Mary Balogh's Only Beloved
The final book in the Survivor's Club series focuses on father figure George, and it's kind of boring--basically on page one he's like, "hmm, all my friends are married, I want to get married too" and goes and proposes to the sister of the love interest from book 4, and they get married, and then vaguely resolve their past issues while smiling at each other a whole bunch. OK, great. I did appreciate that this romance features older-than-usual characters--she's 39, and he's 48 (his age was never mentioned before, but I really felt that he had been aged down here with a ridiculously early marriage and fatherhood to make the timeline work and have him still be relatively sprightly). I mean, you never see middle-aged people in a romance novel like this, so that was kind of cool, but aside from like one very silly and melodramatic scene, the story was pretty dull. Pleasant, but dull. Also, for some reason the total heteronormativity/presentation of gender roles kind of rubbed me the wrong way in this one--I'm really not sure why. Maybe because the heroine was perfectly happy with her life, maybe because the survivors ending up with SEVENTEEN children between them is the happy ending. I mean, they also have better mental health, which is why I found this series interesting in the first place (the main characters all have PTSD), but this was a little bit of a bland way to wrap up the series. B.