Someone to Love by Mary Balogh (Westcott #1)
Released: November 8, 2016
Reviewed by Mandi
Mary Balogh was one of the first romance authors I read, so she holds a special place in my heart. I even had that awkward, “omg I love you so much” conversation with her in an elevator once. The poor lady was trapped and couldn’t escape me. I eventually let her out.
My most favorite hero of hers is Wulfric – be still my heart. I didn’t love her previous Survivor’s Club series, so I skipped many of those. But Someone to Love worked well for me.
Anna Snow grew up in a orphange in Bath since the age of four, and has found peace in her life. At the age of twenty-five, she is a teacher at the orphanage and someone has been anonymously supporting her all these years. Her world gets turned upside down when she receives a letter and a summons to London. She learns not only that her father is dead, but he had three other children with another wife. And then she learns even more. To make a long story short, she learns her father’s second marriage is bigamous, which means her half-brother and sisters are illegitimate, all of this coming out post-death. She goes from penniless orphan, to inheriting her late father’s fortune.
Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby is short!! Yes, you read that right. He is short, and dandy-ish, wears flamboyant clothes and can cut anyone down with a glare through his quizzing glasses. I was sold right from the start. Avery has perfected that bored look. He couldn’t care less what people think of him. He has mastered hiding his emotions and when complete chaos erupts at his stepmother’s house when they learn Anna is the true heir, and her siblings are now ruined, he takes it all in with slight amusement. His focus is on Anna, the stranger in the room who is getting murderous glares from her new-found family, but is taking it all in stride. Anna herself can hide her emotions too.
Throughtout her life Anna had cultivated one quality of character above all others, and that was dignity. She always tried to instill the importance of it in her fellow orphans too whenever they were under her care.
As an orphan one had so very little. Almost nothing at all, in fac, except life itself. Often one did not even have identity. One might know the name by which one had been christened – if one had been christened – or one might not. For everything else except life itself one was dependent upon the charity of others.
She goes through this book with much dignity. Once the chaos calms down, her family decides she needs a hair cut, new clothes, jewels and to be presented to society. Anna doesn’t want to lose herself, and while she understands the eyes of the ton, she also stands up for herself and tries to keep true to herself. Avery falls in love with this plain woman. He falls for her quiet, yet intense spirit. He would never admit it out loud, but he falls hard and eventually lets the world know.
There are many characters in this book – I was confused about who and how everyone was related for at least the first half of the book, but they do settle down and all get their place. There is an odder reference to a “Chinese Gentleman” that taught Avery some form of martial art when he was younger – which you learn plays an important part of keeping himself calm in life. It is kind of just thrown in there and not presented as well as it could be. It felt very much like a stereotype that was not thought through.
Anna keeps the coolest heads of all coolest heads in this book. I half expected her to shove Avery’s quizzing glasses up his tight breeches at some point, but she is a better person than I.
When I hear Balogh, or any historical author, is going to write a foppish, short hero, I’m in 100%. She did well with him and his slow burning intensity with Anna unfolds lovely. Can’t wait for the next one.