Series: Westcott series

Guest Review: Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh

Posted February 6, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Someone to Hold by Mary BaloghReviewer: Tracy
Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott Series #2

Publication Date: February 7th 2017
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune and a scandalous secret that will forever alter the lives of his family—sending one daughter on a journey of self-discovery...

With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve.

An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead...

Camille Westcott was once Lady Camille Westcott but now that her father has died and it’s been discovered that his marriage was bigamous, Camille is just Miss Camille Westcott.  Everything that she has striven for her entire life is now…gone.  She’s at loose ends to say the least and after leaving London and hiding in her maternal grandmother’s house for a while she finally decides that she needs to do something.  She decides to take a teaching position at the orphanage where her half-sister, Anna, grew up and taught as well.  She also takes Anna’s old room at the orphanage even though her grandmother lives not that far away.  She needs to do this on her own – be independent and learn how to live without all the comforts. Yes, it’s about changing from who she was but it’s also a bit of a punishment – at least that’s the way she thinks of it.

Joel Cunningham is a portrait artist that volunteers at the orphanage where he grew up.  He comes in and teaches art a couple of times a week.  When he sees that Camille is to be the new teacher he’s not happy at all.  Anna was his best friend and he even offered her marriage at one point and to see the sister that spurned Anna now taking her place makes him mad.  She’s all tied up and military efficient and after just having a teacher that wouldn’t let the kids be kids he thinks she’ll fail as a teacher.  Except when he first comes in he sees the kids engaged and happy and Joel starts to see Camille in a different light.  He is also commissioned by Camille’s grandmother to paint portraits of both Camille and her sister Abby so he is constantly observing Camille to find out who she truly is.  He finds that she’s so many different people all rolled into one and even she’s not sure who she is.

Joel and Camille start a friendship that soon turns to more but neither one of them is sure where it’s going, if anywhere.  When Camille’s large family descends upon Bath she gets an earful from a couple of different family members that give her a lot to think about.  Likewise, Joel, who grew up an orphan finds out who his family is which ends up changing his life forever.  The lives of both Camille and Joel are in such flux that neither one is sure where they’re going but they each know who they want with them as they go.

This was a wonderful romance that I very much enjoyed reading.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Camille’s in the last book as she was, let’s face it, a total bitch to Anna.  I can understand why that was but it didn’t endear me to her at all.  Despite that I knew that Balogh would show us another side of Camille and make me like her so I was excited to read her book.  I’m so glad I did.  It was an unusual romance but it was oh, so satisfying.

To say that Camille had no idea who she was after the big reveal of her illegitimacy would be putting it mildly.  She was at such loose ends but was determined to be independent.  She had turned down her half-sister’s offer of a quarter of her fortune but her grandmother had given her a large allowance.  Camille wanted none of it because she didn’t feel she deserved it.  She had tried her whole life to be perfect.  The perfect daughter, the perfect lady, the perfect everything.  Part of this was because of her father.  She wanted his love and figured if she did no wrong he would love her and forgive her for not being a boy (she was the oldest).  That didn’t end up happening and it certainly didn’t help her when her fiancé found out she was illegitimate.  He dumped her as well.  She needed to find out if she could be imperfect and still lead a good life.  With Joel she found a friend and confidante but it was still hard for her to let herself go and just…be.  He was also confusing in his affections so that turned her round and round.  I loved reading Camille’s transformation.  The realizations she came to and decisions she made about herself and her life were sometimes harsh but that made the end result so much more satisfying.  I ended up really liking her and who she had become by the end of the book.

Joel thought he knew exactly who he was – until the information about his family came to him.  He was then at loose ends himself because he thought he never cared to know about them but when he did he found he wanted more and more.  Unfortunately he didn’t have the opportunity to learn more after a while and that depressed him.  He found that he loved being with Camille despite his first impressions of her but he didn’t know how to handle his feelings towards her and made a mess of things.  Luckily he recovered in the end and got his HEA with Camille.  He took a little long, yes, but I thought he made up for it in the end.  He was in a state of flux too so I could cut him some slack.

The book told a lovely story about Joel and Camille finding themselves.  I loved the way Balogh brought them together and had them figuring it all out while falling in love.  It was an emotional book that I found to be sweet, tender, touching, funny and romantic – all the things I love. I can’t wait to see what Balogh brings us next in the Westcott series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

Posted November 23, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Someone to Love by Mary BaloghReviewer: Tracy
Someone to Love by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott Series #1
Published by Signet
Publication Date: November 8th 2016
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Humphrey Westcott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune that will forever alter the lives of everyone in his family—including the daughter no one knew he had...

Anna Snow grew up in an orphanage in Bath knowing nothing of the family she came from. Now she discovers that the late Earl of Riverdale was her father and that she has inherited his fortune. She is also overjoyed to learn she has siblings. However, they want nothing to do with her or her attempts to share her new wealth. But the new earl’s guardian is interested in Anna…

Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, keeps others at a distance. Yet something prompts him to aid Anna in her transition from orphan to lady. As London society and her newfound relatives threaten to overwhelm Anna, Avery steps in to rescue her and finds himself vulnerable to feelings and desires he has hidden so well and for so long.

Anna grew up in an orphanage in Bath and then eventually became a teacher in their schoolroom.  She didn’t have a bad life but she did always dream of having a family of her own.  When she gets a letter in the mail from a solicitor in London she’s confused as to why he wants her there.  She goes and gets the shock of her life.  She’s the legitimate daughter of an Earl!  She’s got half-sisters and a half-brother as well as many other relatives including a grandmother!  She is overwhelmed but feels that she needs to give this part of her life a chance.  She is kind and considerate and lets her female relatives guide her as they will.

While this is happening she finds herself intrigued with the Duke of Netherby.  He is standoffish and extravagant and she’s not sure what to make of him – except that he’s really never anything but nice to her (well except the first time he saw her and thought she was a servant).  For his part Avery, the duke, finds himself also intrigued with this orphan who has the dignity of a lady of the ton and is so very kind and nothing like other women he’s met.  He finds himself asking her out for walks and doing things for her that help her in the background of her life.  When she’s told she’ll probably marry by the end of the season, Avery steps up and asks but neither of them can figure out why.

This was a sweet story of Anna, a kind orphan who becomes all the rage in London.  She’s plain spoken and ordinary. She has scruples and a conscience and that’s something new and different in the ton. Avery is a bit bewitched by her but he can’t seem to keep himself away.  I liked that he couldn’t but it was a bit odd how Balogh went about getting the pair together. Yes, they had regard for each other but I didn’t see the love happening between them until later and even then it was…tepid.  IDK, Balogh usually bowls me over with her emotional love stories and this just didn’t.

It wasn’t a bad story at all and Avery’s sarcasm had me laughing a time or two, that’s for sure.   I liked a lot about this book and would recommend it but be warned that there is a bit of a disconnect in the romance, at least imho.  Despite my few reservations about this book I am curious to see what happens in the next book with Anna’s half-sister, Camille who was jilted in this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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