Review: Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

Review: Someone to Love by Mary BaloghSomeone to Love by Mary Balogh

Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Signet on November 18, 2016
Pages: #1 Westcotts
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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five-stars      three-flames

A fantastic new series by Mary Balogh has me in raptures.  As beginning stories go, this one had my interest from the beginning only to grow stronger as the book progressed.  The main couple were incredible as individuals and their sweet passionate slow-burn romance was delectable.  Historical Romance fans will delight and swoon over His Grace the Duke of Netherby and cheer on quietly courageous Miss Anna Snow aka the new Lady Anastasia Westcott.

The tale of a woman who was raised in obscurity only to be plucked from everything she knows to be dropped into the lap of her newly discovered shocked and distressed family is riveting but juxtaposed against the story of a cynical and jaded aristocratic man who leads fashion and the fashionable giving the impression that he just can’t be brought to care about anything or anybody, the story is miles deep in a story that I will treasure as one of the best of the year and a certain re-read on my shelf.

Anna Snow spent the last twenty-one years of her life as an orphan and then teacher in a Bath orphanage.  Her life was not hard, but it was not full of comfort.  She loves her students and what’s more, understands them.  Her best friend was former fellow orphan, Joel.  Joel is a promising artist in the city.

But her whole life is upended when a letter from a London lawyer requests her presence, now she is caught between two worlds.  Her life has been a lie because she is really the legitimate daughter of an earl and his only legal heir.  She actually has a whole family, the aristocratic Westcotts.

Though her dream was to someday find family, it now tastes like ashes in her mouth because by her existence becoming know, it makes her half siblings and their mother now the scandalous Westcotts because her father married a lady while already wed.  Her new-found family detests her on sight.

Avery Archer, the Duke of Netherby, finds everything a shocking bore.  He’s an exquisite and dandy of the first stare.  Men and women admire him, but he is the unknowable.  His own family don’t know what to make of him.  He is right there when Miss Anna Snow’s bedraggled and poor appearance outrage them all, but his eyes are on the woman trying to remain steady and calm under the on-slot of pain, outrage, shock, and distaste.  Not ever one to get involved or care, he inexplicably quietly stands pat for Anna.  He helps her find her legs in London society and the family and struggles to remain aloof the more he knows her.  Her simple need to know that her half brother and sisters are safe and well and her passionate anger at the man who hurt her sister draw him in further.

Someone to Love was a tension-filled story of family and what it means to be family.  The author used conflict built on the law and societal norms of the day when it came inheritance rights, legitimacy, and bigamy to craft a heartwarming and passionate tale.

This is the beginning of a new series and the author introduces all the primary players that will carry through the series.  The events of this book are the catalyst for what will come afterward in future stories.  Now, this could have made the story ponderous and slow moving, but it did not.  Multiple points of view and scenes are presented, but the characters, the dialogue and the plotting make it work.

The central story, that of Anna and Avery, has depth and strong development.  I enjoyed their individual stories as people and their story together of a courtship that is happening when not even those involved in the courtship even realize it.  Their romance is subtle particularly in the beginning, but the author allows the reader to see it when they each take the narration.  They are fascinating to each other, then friendly, and finally are startled to know that they share a romantic love.  Avery and Anna rival some of my most esteemed couples in classic Regency Romance and that is the highest praise I can offer.

And with many of her historicals, the author demonstrates a dazzling and authentic attention to time and setting- the inclusion of life in a Regency era orphanage, a Pygmalion theme, Avery’s following of the Eastern Martial Arts and Meditation, and a truly Gothic villain who does his work while never present in a single scene.

So, in summary, yes I thought this was magnificent and one of the best this author has written and further, it will probably be one of my top five historical romance reads for the year.  And YES, do experience this wonder for yourselves.

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

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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.
  • I’ve seen such good things about this author’s books! I have one of her books (Only Enchanting, I think?), but I’ve not read it. This particular one has been getting a lot of good reviews. Historical romance for the win!

    Great review, Sophia!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • That’s one of The Survivor’s Club series. I enjoyed that series a lot. That one you have might need to be read in order so maybe check out some review thoughts on it to make sure.

      Yes, definitely this is HR for the win!!!!!

      Thanks, Alyssa!

  • Debbie Haupt

    OOh a new series and look at that great rating and wonderful review. Thanks Sophia Rose

    • Yep, this one was a great start and I can’t wait to keep going. I connect so strongly with her writing for some reason (match made in book heaven, LOL).

  • Oh wow, “One of the best historical romance this year”, that instant, I know I’ve got to read it. Thanks for this awesome review Sophia 🙂

    • Haha, yes, can you tell I was really excited about this one, Vanessa? 🙂

  • ANNETTE

    I have the book and plan to read as soon as I get done with other obligations. Thanks for the review. I am a Huge Mary Balogh fan.

    • So hard to get through must-need tasks before you can sit down with a good book. I think you’ll love it, Annette. 🙂

  • Oh a 5 star rating, yay! Sounds like this one was a really good read for you :). It’s great when the characters are good as individuals and as a couple. I always like a good slow burn romance! It must be hard to find out her life has been a lie and how she has to deal with everything she learns. The conflict sounds well done and realistic as well, which is always a good thing in my opinion. And if it will probably reach your top 5 of historical romances that is high praise! Great review!

    • Yes, this one already has me itching to re-read it and I know I’ll probably do it within the year. I already have book two lined up since I was so into this one.

      The way she writes her romance development and the conflict is probably exactly why I think her books are superb. The conflict never feels contrived and the romances always seem realistic yet still romantic.

      Thanks, Lola!

  • wow 5? that’s so great! I didn’t know about this one and I think it’s the first time I hear about the author but I’m happy to see you had such a great time with the story. The main characters look so interesting and the same for the romance! you made me curious!

    • Oh yes, Melliane! This one really did it for me. 🙂 I can’t wait to keep going with this series, yet I have a feeling this will end up being my favorite book. Glad to introduce you to a new author. 🙂

  • oh I am going to HAVE to pick this one up I see, especially after reading your thoughts on it. Mary Balogh is so great isn’t she? I love that she deals with some complex issues in the plot but it doesn’t seem to heavy.

    • I think this one is a MUST Have, Renee. She does a fantastic job including issues that make sense for the time and using it as the conflict.