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Someone To Love (The Westcott Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
“With the first in her new Westcott series, Balogh proves once again why she is the heir apparent to Georgette Heyer’s literary crown by gifting readers with another irresistible confection composed of exquisitely nuanced characters, an impeccably crafted setting, and an abundance of dry wit.”—Booklist (starred review)
Praise for New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh
“Mary Balogh sets the gold standard in historical romance.”—New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz
“Today’s superstar heir to the marvelous legacy of Georgette Heyer (except a lot steamier).”—New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips
“A romance writer of mesmerizing intensity.”—New York Times bestselling author Mary Jo Putney
“A superb author whose narrative voice comments on the characters and events of her novel in an ironic tone reminiscent of Jane Austen.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel --This text refers to the mass_market edition.
- ASIN : B01BK0SQ36
- Publisher : Berkley (November 8, 2016)
- Publication date : November 8, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 1534 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 396 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #39,846 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Mary Balogh is the queen of regency romance. Her Bedwyn series, in my opinion, is the standard for modern day historical romance. Balogh manages to write romances without evil villains, a bunch of misunderstandings, or unbelievable circumstances. She just writes beautiful loves stories.
Balogh’s new Westcott series is going to be fabulous. The premise is intriguing and original. The late Earl of Riverdale has died and his solicitor has unearthed a secret marriage and a single legitimate daughter, Anna. Anna has grown up in an orphanage where she later became a teacher. At first Anna is thrilled to learn that she has a family, but when confronted with the Earl’s now illegitimate children and wife, Anna quickly realizes that she is once again, alone.
Avery, the Duke of Netherby, is the appointed guardian of the new Earl of Riverdale and decides he should also be responsible for helping Anna assimilate into the London ton. Avery is composed, detached, and a little aloof. Avery admires Anna’s strength and fortitude against her new “family” and Anna comes to see him as her savior in a turbulent new world.
There has been some disagreement and healthy discussion over a scene in Someone to Love involving a “Chinese gentleman” without a name. Before continuing with my review I wanted to just say that while I understand other readers’ reactions, I personally found nothing wrong with the scene. It shouldn’t matter but I guess it does, my family is bi-racial Asian/Caucasian, although not Chinese, and I found nothing offensive. I ran it by my sister as well and she agreed with my thoughts, you may feel differently.
Someone to Love is beautifully written and the love story between Avery and Anna is slow and sweet and everything that you would expect from a Mary Balogh romance. I highly recommend that you pick it up because I have high hopes for the series.
The reason that this isn’t an A+ review is two fold. First, there is a lot of set up. It is the first book in the Westcott series and set up is necessary, but the story drags at parts and the romance often seems to take a back seat to the various character introductions. Everything involving Avery and Anna is lovely but we don’t get quite enough of them.
Secondly, Anna spends a lot of the book (which is already too much set up and not enough romance) writing letters back to her friend, Joel. These letters, for the most part, don’t give the reader any new information, they just rehash everything that has already happened. They felt a little like filler to me and I mostly skimmed them.
Overall Someone to Love is a nice read. look forward to the upcoming books in the series.
On the other hand, the heroine Anna Snow/Anastasia Wescott is a plainly dressed orphan who at the elderly age of 25 is found to be the real heir to the Earl of Riverdale. It seems that he had married her mother before marrying the mother of the presumed earl and his 2 sisters. When there is no will to be read, everything is inherited by the Earl's son Harry. The current Countess
asks the Duke to help her find the natural-born (aka bastard) daughter of the Earl who was raised in an Orphanage in Bath and supported by the Earl all these years. She wanted to make a one-time settlement. Her generosity comes back to bite her when it is discovered that the natural daughter is actually the true daughter of the Earl and he had left a will in Bath leaving everything to her. She isn't really interested in the money but is excited to finally have a family - only they don't want to accept the one person who has ruined their life.
The Duke is involved because his stepmother is the sister of the late Earl and he has been named as the guardian of the new earl (a responsibility that he inherited from his father). The Duke rarely does anything himself (he has a secretary who handles all his business for him) but for some reason he takes an interest in this orphan heiress - at first to get her away from all the relatives who are trying to make her into the member of the ton that she now is. But later, there seems to be something that sparks between them and when the new Earl offers to marry her (he is a cousin and needs her money to restore the earl's estate) the Duke steps in a d offers for her himself.
