Tuesday, May 1, 2018

ARC Review: Someone to Care by Mary Balogh

Series:     Westcotts #4
Pub. Date:May 1, 2018
Publisher:Berkley
Length:384 pgs
Source:NetGalley


Someone to Care is the 4th book in the Westcott series, revolving around a family who got the shock of their lives to discover that their father/husband was a bigamist, thereby illegitimizing his (second) marriage and his children of the second wife. This was quite the scandal back in the day, causing the ton to scorn the family. So we follow the Westcotts as the navigate this new dimension of their lives, learning to manage the fall-out and find a way to move on.

But can we pause for just a moment to admire the beautiful covers of this series? I just want to jump in them and look around for a while - especially these last two.

So our heroine in this series was quite unique for a historical heroine - she was 42 years old! Viola Kingsley was the fraudulent bride of the scoundrel Westcott, and mother to the now illegitimate Westcott children. Viola has been a silent pillar of strength in previous books, and in her own story we see just how much she has internalized her pain throughout the ordeal. But Viola has finally cracked and run away from her family, and is being selfish for (it seems) the first time in her life. I really sympathized with her situation and was glad that she was being selfish. I liked her as a heroine and I was so happy to have someone a little older than our standard marriage-minded miss.

The hero was somewhat unexpected as well, Marcel Lamarr, the Marquess of of Devonshire, is a few years younger than our heroine. Since the death of his wife many years ago, Marcel has been a rake and womanizer, making his way through all the single women of the ton, and flirting outrageously. Viola seems to be the only woman to have ever turned him away, and it left a lasting impact.  While Marcel was a rake on the surface, he had hidden depths that no one seemed to notice. Deeply wounded by his wife's death and riddled with guilt, his behavior has been a mask for the pain and shame he feels. I also liked Marcel as a hero, but I tend to have a soft spot for reformed rakes.

The relationship between these two was not a slow burn, but it did feel like it was dragged out quite far (despite the early intimacy). I thought their characters completed one another quite well, and I really liked the carefree version of Viola that we saw in the village and at the cottage. There was a lot of miscommunication between the two that created relationship obstacles and prolonged the story - and that wasn't my favorite. I would have liked to have the relationship solidified for a portion of the book and then spend some time with them as a married couple. Luckily, we will most likely be revisiting them in the remaining books of the series.

I continue to adore the Westcott family and I have a feeling that Harry's book is going to be outstanding. While this particular story was not my favorite, the series as a whole has been spectacular. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley.


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