Someone to Love by Mary Balogh
Signet: November 8, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher
I’m a huge fan of Mary Balogh and have loved her Survivors’ Club series. Naturally, once that series ended a new one had to begin. Someone to Love is the first in Balogh’s Wescott series featuring a family that finds itself neck deep in scandal when the head of the family dies and it is discovered that he had a secret wife and child, which makes his second marriage invalid and those children illegitimate. Miss Anna Snow is that illegitimate child, and discovering that she’s an heiress is almost like a dream came true. However, for Anna, what the bigger draw is the discovery that she has family: half-siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and a grandmother. Of course, becoming part of that family is no simple task, especially when that family is shocked at her existence.
Aiding Anna is Avery Archer the debonair Duke of Netherby, who normally wouldn’t trouble himself to get involved. Avery is not really even part of the Westcott family as its his stepmother that is truly related. However, Avery finds himself part of Anna’s transformation process and surprisingly drawn to the plain, composed woman. Their romance is a surprising one, yet Balogh excels at demonstrating how these two characters compliment one another.
While Someone to Love has many of the trademarks that I associate with Balogh, it did strike me as something very different from the Survivors series, and I’m not entirely sure it worked for me. What I loved about Balogh’s Survivors was the deep emotions of the characters and how this translated to and impacted a romantic relationship. Someone to Love seemed to be lacking somewhat in this regard. There was a lot of time spent framing the story and introducing the Westcott family and this makes sense for the start of a new series. However, I wasn’t expecting the romance to feel a lack because of it. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of heartfelt emotion in the character of Anna and I loved her change in characterization throughout the course of the novel. But, I didn’t feel the same kind of emotional impact in the romance between Anna and Avery. I loved that these characters were both so different, but I felt that something was missing in their romance. It was so clearly communicated what these two characters felt about the family situation, that I was surprised to find their emotions towards one another to be so vague. Ultimately, I would have liked to have seen Anna and Avery interact more to really feel that their relationship was on solid ground.
There is a lot to like about Someone to Love. Balogh is a master and matching to seemingly incompatible people. I never would have thought Anna and Avery would work, but there is enough to the relationship to make this seem believable. There’s also a rich character base. Many of the secondary characters are much more fleshed out than one would expect in a romance. Yes, this sets the stage for future romances, but it also makes Someone to Love a romance with more to it than just romance. I love the meat to Balogh stories, and that’s delivered here. My only disappointment is that the actual romance could have had more depth to it.
While Someone to Love is lighter in tone than the Survivors Club, it is a nice departure from a series that dealt with heavy topics of war, grief, and post-traumatic stress. Fans of Balogh will of course want to dive in a new series, and I can’t wait to learn more about the complicated Westcott family.