Book Review: Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

May 20, 2019 Book Reviews 0

Book Review: Someone to Love 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 Love by Mary Balogh
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Signet on November 8, 2016
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 Hold, Someone to Wed, Someone to Care

First in the Westcott historical romance series and revolving around the Westcott extended family in Regency England. The couple focus is on the orphaned Anna Snow and the Duke of Netherby.

My Take

Someone to Love is the start of a fascinating series about family and loyalty. It’s a too-sweet rags-to-riches story with some nasty conflicts as well as some quite modern women…not your typical Regency romance…who point out the inequities women suffer in this time period.

Anna is such an amazing, kind, and truthful character whose approach to teaching is one that actually gets through to the kids. She’s so open to loving and is determined that she is as good as anyone…an attitude she conveys to her students. And Anna is so undeserving of all the scorn the Westcott family heaps on her. She’s right to feel hard done by for the life she’s had to lead so far. Now if only this “Eliza Doolittle” would accept being made over…

Avery is also a fascinating character with his surface versus his inner personality. Then you read the dainty Avery’s back story!! Whew…that outlandish training he gets sure does come in handy, lol. He also makes an excellent point about attitude…one that everyone should take to heart.

And, this romance leading to a quickie marriage…? It is a fairy tale and not believable. Sure, Balogh writes of Avery’s thoughts and his fascination with Anna, but that sudden proposal simply doesn’t work for me. It does, however, fit in with Balogh’s writing and, okay, yeah, it is part of what makes me love this story.

That and all this family support. They don’t care that the “original” Westcotts are now taboo, they are family. No matter what. Meanwhile the “former” Westcotts are struggling with their identities, and Camille takes a drastic step to understand the hated Anna.

How do we know all this? Through that third person global subjective point-of-view in which we can peek in on anyone and hear what they’re saying.

I LOVE Anna’s response to Miss Nunce’s declaration about dreams being so wrong:

“They can give us many hours of pleasure, and they can help inspire us and point us in the direction we need to go in life.”

It’s both plot- and character-driven, adhering to the time period’s mores and yet not, with a slowish pace. Well, not slow so much as it does take its time and tends to repeat the same points.

Some of the other characters who stood out include the poor Eugenia who has to suffer Matilda’s ill-timed and unwanted attentions, lol. That Jessica is a major pain, behaving so childishly that I certainly wouldn’t trust her to make a come out. As for poor Harry. he’s doing what he can to make the best of it…good thing Avery comes to his rescue, lol. And then Alex with his protestations about his “good luck”. All his plans for his future tossed aside.

Balogh did annoy me with several mentions of people being upset about Uxbury’s attitude, so why aren’t they coming forth, standing up for Camille?

The Story

Thoughts about this interloper pass through the duke’s mind that’s she’s tedious, perhaps. But the very prim, very calm, cheaply dressed Miss Anna Snow who is suddenly revealed as the only legitimate heir to all of the dead earl’s unentailed property should prove to be quite interesting.

Not, however, to Alexander Westcott’s mind, for he is the new earl with no money to rescue the family seat or its people.

The Characters

Twenty-five-year-old Anna Snow, a.k.a., Lady Anastasia Westcott, is an orphan who has stayed on at the orphanage as a much-loved teacher. Turns out her mother, Miss Alice Snow, married a Humphrey Westcott twenty-six years ago. Alice’s parents are the Reverend Isaiah Snow and his wife, Alma, who live a few miles from Bristol in a country vicarage.

An orphanage in Bath is…
…where Anna was placed at age four. Miss Ford is in charge. Miss Rutledge is the teacher Anna replaced. Joel Cunningham is another orphan and Anna’s best friend. While he’s becoming known as a compassionate portrait painter and teaches art at the orphanage twice a week, he would also like to write. Nurse Jones handles ills and injuries. Roger is the elderly porter. The nasty and idiotic Miss Nunce will take Anna’s place. The orphans include John Davies, Ellen Payne, Cyrus North, Bertha Reed who is Miss Ford’s helper, Tommy is bleeding, Maddie, the pious Winifred Hamlin, and Olga Norton.

Oliver is Bertha’s sweetheart, currently in London serving an apprenticeship as a bootmaker. John Beresford is a lawyer in Bath.

Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, puts on quite the act and hates being bored…and being named Harry’s guardian looks to be quite the tedious task. Lady Jessica Archer is Avery’s half-sister and great friends with her cousin Abigail. Louise, the current duchess, is his stepmother and sister to the late Humphrey. Edwin Goddard is Avery’s excellent secretary. Archer House is Avery’s London home. Hawkins is the coachman.

Westcott House is…
…the family home in London. Seventeen-year-old Harry Westcott has just become the earl. His sisters include the uptight Lady Camille and the sweet Lady Abigail. His mother is Viola née Kingsley Westcott, Countess of Riverdale; Eugenia is the dowager countess and Humphrey’s mother. Lady Matilda (a spinster living with her mother) and Lady Mildred are Eugenia’s daughters and Humphrey’s sisters. Lady Mildred is married to Thomas, Baron Molenor, and they have three sons away at school. Harry’s father, Humphrey Westcott, the late Earl of Riverdale, was a selfish jerk.

Sir Hedley Thompson is Eugenia’s cousin; his son is Rodney.

Lifford is the London butler and Mrs Eddy is the housekeeper; Anna augments the staff with fellow orphans. Josiah Brumford is the Westcott family solicitor. Miss Knox is the woman engaged to be Anna’s companion to London.

Miss Viola Kingsley has a brother, Michael, who is a clergyman. Their mother, Mrs Kingsley, lives in Bath.

Riddings Park has…
…finally been restored by Alex after Papa ran it into the ground. Alex Westcott is one of Harry’s second cousins and heir to the earldom, if Harry doesn’t produce one of his own. Elizabeth “Lizzie”, Lady Overfield, is Alex’s widowed sister. Althea is Alex and Lizzie’s mother. Their father was Humphrey’s first cousin. Sir Desmond Overfield had been Lizzie’s charming and abusive husband.

Viscount Uxbury is Lady Camille’s fiancé. Jasper Walling will be Uxbury’s second.

The Honorable Miss Edwards is Avery’s current focus. Monsieur Henri is the hairdresser. Mr Abelard is a friend and neighbor of Alexander’s. Colonel Morgan had been a friend of Avery’s father. Lord Egglington, Sir Darnell Washburn who still counts his steps, Sir Geoffrey Codaire had once proposed to Lizzie, Mr Johns, Mr Fleming, and Lady Hanna are some of the ton whom Anna meets.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a soft setting of a dark-haired Anna in a mint green empire gown with a locket around her neck, walking toward us, her face angled down at the red roses curving up around the bottom and up the sides. There’s part of a cottage in the back right with a wide graveled area before it. Behind the cottage, a soft green forest rises up to a deep blue cloudy sky. An info blurb is at the top with the author’s name below it in mint green with a testimonial below that in burgundy and to the right of Anna’s bicep. The title is a combination script + serif font in rose red to the right of Anna’s knees.

The title is what Anna is so desperate for, Someone to Love.

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