On a splendid August afternoon Susanna Osbourne is introduced to the most handsome man she has ever seen . . . and instantly feels the icy chill of recognition. Peter Edgeworth, Viscount Whitleaf, is utterly charming - and seemingly unaware that they have met before. With his knowing smile and seductive gaze, Peter acts the rake; but he stirs something in Susanna she has never felt before, a yearning that both frightens and dazzles her. Instantly she knows: this brash nobleman poses a threat to her heart . . . and to the secrets she guards so desperately.
From the moment they meet, Peter is drawn to Susanna's independence, dazzled by her sharp wit-he simply must have her. But the more he pursues, the more Susanna withdraws . . . until a sensual game of thrust-and-parry culminates in a glorious afternoon of passion. Now more determined than ever to keep her by his side, Peter begins to suspect that a tragic history still haunts Susanna. And as he moves closer to the truth, Peter is certain of one thing: he will defy the mysteries of her past for a future with this exquisite creature-all Susanna must do is trust him with the most precious secret of all. . . .
This is the third book in the Simply series after Simply Love , which itself was a spin off of the Slightly series which featured the Bedwyn family, as well as a couple of characters from earlier books! And once again the author chooses to feature all of these characters in her latest book. Mercifully they are shorter appearances by the whole gang than there have been in the earlier Simply books, but they are still there. I was thankful to read on Mary Balogh's website that she is starting a new series, one not connected at all to her previous books - thank goodness. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
The other thing that there was too much of in this book is the over use of the words magic, magical and magically - we get it already. There was also a strange use of italics used for emphasis throughout the book. Even though I have been known to use capitals in posts and comments, I don't think I have seen anything similar in a book before!
And what about the story itself...well, it was nice! And I mean that in the nicest possible way. There was no cold distant duke, wounded hero, or even redeemable rake. What we have with Peter is a funny, charming, honourable man who is trying to find his sense of identity in his current role as a Viscount. When he meets Susannah he instantly knows that she is the one, although he is not 100 percent sure what that means. However, as soon as Susannah meets him she knows exactly who is his, and is determined not to like him. As she gets to know him though, she can't help but like spending time with him, and without being attracted to him, despite the fact that he is close neighbours with important figures from her past that she would rather avoid.
In terms of timing, the first half of this book overlaps with the events in the last book, and Peter and Susannah meet each other again at the wedding reception that was held for the hero and heroine, Syd and Anne. The other thing that happens is that those same figures from Susannah's past also come back to haunt her.
In many ways the love story between Susannah and Peter is pretty straightforward. The only impediment is really the events from her past, and once they the events of years before are cleared up satisfactorily then there is only their feelings towards each other that matter. Whilst this wasn't the most electrifying book that I have ever read, it wasn't a bad book either. In fact, if I was to choose just one word to use to describe this book it would be ...... nice!