In this poignant novel of longing and salvation, a hopeful widow and a resilient war hero discover the promise of love’s magic and new beginnings.
After surviving the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Benedict Harper is struggling to move on, his body and spirit in need of a healing touch. Never does Ben imagine that hope will come in the form of a beautiful woman who has seen her own share of suffering. After the lingering death of her husband, Samantha McKay is at the mercy of her oppressive in-laws—until she plots an escape to distant Wales to claim a house she has inherited. Being a gentleman, Ben insists that he escort her on the fateful journey.
Ben wants Samantha as much as she wants him, but he is cautious. What can a wounded soul offer any woman? Samantha is ready to go where fate takes her, to leave behind polite society and even propriety in her desire for this handsome, honorable soldier. But dare she offer her bruised heart as well as her body? The answers to both their questions may be found in an unlikely place: in each other’s arms.
Includes Mary Balogh’s charming short story, “The Suitor.”
Best of the Series So Far
By Arc on Jul 02, 2014
This book is much better than the preceding two and is the kind of Mary Balogh writing I love. These are GROWN-UPS! Neither Benedict nor Samantha are hysterical, whiney, self pitying, or dumb. They don't make assumptions about each other without asking questions to test the accuracy of their assumptions (those erroneous assumptions are at the heart of too many hysteria driven romance novels which would have no plot at all if the people involved actually talked to each other.) They both face challenges and they recognize what they must do to overcome them. Balogh's best couples do talk to each other, a lot. They converse, argue, tease, laugh, disagree, get angry and make up - in short they actually get to know each other before they make life long commitments. They approach attraction and sex like the normal human activities they are, expressive of desire, tenderness, affection and mutual pleasure. Its not cosmic. They don't pretend they can't live without each other. They in fact know they can (because real people do) and that they will even recover from the heart break if necessary but fortunately don't have to. No one is trying to kill or kidnap anyone else. Samantha's background is a bit mysterious to her but when she fills in the details it is nothing horrible. My only complaint is that the author seems to need to tie up all the loose ends. John and Matilda were not nice characters and Balogh did not have to redeem them in any way to end the story. That felt rather inauthentic. They disappeared from relevance much earlier in the story and should have stayed there.
"The world had stopped and they had stepped off"
By Lark on Jul 03, 2014
This is a story of sublime beauty. For the past six years Ben and Samantha suffered the ravages of the Peninsular War. Ben, whose legs had been smashed, had spent that painful time in grim determination to walk again. Samantha, now widowed, had devoted those years to nursing her wounded husband. Having lost his military career, Ben was searching for a purpose in life. Visiting his sister on a neighboring estate before beginning some aimless travels, Ben and Samantha meet. While there is an attraction between them, their relationship is amicable but distant. Until, that is, Samantha learns she is to be immediately forced to again live with her tyrannical and oppressive in-laws. Desperately seeking the comfort of her friend, Ben's sister, she finds Ben instead. While agonizing over her prospects, Samantha remembers her mother having briefly mentioned a cottage in western Wales that had been willed to her, whereupon Samantha decides she must immediately set forth toward that cottage, her only sanctuary. Ben is horrified by the prospect of her traveling alone and unprotected, and insists that he accompany her. Thus begins the escape. The journey had an almost dreamlike quality to it. It was during this journey that time briefly stood still..."The world had stopped and they had stepped off." What followed was a beautiful development of deepening friendship. They had fun; they enjoyed each other. Samantha was sunny, kind, intuitive, and innocently pragmatic. Ben was thoughtful, protective, kind, and with a sly sense of humor. Their friendship then gently unfolded into a profound love. Exquisite writing! Exquisite story! Such a joy to read! Every word was a pleasure.
