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Simply Love

The Simply Quartet, Book 2
Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
Series: Simply Quartet, Book 2
Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
Categories: Fiction, Sagas
4.5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Summary

She spies him in the deepening dusk of a Wales evening - a lone figure of breathtaking strength and masculinity, his handsome face branded by a secret pain. For single mother and teacher Anne Jewell, newly arrived with her son at a sprawling estate in Wales, Sydnam Butler is a man whose sorrows - and passions - run deeper than she could have ever imagined.

As steward of a remote seaside manor, Sydnam lives a reclusive existence far from the pity and disdain of others. Yet almost from the moment Anne first appears on the cliffs, he senses in this lovely stranger a kindred soul, and between these two wary hearts, desire stirs. Unable to resist the passion that has rescued them both from loneliness, Anne and Sydnam share an afternoon of exquisite lovemaking. Now the unwed single mother and war-scarred veteran must make a decision that could forever alter their lives.

Contains mature themes.

©2006 Mary Balogh (P)2016 Tantor

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  • D. Mark
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 23-07-17

Simply Lovely

Any additional comments?

This is a wonderfully touching book that is unwaveringly focused on the relationship of Anne and Sydnam, without much drama or action to distract from the main story. I had wanted to listen to this book for a while, but I try not to start in the middle of a series. Accordingly I started with the first in the Quartet series, Simply Unforgettable, and it is still languishing in my 'Did not finish' pile. I found the lead characters in that story boring and irritating (and all too forgettable), and I worried that this book too would not live up to my expectations. I am delighted that my worries were for nought.

Unlike many in the genre, this book did not revolve around a 'misunderstanding', but real psychological problems resulting from severe traumas. Both Anne and Sydnam had suffered greatly in their past, and had worked hard to provide themselves with peace and stability. After the turbulence of their pasts, they are contented to live uneventful, safe, quiet lives, alone. However, when they meet, they challenge each other's supposed contentment, and each begins to question whether they really are happy with the lives they have made for themselves. Are they alone, or are they lonely?

The development of the relationship between Anne and Sydnam is slow, painful and realistic. They both have to face uncomfortable truths which they have not in the past been strong enough to confront. They both have self-esteem issues and think themselves not good enough for the other. Although their past traumas are different in nature, it has given them a unique insight into the other, and they instinctively understand aspects in the other's character that others do not. They challenge and support each other to overcome the barriers preventing them from being truly happy. The ending is incredibly moving.

The only thing that I find jarring in this book is the ease and speed with which Anne forgives her family. Having dedicated the whole book to the slow building of the relationship between Anne and Sydnam, I don't understand why Balogh decided that Anne could forgive the incredible betrayals of her family, and the decade-long estrangement within a couple of paragraphs. The way Anne's family have treated her for ten years is despicable. They come across as very weak-minded, and caring more about what the neighbours think than the health and wellbeing of their daughter and grandchild. They have done nothing in all that time to assist her, even from afar.

Then, when Anne (without any invitation or encouragement from any of them) goes to see them, her father actually tells her to her face that she must have invited her rape by trying to attract her rapist. He then says that if she had wanted to, she could have stopped him, then caps it all by saying that it is the man who is always blamed!! Then he says that while he is sorry for his actions (or lack thereof) he had been concerned about what the neighbours would say, and perhaps, after all, it was better that she had not faced the gossip. AS IF SHE WAS NOT GOSSIPPED ABOUT AND OSTRACISED EVERYWHERE SHE WENT AS AN UNMARRIED MOTHER WHO HAD NO FAMILY TO SUPPORT HER!! Her mother, brother, sister and brother-in-law/ex-fiancé are all pathetic characters who do nothing but beg forgiveness which they don't deserve. This had me absolutely boiling with anger, and yet Anne apparently turned around and forgave them all because she wanted her son to know his family. Why you would encourage your child to rely on people who would turn their backs at the first sign of trouble is beyond me. Sydnam, who had forced her against her will to visit her family, did nothing to support her in the confrontation. For me this who scene was unnecessary, and really compromised the trust they had built up between them.

