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 Trust by Mary Balogh
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Berkley on November 27, 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 Care
Fifth in the Westcott historical romance series and revolving around the extended Westcott family. The couple focus is on Elizabeth, Lady Overfield, and Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges. We start on Christmas Eve, that same Christmas Eve from Someone to Care, 4.
I adored this start, especially when such a quote is to hand:
“…ideals were not often attained and were not sustainable for long even when they were. Life could never be unalloyed happiness, even for a close-knit family such as this one. But sometimes there were moments…”
And doesn’t that sound like the truth of life!?
It’s a time of reflection for Colin, as he realizes how different his family is from the Westcotts, and how much he wants what they have. He also realizes what he must do to change this. Nor is Elizabeth left out of the need to change her own perspectives. Lady Jessica has her own appreciation when it comes to her best friend, Abby.
It’s difficult for Colin, and I know too many of us have difficult families. It’s a situation from which Colin has been running and hiding all of his adult life. Elizabeth, too, has her desire for family. Her very own.
Colin truly does have a horrid mother, egods. She has a fixation on herself and her beauty and does EVERYTHING she can to “ensure” she still looks youthfully gorgeous. ICK. She’s also a control freak who has to have an admiring court around her, and she’ll do ANYthing she can to ensure it.
No one escapes [the human condition], even those who may appear to others to live charmed lives. But we all have the choice of whether to be defined by the negatives in our lives or to make of our present and future and our very selves what we want them to be.”
I do adore Avery. He’s such an overwhelming character, and I love how Balogh describes him: “…a man too lazy to step out of his own shadow. But he had a presence more magnetic…” And he’s quite the supportive rogue who doesn’t hesitate to help.
It’s an odd courtship, since it isn’t one. Instead, it’s a yearning on both sides with each fearful of the other’s take. Thankfully, Balogh uses a third person dual protagonist point-of-view, so we “enjoy” Elizabeth’s and Colin’s perspectives, their thoughts, emotions, experiences, and dreams. Yes, “enjoy” is the word, as both are so fraught with hopes and wishes that seem so hopeless.
The double standards are appalling. Worse, they still exist today. Oh, not as badly as in Elizabeth and Colin’s day, but it’s still there. As for the gossipy *#(@%… I wouldn’t want to know them!
Yes, there’s action. It’s rather difficult to have a story without it. But it’s action that is a result of the characters, and Balogh does have a range of them from good to wicked. There are bits that are clichéd — notably, Elizabeth’s and Colin’s reluctance to ‘fess up, and yet I can’t help but love this story (the whole series, really) for how supportive the extended Westcott family is of each other. Scandal is not of any import. It’s the people who are.
Even better “action” is the route Colin and Elizabeth choose to take to deal with his mother. And it reflects my own philosophy of giving the other person the option of saying no.
What is with Blanche? Who said she had to stay? And, I have to say, it goes back to perspectives. Each child (and adult) in a family has their own perspective on what occurs/-ed in their family’s past, and it doesn’t always agree with the others.
Whoa, we also get some back history that sheds [possible] light on some of those decisions made in the Handrich family.
Do as Elizabeth states, “by living a happy present whenever we possibly can”. And snicker at what Robbie says at the end…hee-hee…
It’s this Christmas at Brambledean Court that decides Elizabeth. She wants a family before it’s too late for her. Perhaps Sir Geoffrey will still be interested…
It’s with this newfound decision that Lady Overfield starts the London Season, meeting old friends, dancing that first promised waltz at every ball with Colin, a man whose company she enjoys, but also a much younger man whom she could never marry. She’s also getting betrothed…
The gorgeous Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, is Wren’s brother and a baron; he’s staying at Withington House, Wren’s second childhood home a few miles down the road from Brambledean. Roxingley Park is Colin’s country estate, although his incredibly selfish, self-absorbed mother, Lady Hodges, dominates it as well as his London house. Justin, Colin’s late brother, had been the baron. Colin and Wren’s other siblings include Blanche and Ruby. Lady Blanche and Sir Nelson Elwood live with Mom, dancing attendance upon her. Ruby is married to Sean, and they have four children in Ireland. Lord Ede is their mother’s faithful companion and henchman.
