Review: Someone to Care by Mary Balogh

Posted May 5, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 7 Comments

Review: Someone to Care by Mary Balogh
Someone to Care

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Series: The Westcotts #4
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on May 1, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

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The Delight

Violet Kingsley once had it all in the eyes of the world, then travesty struck.  She held it together and now she just wants to run away from it all.  I wasn’t exactly anticipating Violet’s book, but once I realized it was coming, I got curious about this middle-aged woman who felt the profound injustice of another person’s deceit.

Review

Someone to Care is book five of the Westcotts series.  This is a series that builds strongly on what came before so doesn’t work well out of order.

So, yes, this is Violet Kingsley, the once thought Countess of Rivendale who learned when he died that the Earl had a previous marriage and child making her a bigamist and her children illegitimate.
Violet’s world is shattered.  She thought she was moving on and her children seem to have already done so.  She has the good fortune to still have the love and support of a family that was never really hers and from her own family, but she’s restless and suddenly angry.  She runs away rather than facing it all.  This is when she encounters the infamous rake, Marcel Lamarr.  Marcel once fell for a younger Violet, but she sent him packing.  Now, he approaches her yet again.  He doesn’t want to go home and deal with all his family obligations including his two nearly adult children so he tempts her into running off with him for a brief interlude.  The pair of them discover that they want more, but neither will admit it.  Misunderstanding, hurt, and pride end up dividing them just when they are forced together by circumstance.

This is a book that had a lot of potential to make me love it with an older couple who both had tragedy in their past and also a brief attraction when they were younger, but there was a lot about it that just didn’t pull me in.  See, I found both hero and heroine pretty self-absorbed.
Marcel lost his young wife whom he loved and his grief took him away from all reminders even his children.  Violet was the victim of someone else’s wickedness and she, too, tries to stay away from her loving family who are a reminder of it.  I do, indeed, pity both of them.
But, Violet’s bit about pushing everyone away and getting snarly when the Westcotts and Kingsleys keep trying to support her and include her and her children and then her having the audacity to tell Marcel that she has no one to care for her was probably the moment I just wanted to give her a swift kick in the back of the skirts to get over herself and her tragedienne act.   Plenty people cared and demonstrated it beyond just the words, but she did runners from them and threw it back in their faces.  Marcel leaving his children with others for nearly eighteen years and neglecting the way his extended family has taken over the main estate with constant squabbling among them left me unimpressed.  He thought it was okay because he was honest about being selfish.
I was already cranky by the time the pair decided to misunderstand and then refuse to actually communicate and clear it up for nearly half the book.  I guess… yeah, I figured their age would be proof against that sort of stuff.  I figured, hey, mature adults who’ve been through a lot, they’ll talk and be frank.  But nope.  Their children are the ones to nab them by the scruff and tell them to get a clue before they miss out.

It wasn’t a bad story and I did like it for being back in the world of the series, but I wasn’t keen on how it all went down and how this pair weren’t that likeable for me the way they went all drama and were rather passive in their own romance beyond the lust and play when they ran off from their lives.  The interlude of them at the inn and then the cottage when they were alone was engaging, but the latter half of the book was insipid with the miscues and arrival of their families in their lives.

In summary, this won’t be my favorite in the series, but I still think it a solid series and one Historical Romance lovers should give a go. I am looking forward to the next Westcott book with Elizabeth’s story that was apparently happening in the background of this one based on the little teaser chapter at the end of this book.  There are a few stories I want, still, so I look forward to what comes next.

My thanks to Penguin for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Excerpt

SOMEONE TO CARE by Mary Balogh
Blogger Excerpt

It felt like a lifetime. Or like something from another life altogether. But here he was, fourteen years older and fourteen years more attractive, though there was a greater hardness now to the handsome, austere features. She wondered, as she had wondered at the time, why he had taken her literally at her word. He did not seem like a man who took kindly to being told no. But she had told him to go away and he had gone. His feelings for her, of course, had not run more than skin-deep. Or groin deep, to be more blunt about it. And there had been plenty of other women only too happy to jump to his every command.

“I stand corrected,” he said in that soft voice she remembered well. He had never been a man who needed to raise his voice. “Was there a time limit?”

How did one answer such a question? Well, with a simple no, she supposed. There was no time limit. She had sent him away and had intended that it be forever. But here she was alone in a room with him fourteen years later, and he had spoken to her again and asked a question. He did not wait for the answer, though.