Sloooower Than Molasses
By Judge Tabor on Jul 11, 2014
The characters in this book were very well drawn - problem is, they were too drawn out. Thirty percent of the way into the book, we are still hearing the thoughts over and over in Samantha's head about the 5 years she spent taking care of her husband supposedly without even one hour of freedom? Oh, did I mention she spent five long years taking care of her husband without any. type. of. a break. If not, let me say it one more time just so you won't forget this fact - indeed, five. long. years. of nursing her husband. By the way, he was a total jerk and when he passed, his even jerkier sister came to boss Samantha around - insisting that she wear horrible mourning clothes that did not fit, no drapes open in the house, heavy veil, no social life at all except to church once each week and Samantha allowed this for far too long. Finally... Samantha begins to stand up for herself. Plus, we have Benedict mulling over and over in his mind about what he can do to have an interesting life - he has basically allowed his younger brother and his family to take over his property and doesn't feel comfortable asserting his rights to oversee it. Man up and go get your property back if you think that will help - we're tired of reading about it. I thought the romance part of the story would never get going and finally, about 40% of the way into the book, when Benedict and Samantha actually got going somewhere - thankfully - even if it was to Wales, then I thought okay, now, perhaps some real action. No, nada, nil, unless you count the fact they took a few walks, a teeny bit of action one night in an inn but days passed by and not much going on - even with those long hours in the carriage without a companion or chaperone - nada, nil - barely even any information given to us, except - wait a minute they did take another walk or two - yes, Samantha had to take her dog for his potty breaks. Finally... they arrive in Wales and then you think, okay maybe at last, some romance will ensue - wait a minute, it is a romance novel, right? Maybe I was mistaken about that. Well, finally it did sort of get going and I'm not one who cares for a lot of sexual detail and we didn't actually get much, but again, get the romance moving, if you please! There was all that fabulous swimming and the beach and I don't recall even a kiss? I could be wrong about that - if there was one, it wasn't very memorable. It's going to be 1:00 am soon and I am ever so slightly bored. Such potential in this storyline - a fine handsome man who just happens to not have the full use of his legs, but is not going to allow this fact to keep him from having a full life. A beautiful woman - 1/4 gypsy, 1/4 Welsh and 1/2 English. Now there's a mix that is sure to stir up some interest. But, overall - way, way, way too slow. The grandfather - Bevan - wound up being the most interesting person in the book and we didn't get to meet him until about 70% into it. Write me some romance about Bevan - he was all that he should be and then some, even if he was in his mid 60's. Not exactly sure about how this review will be received - it is 2:00 am and I have just been bored out of my everlovin' mind. Lastly, I may not be Ms. Balogh's biggest fan, but I am a fan nonetheless and I will continue to purchase her books.
Setting the Bar High
By Shelia Hudnall on Jul 01, 2014
For the record, I advance ordered this book in its e-book format. Indeed as I have the first two books in this series. Yes, I have always liked Mary's work enough to do that. The Escape is the exception to my quiet enjoyment of Ms. Balogh's warm, deceptively simple style of romance. She has set the bar high for the rest of the series with this one. If I were to attach a theme to this one it would be one simple word: Choice. Choices made with difficult situations and after life-altering events. Benedict and Samantha both have been through the later and come to a place they must deal with the former. Wounded but healing they recognize in each other a kindred soul who wants to truly live. Sounds rather melodramatic doesn't it? No, it really isn't. There is laughter between them at some of the situations they find themselves in. Samantha is different from other Balogh heroines. Estranged from what little family she knows about and widowed, she is left with the choice of either domestic imprisonment with a puritanical father-in-law or finding a place in the world where she can live her life with dignity and, yes, some joy. You see, she wants to dance. Benedict has been severely crippled from war and left with an estate he does not want to wrest from the hands of a younger brother who has taken care of it lovingly for years. With the help of his friends and his own fierce determination he has fought his way to a state of physical independence few have expected of him. And without an estate to take up his time and energies what is an aristocratic former Army major to do? For you see, he wants to dance. One almost expects one of Ms. Balogh's familiar devices to emerge and it does but not to conclusion, thankfully. Here it would not have worked where it has in her other books. Samantha needs to be free and Benedict recognizes that need. Independence is a need reflected in himself. He cannot deny it there; he will not deny it in her either. Choice again and again. Choices made with the heart and, yes, tempered with the dictates of the society they live in. Yes, the story concludes in the accepted romantic fashion---at the altar rail but with a mature and joyous completion not often found. They know each other in every way two people can. And their choice (that word again!) is each other. I am sure others will find points to disagree with. Someone always does. I may myself when I read it again as I always do. And there is no reason to trust me. Who am I? But I will end this review with this: Find your favorite reading spot, a cup or glass of your favorite beverage, and curl up with this book. (Chocolate optional and maybe unnecessary). Open it up and let Mary draw you in. Trust her. I don't think you will be disappointed at all.
Deeply Emotional Story
By S. Melo on Jul 01, 2014
THE ESCAPE is the third novel in the Survivor
Escape from bleak future, and what splendid escape it turned out to be
By Penny Black on Jul 03, 2014
"We have something in common, you know," he told her, stopping abruptly before he reached the door. "I want to dance too. Sometimes it is what I want to do more than anything else in life." What the hero does not realize when he tells the heroine this, is how true his words really are. In the third - my favorite so far - book of the Survivor Club series, Mary Balogh brings together two kindred spirits, who, at the time of their meeting, find themselves adrift, facing an uninspiring future. In her twenty-four years, the heroine has seen little happiness, and the summons from her father-in-law guarantee she will have even less happiness to look forward to for the rest of her life. The hero is at a similar cross-roads, as a middle son, he expected to be a career military officer, instead, as a result of severe injury he has to find a new purpose in life. And when the heroine calls on his sister, looking for someone with whom she might share her miserable news, the hero leaps at the opportunity to be needed, even if he doesn't quite see it that way. And so begins their journey to Wales, during which they first find companionship, then friendship, and, finally, love. Usually, I don't particularly care for long carriage trip romances, but Mary Balogh turned a tired plot device into a meaningful journey of self-discovery, in which even angst had a serene quality that left me convinced that the pair has a bright future ahead and that their "rebellion" was worth it.