Outside of London the Duke's true nature comes out and he is able to show the man who is hidden under the Duke costume. This is truly a new love story. Mary has a way of bringing out the hidden character traits that people don't take the time to see. Anna/ Anastasia is a strong woman who is able to navigate her way through the ton without losing herself to the glamour and rigidity of the lifestyle. Together, they make a formidable couple.
Top reviews from other countries
Apologies, if you liked this book, It just wasn't for me. I am struggling to find the words to describe it. I usually adore Mary Balogh's books and have recently re-read most of her earlier books and loved every word. This book simply does not measure up to those wonderful earlier books.
When I read the outline of this book, I liked the story and instantly pre-ordered it. As soon as it was delivered to my Kindle I began to read. Anna and Avery sounded like great characters and their story promised to be both interesting and romantic and the book started off well.
I am afraid to say, it just didn't pan out in the way I envisaged. It all began to get pretty ordinary very early on in the book and the characters seemed pretty one dimensional. It wasn't too long before the psycho babble was introduced and other matters took over.
What has happened to pure and simple romance? Where the story of a couples love and desire are told in wonderful detail, with beautiful language and imagery employed. I am ashamed to say, I skim read, whole tracts of this book - something I have NEVER done with any of this author's books before.
The prototype martial arts/meditation elements were of absolutely no interest to me. The very idea that a Regency lord would shape his life and approach to love around a chance encounter with a Chinese gentleman, practicing some sort of tai chi, really stretched my credulity. The use of words like "hollow inside" to describe the Duke's feelings of love for his wife - also left me cold.
Clearly, you will see that this book is the first in another long and interminable series. Ms Balogh, please consider your faithful readers, who have been loyal to you for decades, we deserve more than formulaic stories, which test our loyalty to the limit. You can do MUCH better than this.
I was surprised at the tepid reviews as I found it an engrossing read from start to finish.
Anastasia is the insignificant orphan who sets the whole story going. She suddenly find herself the heiress to a vast fortune as she is the only legitimate off- spring of an earl . Her half-siblings are disinherited.
She has no particular desire to be tremendously rich, but is dragged to a Mayfair mansion to be introduced to her large, resentful family. She is small, neat and poorly dressed, but she manages to stand her ground. In fact, her modesty and sensible behaviour is a counter-point to the more ridiculous manners and affectations of the Regency . This section of the book introduces us to most of the characters we will meet in later books.
We are now introduced to our hero, the Duke, Avery. He has the appearance of a renaissance angel, a lithe figure with beautiful face and golden curls. ( His father once remarked he would do very well as a girl.) What he lacks in stature he makes up for in dignity.
He suddenly offers to marry Anna, so that she will not feel so much an outcast. He does not know what prompts this act of altruism, and she has no idea why she agrees.
Avery is called upon to ameliorate some of the mess the family is in and also to fight a duel for the family's honour, which he wins in a surprising way.
I suppose some readers were not attracted to the principal characters because they both appeared controlled and self-contained. They were neither of them pious or priggish, but had not been very well-treated by life so it was satisfying to see they arrived at a happy ending.
Anna Snow has lived out twenty-one of her twenty-five years in an orphanage, first as an inmate and latterly as a teacher. Never privy to her origins beyond some few vague, unexplained flashbacks, she has naturally always wondered about her earlier life and her parents; and like most young women in her situation, dreamed that perhaps she is the long lost daughter of distinguished parents. This last seed was planted by virtue of her having known that she has an unknown benefactor. However, that old adage, be careful what you wish for has come home to haunt her as the unexpected arrival of a letter summoning her to London drops her into the middle of a nightmare.
