I declared last fall that the first book, Someone to Love, was one of my best reads for the year and my top historical romance. Now, with Someone to Hold, I wanted to see how it held up against all that love I had for the first book. I gladly report that this one stood strong to the test and kept me riveted to see a proud, staunch young woman overcome much to find her place, to find love, but most of all, to find herself.
Someone to Hold is book two in The Westcotts series and works best read in order. In fact, the reader would miss a great deal if this one is picked up before the first book as all that comes in this book is based on what went on before.
The story opens with Camille Westcott making a decision. Up until now, she has hidden away licking her wounds after discovering that instead of being the eldest daughter of an earl and anticipating a high society marriage that she is in fact the illegitimate child of a bigamous marriage and a social pariah. She has been holding on by a hair and all she has left is her pride which made her hatefully blame her older half-sister, cut-off contact with her extended Westcott family, and hide away in her maternal grandmother’s home in Bath.
But now, she is ready to take her own life back and try to figure out who and what this new Miss Camille Westcott is like. First, she hires on as a teacher at the orphanage where her half-sister, Anastasia grew up. Camille hates her, unreasonably she knows- it was not Anna’s fault that she is legitimate and their father lied about so much. But Camille is curious about Anna’s life before being discovered and restored to her place in the family. Camille also wants to stand independently and this teaching position gives her that even as she feels woefully inadequate especially with Anna’s best friend looking on with his smiles and merriment.
Joel wants to hate and resent the stiff and prunish, Camille Westcott when she takes over Anna’s classroom and hurt his friend by not accepting her sisterly affections. He wants to despise her for her self-pity when at least she has a loving family and grew up knowing them and her place when he has been an orphan and made his own way left to wonder about his roots. He teaches his art classes and continues to make a name for himself as a portrait artist, but all the while, he slowly gains in respect and admiration, but also understanding for Camille. Surprising twists in his life and hers have them both aware that they might share more in common than they thought.
Alright, this was a stunning and deeply engaging story. This was quite the story of growth and triumph, of friendship and love, and even of restoration. The author returned to the historical elements of family, illegitimacy, abandonment, friendship, and unlikely love this time set in Bath and at the orphanage. Joel’s art and Camille’s teaching become added new elements.
I enjoyed the feeling that though the main pair are new that this is an ongoing story of a whole cast of characters- The Westcott family. The whole lot of them return for Camille and Joel’s story and are part of it as family is an issue for both Camille and Joel.
The story is told in alternating narrative voices of Camille and Joel. At first, I thought that the focus was to be on Camille rising up from her bitter ashes and triumphing, but then I saw that Joel was to have his own crisis moment of truth and need to face it and a new future. They are an interesting pair. They are so antagonistic at first and then so burdened that I thought a romance between was iffy. In fact, Camille was not a likeable person in the past book or the beginning of this one. She is not meant to be, but it is part of her recovery and the revelation that she is really someone quite different than even she knew when faced with these new circumstances.
In the end, I’m left once again clutching the book and swearing undying love for this series. This is historical romance with such depth and heart that I gladly push it at those who love this genre.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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