... because it is Mary Balogh and I can
By Recovering on Jul 08, 2014
I am giving this 3 stars because it is Mary Balogh and I can
Beautifully Emotional and Visually Stunning
By Ckfashant on Jul 28, 2014
Sir Benedict Harper was not made for an idle life, but that seems to be all he can manage since his dream of a military life was taken from him on the Peninsula, along with his ability to walk and dance. His restlessness leads him to agree to help a recent widow escape from her late husband's family, and escort her on a mad dash to Wales where there may, or may not, be a cottage waiting for her. As he fights his feelings of inadequacy he finds himself wondering if this fierce widow might understand him better than anyone else. Samantha McKay has been trapped for six years. First at the home of her tyrannical father-in-law for a year while her husband was at war and then taking care of her dying husband for five years. Now under the threat of returning to a life of suppression and misery under her father-in-law, she concocts a plan to steal away in the middle of the night and make her way to Wales, where her mother was raised. She enlists the help of Sir Benedict, her neighbor's brother and a man she has not always thought of fondly. Can she keep their partnership purely business? Or will she find herself once again falling into the arms of a wounded and demanding reminder of a war she wishes to forget. I have read many books about Wales, but I honestly believe this one contains the most descriptive images of the country and atmosphere. I have always thought of it as a foggy and craggy country (a lot like Wuthering Heights), where most Gothic novelists obviously find their inspiration. This book, however, completely changed my perception. The descriptions remind me a bit of the Pacific Northwest (where I live) and I found that charming and comforting. The people seemed friendly, if a little hesitant to welcome visitors who look down on them. I love that the musical aspect of the country was regaled upon, and the descriptor of the singing raising the roof of the church was memorable. This the fourth story set in the world of the Survivors (The Suitor was a novella that occurred concurrently with The Arrangement), and the sixteenth story set in the world of the Bedwyns. Starting with One Night for Love, the story that first introduced us to Gwen, Lady Trentham (formerly Lady Muir), this serial keeps getting better and better as it goes. Ms. Balogh has managed to keep the stories fresh, while still finding a way to tug our heartstrings and make us smile simultaneously. This story is a powerful reminder of her signature romantic trope, damaged heroes (or heroines) finding the power of love stronger than their own obstacles. The characters in this story shine. Ms. Balogh is an expert of creating memorable characters, whether they are in the forefront or the background. Even the lawyer who handled Samantha's business and the owner of the inn rated important enough to actually have a personality. This attention to detail really makes a difference in creating a captivating story, but so does knowing when to pull back and let the lead characters take center stage. There seemed to be a seamless quality to this differentiation in this story. Overall, I found this a pleasant and happy read. It didn't make me laugh hysterically, or grit my teeth in suspense. But not all books need to do that to be great. Some books just need to tell a good story well with no distractions or additives. That is exactly what this book did.
By T. Powell on Jul 18, 2014
Great character developement, great dialogue, great psychological insight for her characters. Once again, Mrs Balogh presents a flawed hero, Major Sir Benedict Harper from her Survivors club. Ben has been trying to restore full function in his multi-fractured legs so he could walk normally again. The author allows us to see, learn and undrstand how the long suffering and still healing wounded warrior had to cope upon his return from the Napoleonic and/or Peninsula wars. Ben is visiting hissisterforawhile before traveling. We learn our heroine, Samantha, a recent widow, has been led to believe she as no longer a valued asset a member of her deceased husband's family. Samantha had to cope with the over-strict decrees on manners ( read : manipulation) of her former father-in-law, and her battle ax sister-in-law, who encamped her unwanted self in the home that Samantha was led to believe would be her home for life. When the in-laws decide that Samantha is not so easily kept under their strict lifestyle, and they will forcibly move her to live with her father-in-law, Samantha seeks help from her neighbor Bea, but finds Bea's brother Ben is home and willing to help her flee. Samantha only has a mention of a home left to her, but decides it is her only option to at least see the place and if she can possibly live in Wales. Samantha and Ben seem to have found "something" in each other from their second meeting, and their relationship improves as they travel to Wales. As with some books,I skip around before I open at page one, and this book had me enthralled at every section I opened it up to, so I kept reading,...Well, I am tthree quarters of the way through the full book, and enjoying learning how well each (sneak peeked) lsection unfolds into the next chapter. Yes, I do know how this one ends, but I am thoroughly enjoying the chronological reading by this talented writer.