The widow of the recently deceased Earl of Riverdale has long been aware that her husband was secretly supporting an illegitimate child. Now that he is dead she seeks to mitigate any future claims on the new earl; to this end she instructs her solicitor to find the child and make a one off payment. But what follows is beyond anyone's wildest imaginings. Anna, unaware of what awaits her, has been instructed to arrive at the home of Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby. On arrival, she is met with derision and suspicion, first by Avery who mistakes her for a servant and then by the late earl's widow and family, who, believing her to be the earl's by-blow, are shocked by her attendance at the reading of his last will and testament. What transpires is shocking; the earl had covertly married Anna's mother and kept her existence and that of their child a secret. He had then married the current Countess only months before the death of Anna's mother, meaning that Anna is the earl's only legitimate child, Lady Anastasia Westcott. His three children - including the new earl - are illegitimate, the issue of a bigamous marriage. I loved the way Mary Balogh draws the reader into the familial gathering so that we actually feel the dawning realisation - step by step - of the family's shocked reactions; denial, shock and despair - as they slowly digest the ramifications and what it will now mean for the earl's disinherited, illegitimate family. Anna - herself just as shocked - nevertheless remains dignified and calm throughout as she is derided by everyone and then verbally attacked by one of her half-sisters. Her only thought through it all is that at last she has the family she has always craved and how she just wishes to help her stepmother and half-siblings.
Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby - who is related to this family through the second marriage of his father, and as nominated guardian of the young earl - has been unobtrusively and quietly observing proceedings. A closed and seemingly impenetrable aristocrat with an unmistakable air of entitlement, he is drawn by the quiet dignity of the newly promoted Lady Anastasia - an attraction he is unable to quantify. An exquisitely beautiful man of only average height and slight build but with a carefully cultivated aura of ennui which he uses to keep people at a distance, he nevertheless does not need to raise his voice nor use anything other than a well aimed look to part crowds or gain complete subservience. On the face of it, the attraction between the understated, plainly dressed Anna and the immaculately elegant figure of Avery is beyond comprehension; nevertheless he feels compelled to take her under his wing and guide her through the pitfalls of a society which is completely alien to her. The development of the relationship between these two complete opposites is expertly and realistically achieved and it's difficult not to root for them even though their eventual HEA seems unlikely.
Mary Balogh does not need to depend on ridiculous plotlines; her writing and storylines are always quietly addictive and plausible. Avery - no tall dark and handsome Adonis - is nevertheless absolutely delectable and loveable, albeit dangerous and not to be trifled with. His story in itself is compelling; what we learn about his past and how it has shaped the man he is is fascinating and finally he finds someone to love and trust in the delightfully ordinary and quietly determined Anna, herself desperately in need of a family and someone to love.
Someone to Love is a beautiful, gently moving but highly compelling love story with hidden depths. As far as I am concerned nothing that Mary Balogh writes is less than a fantastic read. I loved it and look forward with much anticipation to the next in the series.
I liked the premise of this story- the working class woman who is a teacher at the orphanage where she grew up, (like Jane Eyre's, but far less grim) discovers that she is the legitimate daughter of an earl and overnight becomes a very wealthy aristocrat, displacing the bigamous earl's wife and children. There is tremendous scope for drama here. But our heroine is a one-note character- strictly principled and outwardly calm throughout, regardless of the circumstances. Characterisation of the hero is even worse, a slight, effeminate child, bullied at his public school, he is rescued by a nameless, faceless stereotypical Oriental wiseman (Balogh calls him a 'Chinese gentleman') who tells him to find love and teaches him some unnamed martial art, (vaguely reminiscent of Tai-Chi/Kung Fu) which allows him to overcome his physical inferiority, but leaves him detached from his family and society. All of this we are told rather than shown, so it does not ring true. There is no authenticity to his character, nor to this exotic element in his background. There is not much else to the plot, apart from an unconventional duel, via hand to hand combat. When hero and heroine get together, there is little sense of a developing relationship, and their abrupt marriage and happy ending are rather unconvincing.
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Ok I need to read more Mary Balogh! Wowie she pens such good historical romance! And I mean ACTUAL historical romance- like you know stuff like Austen! I never knew! Where have I been all this time?!?! Living under a bookshelf instead of in it, that's where! As you can probably tell this is my first Balogh! Probably not the best one to start off with I know, but, I'm still in awe of her writing style- her mastery of the Regency period really shines through in her style of writing and she's just such a pleasure to read!
