couple, although I wasn't sure about it in the first half. It does have a slow beginning, but I feel like the narrator was perfect for this book. I am really glad that I picked this one up in audio. I don't believe I have listened to Rebecca before, but her voice was really lovely and she displays the right tones of emotion and tugs the reader into the story so flawlessly. I had a fun time with seeing this pair find their yin-yang in this story and it really isn't easy for them. They are from different social structures but we see them each live in each other's worlds and discover how great that they are together. This is one of my favorite tropes (probably because in my own life, my parents love tale is that they were from opposite sides of the tracks....so I believe you can definitely make a relationship work in this scenario).
People do understand the language of the heart, you know, even if the head does not always comprehend it.

There is so much that goes on in this book, it begins with their love affair out in the countryside and to the streets of London and seeing them meet each other's families, see the way that they bare their souls to each other and find this deep enriching intimacy that develops between them. I simply had a fun time seeing them discover how strong they are together. That friendship and passion can go hand in hand and with each chapter we see their connection become more vibrant. The ending was simply perfect and made me sigh in bliss!!!

Overall I found The Proposal to be a story that is about healing, personal redemption and finding balance and love in life....A GEM TO FALL FOR!!!

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Profile Image for Vintage.
2,370 reviews421 followers
November 12, 2018
My least favorite of the Survivor's Club, but still a 3 star if for no other reason that it launches the other romances and introduces the members of the SC, and it's still well written.

Three stars for the sweetness and the love that the six men and Imogen share as they try and overcome the horror of war as well as the personal vagaries of life.

I could never really warm to the heroine who was distant, and I wanted to take a skillet to the head of Hugh the stubborn horse's patoot and society humbug. Although they get to their HEA in the end.

Profile Image for Leona.
1,722 reviews18 followers
May 11, 2016
Somewhat disappointing. It started out very strong with a great premise, but it just fizzled out and got very long winded in certain places. Just when I thought there was going to be a compelling conflict that would grab my interest and keep me turning those pages, things turned lukewarm. I actually fell asleep at one point, which is unheard of when reading an MB regency romance.

2.5 stars

Profile Image for Pepa.
929 reviews232 followers
August 15, 2021
Una lectura que ha pasado sin pena ni gloria, Mary Balogh es una de mis autoras favoritas, esta novela lleva su sello, con más recalco en sentimientos que en acciones, una lectura pausada, con la presentación de varios personajes, de entre los que ya tengo mi favorito, que protagonizarán las siguientes entregas. Ha sido una lectura entretenida, pero tampoco ha conseguido engancharme hasta el punto de no poder soltar la lectura
La terminé hace días, en medio de las vacaciones, y no hay nada que pueda decir que sea realmente destacable
Una historia dulce, sencilla, pero no es de sus mejores novelas, ni tan siquiera se acerca
Profile Image for Olga Godim.
Author 12 books70 followers
March 3, 2015
4.5 stars
After rereading this novel, I'm bumping the rating up and updating my review.
I loved this book. I like most books by this author, so I wasn’t surprised. Looking back though my reviews, I can see that I read and reviewed this novel before, when it first came out in 2012, but I didn’t remember the story, so it felt like a fresh read.
The tale is a classic historical romance. Gwen and Hugo belong to different classes. She is a lady, with many generations of aristocracy behind her. He is a middle-class man, granted his title and land for his valor in the war against Napoleon. He doesn’t much like nobility and he definitely doesn’t feel like one of them.
Both have suffered in the past and bear scars, although those scars are not always visible. Both are mature people, over thirty years old, not naïve youngsters. When they first meet, there is an instant attraction, mixed with dislike—they are too different. The rest of the novel unfolds around these two trying to find a way towards each other, while simultaneously resisting the attraction. To paraphrase Hugo, “it would be daft” to tie their lives together, for various reasons, but love is a demanding mistress and wouldn’t be denied.
Besides belonging to different classes, they also belong to different sexes (surprise!) and not always understand each other, or rather Hugo doesn’t always understand Gwen. She, like many intuitive women, is much better in getting the emotional nuances straight.
Below is a wonderful quote—Hugo’s baffled contemplation on the mystery of women.
Had she meant it? He had thought so at the time, but really, could women—ladies—be so blasé about sexual encounters? Men could. But women? Had he been too ready to take her at her words?
What if she was with child and would not write to him.
And why could he not stop thinking of her day or night… always she was there at the back of his mind—and sometimes not so far back.
He would be an idiot to marry her.
But she would save him from idiocy. She would not marry him even if he asked. She had made it very clear that she didn’t want him to ask.
But had she meant it?
He wished he understood women better. It was a well-known fact that they didn’t mean half of what they said.
But which half did they mean?
He would be an idiot.
So the two disparate partners play an ancient game of wooing and seduction, courting each other and retreating again. Almost like a chess game, although in the end, both are the winners.
The story grows gently: no mystery or danger is involved in the blossoming romance. Not many pages are devoted to sex scenes either, which I consider a plus. The bed time is there, when necessary, but the intercourse descriptions are kept to an absolute minimum. It’s all very classy, and the suspense comes from within the protagonists, interspaced with faint but unmistakable humor. Would they finally accept their differences? Would they cross the line between classes and find happiness together? Would it work for them?
Of course, in the best traditions of the genre, it does work, but the author doesn’t deceive her readers. She and her characters know it’s not going to be simple or easy. But it is doable.
I liked this novel so much that I already borrowed the next two novels in the series from my library. I’m starting the next one tonight.
Recommended for everyone who likes historical romance.

A gentle, low-key romance between two vastly unsuitable people, a man and a woman from different social classes. The author doesn’t introduce a mystery or a thriller into her story to make it interesting. Instead, she delves deep into the thoughts and emotions of the protagonists: Gwendoline, Lady Muir, and Hugo, a former military officer. Both are ridden with guilt. Both harbor wounds of the soul, all the more painful for being invisible. The past hasn’t been kind to either of them. But now, the past is over, and the present cheerfully reasserts itself.
For his valor in Napoleonic wars, Hugo was awarded the title of Lord Trentham, but he doesn’t consider himself a lord. He is firmly middle class and proud of his roots. Now he needs a wife and he is set to look for her among his own social strata.
Gwen, a lady through and through and a sister to an earl, has been a widow for seven years. Her first marriage wasn’t happy. Still feeling fragile, she doesn’t wish to remarry.
They meet by chance, and both resent and resist their instant, senseless attraction to each other. In the beginning, they don’t particularly like each other. Besides, both are realists. Whatever the demands of their bodies, they know that there could be no happily-ever-after for them: the social chasm between an umpteenth-generation noblewoman and a son of a self-made businessman is almost bottomless in Georgian England.
But love wouldn’t be denied. It doesn’t care for social conventions, and the arrows of Cupid catch both his targets square in the hearts.
Their story – a story of two damaged people searching for absolution and peace but finding love in an unexpected place – is infused with quiet dignity. No steam, no mad escapades. Just a man and a woman groping in the dark towards each other, finding forgiveness and understanding in each other’s arms.
Tales of lovers from different classes or castes aren’t too plentiful in fiction, maybe because such stories have rarely ended happily in real life. Everyone knows that it’s much easier to adjust to a life partner, when you both have been raised with the same set of values and traditions. Common wisdom, often personified by families, invariable put obstacles into the paths of sweethearts from different social layers. But still, it's happened, in life and in fiction, more and more often these days. And among the fictional accounts of such occasions, this novel is probably one of the best.
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