I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Someone to Care by Mary Balogh
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Berkley Books on May 1, 2018
Source: the library
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Also by this author: Simply Unforgettable, The Proposal, The Arrangement, Only Enchanting, Only a Promise, Only a Kiss, Only Beloved, Someone to Love, Someone to Hold, Someone to Wed, Someone to Trust
Fourth in the Westcott historical romance series and revolving around the extended Westcott family in Regency England. The couple focus is on Viola Kingsley and Marcel Lamarr, Marquess of Dorchester. It’s been three years since Someone to Love, 1.
It’s quite the fun start as Balogh introduces us to a new character…with a scandalous reputation and follows this with a potentially embarrassing encounter for Miss Viola Kingsley, who seizes the opportunity to find herself. It helps that Balogh is using third person dual point-of-view as we view events through Marcel’s and Viola’s perspectives.
It’s a rather sad tale of sacrifice and selfishness. I know…it sounds so contradictory. And yet, Viola, Bertrand and Estelle, and Jane and Charles have all sacrificed so much while Marcel and his other relatives have gone selfishly on their way.
Naturally, we have to have the miscommunication meme. It was much too obvious and annoying, a contributing factor to the score of “4”. I do have to confess that I rather enjoyed Marcel not coming out on top in this. I know, I know, it was very petty of me. It was only fair, as Marcel has been quite selfish throughout his life, not taking into account the POVs of others. Another contributing factor was Marcel’s lame excuse for abandoning his family. Oy.
I do adore how supportive the whole Westcott family is of Viola and her children. I also adore how much Camille has let her hair down, figuratively and literally, lol.
Balogh is quite confusing in relating Marcel’s relatives (although the battling relatives cracked me up — You’d think Jane would be a bit more diplomatic!?!), and it sounds like Marcel has a passel of layabouts living off him. That letter to Marcel also sounds quite confusing, with too many chiefs and not enough Indians to run the household. Someone has got to take charge…and neither side sounds like a good option! There are gonna be some shake-ups at Redcliffe.
A much-less enjoyable side bar is Marcel’s treatment of his children with the reason revealed as Balogh’s stretched-out tease unravels. Even when you do find out, Balogh then stretches it out some more! Then, of course, I cried.
There’s a good bit of fun action in a subdued Keystone Kops style, but the story is primarily character-driven, as Viola explores her new identity and rehashes her past. I think it’s Marcel who changes the most as he gains new perspective on the past and his past actions.
And I’m thrilled that after all Viola has suffered, she finally gets to experience a good lover.
So embarrassing… Viola had fallen in love with Marcel twenty years ago. But she had been married then. She thought. Now, she has no idea who she is. Where she fits.
It’s a state of mind that encourages her to run away, to find herself, to find joy…even as she remains responsible enough to send out letters to family to assure them of her health.
…the best laid plans do go astray at times.
Hinsford Manor was/is…
…the Westcott home where Viola Kingsley, the not-countess of Riverdale, and the children lived most of their lives. Viola’s three bastard children include Harry, now a captain in the Rifles and stationed in Portugal. Camille is now married to Joel Cunningham, and they have three children: the adopted Winifred and Sarah and the baby, Jacob (Someone to Hold, 2). Abigail lives with her mother after events in Someone to Hold. Mrs Sullivan is the housekeeper.
The Reverend Michael Kingsley is Viola’s brother who recently married Mary. Their mother, Mrs Kingsley, lives in Bath where the family gathered for the christening.
Alexander Westcott, the new Earl of Riverdale, is the head of the family. He’s married to Wren (Someone to Wed, 3), and they live at Brambledean Court, the country estate. Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, is Wren’s brother who is staying at Wren’s former home, Withington House.
Riddings Park, Kent, is…
…Alex’s previous home before he inherited. His sister and mother still live there: Elizabeth “Libby”, the widowed Lady Overfield, and Althea, their widowed mother.
Anna Snow, er, I mean, Anastasia Westcott, is now married to Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, and they have a daughter, Josephine. Jessica Archer is Avery’s half-sister and best friends with Abigail. Her mother (Avery’s stepmother) is a Westcott, Louise, the now dowager duchess. Matilda Westcott (Humphrey’s sister) is the spinster who lives with (and annoys) Eugenia, her mother, the dowager Countess of Riverdale. Matilda’s sister, Mildred, is married to Thomas (Lady and Lord Molenor). They have three sons whom we finally meet: Boris, Peter, and Ivan.
The lecherous Marcel Lamarr, Marquess of Dorchester, abandoned all his responsibilities when his wife, Adeline, died. André is his younger reckless brother. Annemarie is their sister and quite the gambler. William Cornish is her husband.
Redcliffe Court, Northamptonshire, is…
…the recent marquess’ country estate. Bertrand, Viscount Watley, and Estelle are twins (about to turn eighteen) and Marcel’s children. (Elm Court is where the children were born.) Adeline’s sister is the pious and straitlaced busybody, Jane and Charles Morrow who have raised Bertrand and Estelle along with their own children, Oliver and Ellen.
When Marcel inherited from his uncle, he also inherited the marchioness, his widowed aunt, along with her bullying daughter, Isabelle, Lady Ortt, and her reedy husband, Irwin, and their youngest daughter, Margaret, who is getting married to Sir Jonathan Billings. Quite lavishly, I understand. Mrs Crutchley is the housekeeper; Mrs Jones is the cook.
The cottage in Devonshire was…
…an inheritance from a childless great-aunt. Edna Prewitt is the housekeeper who hires Maisie from the village. You know, Jimmy’s niece’s girl.
A small village
Elijah is a customer of the pub.
The Cover and Title
The cover is dark in its pastels with a stormy blue sky above a large cottage, an overgrown yard with its bright green ferns surrounding Viola in her blue teal gown, the skirts billowing in the breeze, and lilac shawl banded across her waist. We don’t see her face, for she stands looking back, just as she starts in this story. An info blurb is at the top with the author’s name immediately below it in the same teal. A testimonial is in white to the left of Viola’s shoulder and crossing the top of the cottage roof. The title, at the bottom and below Viola’s knees, is in a mix of script plus serif in a yellow to match the stone walls.
The title applies to Viola, Bernard, and Estelle, for each of them needs Someone to Care.