THE ESCAPE by Mary Balogh

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Survivor’s Club Series, Book 3

Just to recap, this series focuses on a group of men who all sustained injuries during the Napoleonic Wars. The Duke of Stanbrook, having lost his son in that war, had invited this group of five men with various serious injuries, and one woman who had the misfortune of seeing her husband tortured and killed, to recuperate at his estate. They spend a few years there healing, form an eternal bond, and after they have healed enough to return to the world, they meet up once a year at the estate to renew their bonds. And apparently each year, at least one of them will marry.

The Escape centers on Major Sir Benedict Harper, who had his legs crushed during the war. He was told that he would never walk again and the surgeon wanted to amputate, but he refused, and through sheer strength of will, has fashioned two canes that allow him to walk, albeit slowly, and with some pain.

Benedict is out riding and decides to try jumping a hedge, which he accomplishes but unfortunately, when he lands he scares a young woman and her dog, and his horse gets a bit spooked. He gets the horse under control and then notices the woman has fallen on her behind. His temper gets the best of him and she storms off.

It turns out she is Mrs. Samantha McKay, recently widowed after caring for her invalid husband for many years after he was injured in the war. Their meeting doesn’t get off on the best foot, but Benedict’s sister helps make amends. Then Samantha finds out that the home she thought was hers has been given to her brother-in-law and his family, and she is being sent to live with her puritanical in-laws, so she decides to run away to a cottage by the sea in Wales that her mother had bequeathed her.

Benedict offers to accompany her, and she reluctantly acquiesces. During that trip, that learn a lot about each other, and they fall in love but are hesitant to admit it. The village in Wales is dominated by a mansion on top of a hill that overlooks the town and the sea, and it turns out to be owned by the grandfather Samantha never met. Family issues are complicated, and Benedict leaves for several months to allow Samantha to finish her mourning for her husband, and to get to know her recently found family.

This is another terrific story in what has turned into a favorite series. I’m looking forward to the next book, but as an added treat, there is a short story called “The Suitor” that is included in the paperback that stands alone, but also ties up a loose end from The Arrangement.

9/14 Stacy Alesi

THE ESCAPE by Mary Balogh. Dell (July 1, 2014). ISBN 978-0345536068. 416p.

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