7 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book review: One Night for Love

Title: One Night for Love

Author: Mary Balogh

Review Number: 14

Genre: Romance/ Historical

Stand alone or series: It is part a of series of books evolving around the same family/friends. This one being the first one can be read as a standalone.

Summary: Amazon.com says Mary Balogh’s latest historical romance, One Night for Love, will delight readers with the skillfully woven tale of Neville Wyatt, Major Lord Newbury, the Earl of Kilbourne, and Lily Doyle, beautiful but common-born daughter of Kilbourne’s sergeant, who has spent her life following her father and England’s army. When Lily’s father is mortally wounded, Neville promises the dying man that he will protect Lily by marrying her and giving her his name; as an officer’s wife–and a viscountess to boot–Lily will be treated with respect in case of capture. But the two share only one glorious night of passion and discovery after their wedding, for the next day Neville watches in horror as Lily, his wife and the woman he loves, is killed in a skirmish with the French. He, too, is severely wounded and barely escapes with his life. Eighteen months later, Neville is again preparing to be married, this time to the eminently suitable young woman his family has always planned for him to wed. However, one of the guests, albeit uninvited, has grounds to object to the union; the groom is already married–to her! Neville and Lily struggle to wed their worlds together while overcoming the horror of Lily’s capture and imprisonment, while a secret lurks nearby that threatens to destroy their growing love. Balogh’s latest effort is an extraordinary tale of love found, lost, and found again.

Why did I read this book: Catching up with the genre, I couldn’t not read Mary Balogh. This is my first of hers and certainly not the last.


One Night for Love is the story of Neville Wyatt, Earl of Kilbourne and Lily Doyle, a commoner. Neville was a Major of the Army in Portugal and Lily’s father was his sergeant. They have known each other for a few years and had become friends when her father is wounded and Neville promises to take care of Lily, which he does by marrying her. They have no idea what to do with their lives together, he doesn’t think much of the future at this point and what it means for an Earl to be married to an illiterate daughter of a sergeant. But before they can resolve things between them, they are attacked and Neville is wounded as he sees Lily falling to the grounds with a shot to her heart. He thinks she is dead and he is left with nothing but the memory of the one night of love they shared – their wedding night. Now two years later he is moving on. He is about to wed his cousin Lauren as he was supposed to and fulfil his duties as expected by the good people of the Ton.

But as he stands in the church, it is not Lauren who walks towards him. It is Lily, dressed with shabby clothes, looking like a beggar. Lily who spent the past two years as a prisoner to Spanish partisans, being kept as whore by their leader. Lily, who has endured it all so she could survive and go back to her husband. Lily, who cannot read or write, who knows nothing of life but the life of the army and who has an innocence about her that is captivating. This is no Lady but she is his wife. So, now what?

Of course, he calls off the wedding and now must face the consequences of his acts before his family, his friends and his fiancée. Even though Neville is extremely happy that Lily is alive and well, for she is the love of his life, he still feels bad about Lauren. They are friends and he respects her and wishes her no harm. Lauren on the other hand, could have been portrayed as a villain or a bitch but instead it is easy to relate to her and her suffering for being second best. She struggles to be happy for Neville and at the same time trying not to hate Lily for stealing her place. Similarly, his mother is shocked by the turn of events and try to come to terms with her son’s true wife. And poor Lily is completely overwhelmed by the reality of the circumstances.

This is one the most serious romance novel I read. It is about two people that love each other from the start but realise that love is not everything and does not conquer all. It is not the usual everything-will-be-fine-as-long-as- we- have- love kind of romance. It is a realistic and mature take starting with everyone’s reactions to the circumstances down to Lily’s objective realisation that she is inferior to him even though he loves her with all his heart and expects no change from her.

He was happy that she was innocent and did not think there was a problem with her being ignorant. But she wants more and when they find out that their wedding was never made official, as the documents were lost in the attack they suffered, she is relieved. Neville wants to make it official as soon as possible but she refuses because she believes it is not her rightful place. This moment was so heartbreaking because they truly do love each other, they have respect, they are friends most of all who feel free next to each other, who can laugh and talk for hours but who cannot ultimately, escape their environment.

“They had been equals as lovers. But two persons could not live on love to the exclusion of all else. And there was nothing else in which there was any equality between them.”

So she leaves to work as companion for his aunt Elizabeth. He is adamant to have Lily back but Elizabeth shows him how immensely selfish he is being by trying to keep Lily from changing. She opens his eyes and explains that one can grow and learn new things and still be the same person inside only better and more prepared for the world. And this is what she sets to do, to help Lilly prepare herself for the world that she lives in and to give her the opportunity to choose what to do with her life. Lily does not expect any romantic gestures to save her, instead she sets out to do it herself and until she can look into his eyes and feel that they are standing on equal grounds she will not go back.

I really like this book. It is well written and it touches rarely discussed issues in the world of romance specially the fact that Lily basically whored herself so that she could live. She feels guilty for fighting to survive instead of fighting for her honour. Her thoughts were for survival and survival alone and I cannot blame her, nor did Neville.

If there is something that kept me from giving a better rate, is that the ending was too tidy for me. Of course, they get back together after Lily is comfortable in her own shoes, and I have no problems with it. In a romance novel, it is a given that there will be a happily ever after. But there were developments that moved the plot forward in a way I was not very happy with and I wish Mary Balogh would have kept Lilly as who she was, left her past alone. To give her a different background was just a bit too much – I wish she could have become a lady purely by her own merits and not because of some random act of destiny.

Notable quotes/ parts: in the end, they have a most emotional conversation about Lilly’s days with her captor. Throughout this time she has not being able to forgive herself for allowing another man to use her body and Neville has never being able to forgive himself for not being there for her and for going back to England and proceeding with his life. So they exchange the words that they both need to hear so they could forgive themselves and get on with their lives: “it does not need to be said, because there was no real guilt”, but I forgive you Lilly and I forgive you Neville for all of that has happened. *Cries*

Additional Thoughts: I got nothing this time. What? I am writing this without a sip of coffee in my body. It is no wonder my brain is struggling to function!

Verdict: A very touching tale of love. I wouldn’t say run to the bookstore but stroll leisurely towards it.

Rating: 7 . I would give it a higher rate if this was only about Lily and Neville’s relationship but the secondary plot was very irritating, and in my opinion, unnecessary.
Reading next: Wild by Jill Barnett

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  • Jennie
    February 12, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Lauren gets a story of her own in A Summer to Remember, which is one of my favorite Baloghs. 🙂

  • Ana
    February 13, 2008 at 2:59 am

    I have that one as well on my TBR pile. I will probably read it next week. I really liked her writing style

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