Other than Anne's useless family, there are some good supporting characters who do not overpower the book. Most of the Balogh I have read is the old Heyer-like stuff, and so I am not conversant with the more modern Balogh-world, but I gather that most of the supporting characters, such as the Bedwyn brood, are from her other books and series.

Do I really need to say anything about Rosalyn Landor's performance? Exceptional as always! Landor is such a safe pair of hands, that you can sink into a book, and not worry about unsustained characterisation, poor pronunciation or dodgy accents!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • No
  • 31-01-17

aa story about true adults.

A n amazing story about two broken people who accidentally find each other. It's an emotional story. There are no silly and annoying characters and I think it's one of Balogh best.

Rosalyn best.

I listened on one big bite.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Sandra
  • 20-07-16

Simply a lovely story

I love the narration. I love how simply and yet dignified and engaging all these characters develop. I love that the resolution was not the usual resolution. I love that these characters jump out at you and make you want to be like them. And as I said in the title of my critique- s simply a lovely story.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Luisa M Herrera
  • 20-04-17

I couldn't stop listening!

Enjoy Mary Balogh books and Roslayn Landor never disappoints. In most of the Balogh books I have read the woman is not beautiful but not unattractive, and there is something about her situation that makes her ineligible or less than desireable; and the male is usually very attractive but a bit of a rake to start. I loved the variation in Anne and Sydnam's story. She is beautiful while injuries sustained in the war have marred his physical appearance. I find that most of the challenges that face Balogh's relationships could be easily overcome if people just said what they meant, and some at times feel trivial or forced. While poor communication was a factor in this story to a degree, there were additionally legitimate internal struggles with both protagonist that I found very intriguing. I found myself invested in what happened to these two characters to the point of depriving myself of sleep to listen. Anne was not only half of a romantic pairing but she was also a mother, which in my opinion made her decisions and struggles all the more interesting. I would read this book again!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Scarlette
  • 16-05-19

Great Story and Performance

I rated the performance a 4 because Rosalyn Landor did not use voices she previously had for Jerves and Freya. She had such strong voices throughout the Bedwyn novels and most of them were used, but these two very distinct ones were not. the reason I look for her recordings is because she never forgets voices. that being said, there were a lot of characters in this book. you must read the Bedwyn books before this one to avoid being confused by all of the relationships, but it is an amazing book of you have.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michelle Gardner
  • 21-03-19

Truly beautiful love story

I love that Mary Balogh writes characters with depth and not just the traditional “tall, dark and handsome.” I was worried for a few minutes I would not enjoy a live story with a disfigured man, but it was truly lovely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Renee C. Meyers
  • 20-03-19

Tears through laughter is my favorite emotion.

Tears through laughter is my favorite emotion. This is such a sweet and lovely story. Two damaged people coming to terms with thier awful life experiences to find "A lifetime of happiness".

I am grateful for the romance package. I wouldn't have listened to her books if not for this. This is the first series of Mary Balogh I have listened to. I will listen to her others now.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jmmt18
  • 06-02-19

beautiful story

once again I love this story and am familiar with the series...... which is why I had such a hard time again with suzanna being given an Irish accent..... it'll be interesting to see if the accent continues into her own story which is my favorite and the next book. I'm afraid that if it is I still be forced to return the book which is something I've never done before

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-01-19

Heartwarming

I loved this story, and the HEA, but didn’t think it was predictable and enjoyed the surprises. Nearly shed a few tears, and made me wish I could enter the world of these wonderful characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marcia
  • 28-11-18

Enthralling from the first

These characters are written well enough to immediately grab your attention and the narrator brings them to life exquisitely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dayna A. Hudgin
  • 26-11-18

Surprise gem

I never right reviews, but thought this book deserved one. This was one of the most superbly written and performed books I’ve read in a long time. The story was engaging and original; no cookie cutter approach here. It kept my interest from beginning to end without being trite and predictable. I am rearranging my reading list to read the next one immediately. Well done!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful