Wednesday, November 8, 2017

ARC Review: Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

Series:     Westcott #3
Pub. Date:Nov. 6, 2017
Publisher:Berkley
Length:384 pages
Source:NetGalley

I have been so pleasantly surprised by this series. I don't know why I've been surprised, Mary Balogh is an excellent writer. But I feel like each book has caught me off guard with how much I enjoyed it. I think this one caught me off guard with a sort of reverse Beauty and the Beast theme, with a beautiful hero and a tortured heroine. It was quite refreshing.

I urge you to read the earlier books so you have the complete back story, but if you have not, there are enough tidbits in this story to give you the gist of what has happened in the past. 

So our heroine is Alexander Westcott, the new Earl of Riverdale. Alexander earned his title when the fraudulent marriage of the late earl was revealed, and his children were dispossessed of their legitimacy. It wasn't something Alexander wanted, but now he feels an obligation to the neglected tenants and estate that suffered under the hands of the prior earl. Alexander's sense of duty conflicted with his wish for an affectionate marriage, given that he was afraid he would have to marry solely for money to save the estate. But Alex wasn't quite prepared for our heroine's proposal and treating his marriage as a strict business arrangement. I admired Alex's determination to go through a period of courtship and understand the heroine's pain and past. And I liked his quiet strength, he maintained composure and calm in the face of most everything, but people certainly learned that they should not mess with his family.

"I was itching for a fight, but all they could do was dangle."

The heroine of this installment is a newly introduced character, Miss Wren Hayden, business woman and recluse. Wren is a tortured heroine who has been isolated most of her life due to a birthmark covering half of her face. Despite her seclusion, Wren is an intelligent and successful business woman who was straightforward and blunt. I loved this about Wren, and my heart hurt for the pain she held inside. I enjoyed watching Wren challenge herself to come out of her shell, and I thought her encounters with the closeknit Westcott were endearing. 

There was not much plot conflict with this story, but I felt like it did not need a huge drama. It was a feel good story in that we see a broken woman learn to live and love and accept herself. Wren's journey was inspiring and uplifting, and I got pulled into a great emotional connection with her character. I liked how the story and relationship were paced and continue to enjoy all the family connections and relationships. 

I didn't quite like how Wren was referred to as "more of a person than a woman" because she intelligent and straightforward, intimating that one could not possess these qualities and still be feminine.  But, it was in keeping with the times and it made sense with the story, so I didn't feel that it detracted from my enjoyment.

I recommend this series to all fans of Mary Balogh and historical romance in general. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley.

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Westcott Series