The beautiful (on the inside) Elizabeth, Lady Overfield, is a widow and Alexander’s older sister. Mrs Westcott is their mother, and the two women live at Riddings Park, Alex and Elizabeth’s childhood home in Kent. Desmond Overfield is Elizabeth’s unlamented husband. Aunt Lilian and Uncle Richard Radley are from the maternal side of the family. Sidney is Lilian and Richard’s son, and Susan and Alvin Cole are their daughter and son-in-law.
Brambledean Court, Wiltshire, is…
…Alexander Westcott‘s (the present Earl of Riverdale) country estate. Wren, a.k.a., Rowena, “Roe”, is Alexander’s wife of six months and, of course, Colin’s beloved sister (Someone to Wed, 3). Nathan Daniel Westcott will be Wren and Alex’s newborn son.
Eugenia Westcott is the Dowager Countess of Riverdale. Lady Matilda is Eugenia’s unmarried daughter who fusses. And wasn’t I surprised by her!! Mildred is another daughter who is married to Thomas, Lord Molenor. They have three schoolboy sons: Boris, Peter, and Ivan.
Mrs Kinglsey of Bath is Viola and Michael’s mother. Viola is the former Countess of Riverdale until she learned the truth of her marriage! Now Viola is married to Marcel Lamarr, Marquess of Dorchester (Someone to Care). The Reverend Michael Kingsley is also newly wed to Mary.
Viola’s children include the pregnant-again Camille, who is married to Joel Cunningham (Someone to Hold, 2), an artist, and together they have four children (so far): the adopted ten-year-old Winifred (Someone to Hold), four-year-old Robbie, and one-year-old Sarah, and their own three-month-old Jacob. Captain Harry Westcott has been sent home from Portugal on business. Abigail is yet unmarried. Marcel’s children include Lady Estelle and her twin, Bertrand.
Avery and Anna Archer are the Duke and Duchess of Netherby (Someone to Love, 1). (Anna had been the only legitimate daughter of the Earl of Riverdale!) Lady Josephine is their new daughter. Louise, the Dowager Duchess of Netherby, is the previous duke’s second wife and Lady Jessica‘s mother as well as Eugenia Westcott’s sister. Edwin Goddard is Avery’s very efficient secretary.
The staid and settled Sir Geoffrey Codaire has been pining for Elizabeth for years. Mr Franck.
Sir Randolph and Lady Dunmore have a house on Grosvenor Square. The delectable Lydia Dunmore is the second of their five daughters. Viscount Fettering is a cousin. Michael and Mrs Ormsbridge are planning a ball, and Michael is a close friend of Colin’s. Ross Parmiter and John Croft are two more of Colin’s closest friends. Baker. The Misses Cowley; Madson; and, Eglington, who is Ross’ sister’s future sister-in-law, are some of the ladies angling their caps at Colin.
Aunt Megan had taken Roe from her unwanting parents. Reginald Heyden had married Megan, and together they raised Roe as their own. Araminta Scott is a close friend of Elizabeth’s whose father has just died. The Latchwicks are neighbors from Kent.
The Cover and Title
The cover is cozy in its wintry setting, the white family chapel set amongst the snow bedecked pines in the distance, and Elizabeth in her white skirt, blue top, and red cloak blowing in the wind, her blue and red bonnet atop the head that’s facing toward the church, a sprig of mistletoe in her hand. There’s a deep red info blurb at the top with the color repeated in the author’s name just below it. A testimonial in icy blue is below that and above the forest with the same color used in the series information below the chapel. The title is at the bottom in gold.
The title is what Elizabeth dreams of, Someone to Trust.