The Westcott family are steeped in scandal as the real truth behind the late Earl of Riverdale's legal will comes out- he has had a secret wife and child in the past, making his current children illegitimate and the marriage bigamous! Miss Anna Snow, an orphan, and a teacher at the orphanage where she grew up, finds out all her dreams have come true when she finds herself the sole legitimate heir to the title and fortune of Riverdale! And suddenly she has a family! Not just a few relatives but a whole squadron of them! Avery Archer is the guardian to Anna's illegitimate half brother and not closely related to the Westcott family at all and stays out of tedious family affairs. But as he watches Anna transition from a quite dignified orphan to a lady of the Ton, he can't help but be intrigued by her stoic strength, confidence and air of dignity she wears around herself.
Lots to talk about in this book in terms of likes and dislikes...I'll start off with the smaller bits and expand into the characters as they were my main interests. First off, this "Chinese Gentleman" scandal. I found the mention of this character very very random- no explanation at all at what the heck he was doing in Regency England practicing martial arts in the middle of a park. Nothing else other than he teaches Avery a style of martial arts. I didn't find this racist at all (I'm coloured myself), as mentioned in some book reviews, just really random without any further explanation. Secondly, the introduction to the Westcott family was so TEDIOUS! Omg there were just too many names and too many introductions and I got such a headache, I had to find my smelling salts...This happened especially heavily when Anna was introduced to the Westcott family at the beginning and it was just such a bore to get through. I do appreciate that this is the first book in a series but I just felt like it was something that could have been condensed slightly as not to loose some readers. Hence why I stop-started this book and forced myself to continue, but I'm glad I stuck it through, though, because obviously as you became better acquainted with the characters it got easier to remember who was who. Again on the topic of tedious, some of later letters to Joel also came close to blah mainly because it felt repeated to what we read 3 pages ago. Lastly some major nitpicking here- so please forgive me! I found the word "legalese" mentioned which annoyed me. There! I got that out of my system! Now I feel better haha. These were the smaller things that niggled at me throughout the book and now onto the characters.
Overall, I did come really close to disliking "Someone to Love". I think it was mainly due to the characters being so different and unique, particularly our hero. Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby is short, small statured, blond and pretty- almost girlish and practices martial arts? Say what? Aren't Dukes meant to be tall, handsome, roguish, dangerous, scandalous and all that other broody stuff? And since when did martial arts make an appearance with The Quality? Avery is a tough nut to crack. Even as a reader, we are not privy to much and are only allowed a proper glance into the depths of his soul within the last chapter of the book, when he opens up to Anna. I also didn't like the whole perpetually bored, overly flamboyant persona of Avery. Anna our heroine, does not have a big personality. She is a quiet study indeed and a thoroughly composed and confident character. Again, very different to the louder, rebellious, sassy and sensual heroines you read about. I liked Anna. She had strength and continues to have strength throughout the book, which serves her very nicely. I didn't have much trouble liking her but it was Avery I really didn't take to initially.
Sooooooo, I didn't really like Avery throughout most of the book, Anna is great but really not what I'm used to as a heroine....but what's this I'm feeling? An emotional connection to these two? Shedding a few tears because they are fell in love? Where the heck did these emotions come from? How did Mary Balogh manage to wrest those emotions out of me, despite all the other bits going on that I didn't like? After some thought, I think it's because she really got to the essence of a romance. She demonstrated to us a slow, simple and sweet love between two very different characters. She portrays Avery as an illusion of someone unlikeable and gives us the real Avery later-someone we actually really did like deep down. Avery really is a sweet hero despite everything else and he is truly wonderful to Anna.
Towards the end of the novel, Mary Balogh gave me what I wanted despite my misgivings and my preconceived notions and that's why I loved "Someone To Love" much more than I expected to. Despite all the odds against it, this book really is well written and I daresay will provide more enjoyment on a second re-read! Fans of Mary Balogh don't be afraid to pick this up as I'm sure your favourite author will deliver!
*Thank-you Mary Balogh, Netgalley & Piatkus for the ARC.