Book Review: Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh

May 22, 2019 Book Reviews 2

Book Review: Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh

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 Hold by Mary Balogh
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Jove on February 7, 2017
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
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 Wed, Someone to Care

Second in the Westcott historical romance series and revolving around the the extended Westcott family in Regency England. The couple focus is on (the former Lady) Camille Westcott Kingsley and Joel Cunningham.

My Take

A sweet story of growth that ignores the mores of the time period with a young woman trying to find herself after having her entire life torn from her, all told in third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Camille’s and Joel’s perspectives.

While Anna appears comfortable in her role as duchess, it’s Camille who learns to accept herself and others while Joel is finally introduced to his birth family…and yet another Cinderella story! I do have to appreciate Joel’s stance with his great-uncle!

I also appreciate that Camille is determined to earn her own money and “give her some self-respect …[and] some sense of being in charge of her own life”. A much better attitude than one of my own siblings!

What’s with that Nunce woman? She shouldn’t be a teacher. Can you believe she is actually against reading!!

I love, love, love Balogh’s description of how Joel approaches painting his portraits. And I so envy his ability to bring his sitter(s) to life!! It’s that ability that allows Balogh to force Camille into yet more of Joel’s presence, poor girl.

Joel is just as fabulous a teacher! I so wish our teachers today would be half as good as he is! Sure, he accepts the artistic “vision” each student has as “correct”, which I suppose could be equated as our current stupidity in praising every student no matter how well or badly they’ve done, but art is a subjective study. One in which there should be no negative judgments (ooh, is that a double negative??) as to how a CHILD interprets the assignment. A story told me by one of my adult art students still makes me so angry that an elementary school teacher would tell her that “no, skies are not orange and grass is not blue”. Had the woman never seen a sunset or heard her parents talk about their Kentucky blue grass lawn?!?!?!? ARGHHH!

So, Kathy, tell me how you really feel, lol.

One of the annoying bits was Balogh’s use of the he doesn’t love me and he’ll move on to another meme. Oh, boy.

“We have a habit, do we not, of thinking happiness is a future state if only this and that condition can be met? And so much of life passes us by without our realizing how happy we can be in this present moment…”

LOL, Avery continues to make me laugh with his “bored” manner.

While I very much enjoyed Joel (and I absolutely adore the extended Westcott family for their love and supportiveness), Camille was rather annoying, and the whole story was just too “happy, happy”. Yeah, “happy” in spite of Camille’s issues… I suspect it was Camille’s angst that slowed the pace and seemed to drag the story on.

The Story

At a loss, Camille Kingsley is searching, trying to find her new identity after the revelations at the reading of her father’s will. Part of that search involves taking Anna’s place as a teacher at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived.

It’s also where Camille must suffer the art teacher. The artist who has also been hired by her grandmother to paint her and Abigail’s portraits. An artist who insists on getting to know his subjects.

It’s a forced series of encounters in which their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead…

The Characters

The former Lady Camille Westcott is now Camille Kingsley searching for her self in Anna’s former position as a teacher at the orphanage. Sounds like she’s doing a fine job of it, too! Abigail is her younger sister and both are living with their maternal grandmother, Mrs Kingsley, in the Royal Crescent in Bath. Their mother, Miss Viola Kingsley, the former Countess of Riverdale, has abandoned them to live with her brother, the Reverend Michael Kingsley. Harry Kingsley, brother and son, is no longer the earl and has joined the 95th Foot Regiment to fight against Napoleon.

Humphrey Kingsley, the now-deceased Earl of Riverdale, is only missed because his family can’t berate him. Eugenia is Humphrey’s mother and the dowager countess. Lady Matilda is Eugenia’s daughter and a spinster living with [and annoying] her mother. Lady Mildred is Eugenia’s other daughter married to Thomas, Baron Molenor, and they have three sons away at school.

Elizabeth “Lizzie”, Lady Overfield, is the new Earl of Riverdale’s widowed sister and a lovely woman. Alexander Westcott is her brother who is very unhappy about inheriting the earldom. Althea is Alex and Lizzie’s mother.

The orphanage on Northumberland Place in Bath…
…where Anna used to live and teach, finds Miss Ford in charge. Miss Nunce was hired to replace Anna…it isn’t working… Roger is the porter. Hannah and Ursula Trask are some of the housemothers. Miss Rutledge is the teacher who left and whose position was filled by Anna.

The students include Mary Perkins, Jimmy Dale, Jane Evans, Cyrus North, Tommy, Olga Norton, Sarah Smith is but a baby, Caroline Williams, and the pious Winifred Hamlin.

The twenty-seven-year-old Joel Cunningham is an orphan and Anna’s best friend with a passion for art. He has quite the reputation in Bath as a sensitive portrait artist! He still teaches two art classes a week at the orphanage. He’s also still madly in love with Anna.

Adrian Cox-Phillips is a retired gentleman. Orville is his valet. Nibbs is his butler. Henry Cunningham had married Cox-Phillips’ sister, Mary. Mary and Henry’s daughter, Dorinda, died in childbed. Turns out that jerk, Viscount Uxbury, who immediately dumped Camille and has been badmouthing her ever since — lucky escape for Camille there! — is Cox-Phillips’ cousin. Other relatives include Martin Cox-Phillips and Blake Norton.

Anna Snow (who became Lady Anastasia Westcott) is married to Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby. Yep, a Cinderella story! Lady Jessica Archer is Avery’s half-sister and great friends with her cousin Abigail…and that is why Jess hates Anna. Louise, the current [dowager] duchess, is Avery’s stepmother, Jess’ mother, and sister to the late Humphrey. Two orphans have been hired by Anna: Bertha Reed is her maid and John Davies is a footman.

Marvin Silver is a bank clerk and one of Joel’s neighbors. Edwina Tull is a comfortable widow, a friend with benefits. Lowell Crabtree is a lawyer with Henley, Parsons, and Crabtree. Some of Joel’s clients include Mrs Elaine Dance and Mrs Wasserman.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a beautiful scene with Camille standing in profile on the right edge of the cover, pure in white and holding a furled white parasol, as she looks out over a collage of peaceful water with buildings and an arched bridge in the background and swans in the forefront. An info blurb is at the top in purple with the author’s name much larger just below it, also in purple. The title spans the river in a soft gold at the level of Camille’s hip and thigh. The series information is just below the title.

The title is a toss-up between Camille and Joel, who both want Someone to Hold.

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