“Now how am I to interpret your silence?” He strolled to the table nearest the door, pulled out a chair, and sat on it, crossing one elegantly booted leg over the other as he did so. “Having sent me away once, you have nothing more to say to me? But you have already said something. You have corrected my defective memory. Could it be, then, that you hate to repeat yourself by inviting me yet again to go to the devil? Or could it be that you do not wish to admit that company—any company, even mine—is preferable to none at all when one is stranded in a godforsaken village somewhere in the wilds of England? I assume you are stranded and have not come here with the express purpose of jollificating with the locals and helping save them from being rained upon on Sunday mornings?”

The mere sound of his voice sent chills up her spine. Just because it was so soft? And because he spoke unhurriedly, with the absolute certainty that no one would dream of cutting him off?

“Jollificating?” she said. “Is it a word?”

“If it is not,” he said, his eyebrows lifting, “then it ought to be. Perhaps I should give serious consideration to writing a dictionary. What do you think? Do you believe it would rival Dr. Johnson’s?”

“With a one-word entry?” she said. “I very much doubt it, Mr. Lamarr.”

“Ah, but you do me an injustice,” he said. “I could think of ten words without having to frown in thought and pummel my brow. But why is it you will not answer a direct question? Was there a time limit? And are you stranded? All alone?”

“The axle of the carriage in which I am traveling came perilously close to breaking,” she said. “The coachman does not believe we will be able to resume the journey until tomorrow morning at the earliest.” Why was she explaining?

“I took a glance out into the innyard before stepping in here,” he said. “There is no sign of a private carriage. Has yours by chance made off without you, the imperiled axle story just one big hoax to be rid of you? But that is unlikely, I must admit. You did not—surely—arrive here in that apology for a conveyance that is listing hard to the northwest and looking for all the world as though it will not be fit to go anywhere for the next eternity or two. Or did you? A hired carriage, Lady Riverdale?”

“That is no longer my name,” she said.

“A hired carriage, Miss Kingsley?” He sounded pained.

“How are the mighty fallen?” she said. “Was that your meaning, Mr. Lamarr? Then why not say so?”

Long, elegant fingers closed about the handle of his quizzing glass, but he did not raise it to his eye. “Riverdale was a blackguard,” he said. “If it was your idea to completely disassociate yourself from him, even in name, then I congratulate you. You are better off without the connection. Kingsley is your maiden name, I assume?”

She did not answer. She looked down at her coffee in order to break eye contact with him. There was still half a cup left. It would be cold by now, though. Besides, she was not sure her hand would be steady enough to lift the cup without revealing her agitation.

“Miss Kingsley,” he said after a few moments of silence had passed. “Are you going to send me away again? And spend the rest of the day alone?”

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Lily B
Guest

aww that’s sad, because the setting with the cottage looks like it could have been more lovely

Sophia Rose
Guest

I was feeling a back and forth pull while they were at the cottage. I loved seeing them together and falling in love in that setting, but I hated the way they were acting toward their families and then afterward toward each other. Oh well, I think I’ll love the next book and I’ve loved the ones that came before it. 🙂

Carole's Random Life
Guest

It is good to know that this series needs to be read in order. I don’t usually worry about reading a series in order with this genre since they are usually only loosely connected. Too bad this couple didn’t work for you as well as you had hoped they would. I do want to read this author soon since I have several of her books just waiting for some attention.

Evie
Guest

What a thorough review! I haven’t read Mary Balogh in a loooong time. Not since I read a virgin hero with a courtesan lol. I don’t like virgins ha! Sounds like you liked it all right but not enough to love it 🙂

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh, wow, that must have been one of her older ones. I’ve read a half dozen of those, but there are still soooo many on her backlist. Virgins can be… awkward. 😉

Yes, I had a likeable time with this one. I loved the ones before it and I suspect I’ll love the next one coming so a meh one isn’t a big deal. Thanks, Evie!

Rachel @The Readers Den
Guest

I totally agree with your review, Sophia Rose! As you know, this was my least favorite of the series as well. You’re right, both characters were self-absorbed, but I felt more sympathy for Violet. She had been setting aside her own feelings and needs for so long, thinking of others, that I thought she needed to put herself first for once. As for Marcel, I can understand grieving for a while, but to leave your children in the care of others for over 18 years?! Just no! If he loved his kids so much then with or without grief he… Read more »

Sophia Rose
Guest

You make a good point about his being the worst. She did deserve to grab something for herself. I think that’s why I got irritated with how long they didn’t talk and let hurt feelings and wounded pride hold them back.

I can’t wait for Elizabeth’s story. And, I love that the love interest is also part of the family circle. 🙂