This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on July 2, 2019
I was welcomed back to the Regency England world of the unconventional Westcott family who endured a great family scandal and it made them rally and show an inner strength most didn\’t know they possessed. I enjoy this series of a family who take their turns finding love and happiness in their own unique ways, but this was one of my favorites (yes, I say that a lot with this series). This broody, slightly bitter, stone-faced hero with a tender heart won me over from the start. The betrayal of the last page coming before I was ready to be done says just how much I loved the story.
Someone to Honor is book six. Because of the way the books build the family and all ripple out from the events brought to light in book one, it is best read in order even if each book has different couples.
The story opens with the Westcott family welcoming back Harry after he spent two years recovering from a near fatal injury at Waterloo and then additional surgeries. He\’s still delicate, but on the mend. He wants the quiet life at his family country estate and patiently waits for people to stop treating him like an invalid.
Against the backdrop of this event, Lt. Colonel Gil Bennington accompanies Harry back to England and gets dropped into the midst of the boisterous, vibrant family togetherness and love of the Westcott clan. He\’s never seen anything like it and can only watch with the loneliness and envy and the feeling of not being one of them. He stands Harry\’s friend, but he feels he is a fake and there under false pretenses because they think because he\’s an officer that he\’s a gentleman when this is far from the truth. He\’s the illegitimate son of a washer woman and he\’s been made to feel his place since his birth and all his life. Harry and his siblings may be illegitimate, but they have blue blood on both sides and were reared in aristocratic circles.
He knows he disconcerts Harry\’s sister, but its only fair since she stirs him up, too. They start confiding in each other and now she knows about his past mistakes and his current struggle to get his child back. Can he let Abby close enough to stand beside him in his quest and to have something good with her?
Abigail though her world came to an end six years before when she learned her father had been a bigamist when he married her mother and she went from earl\’s daughter and the toast of society to a pariah to some. She\’s spent that time since accepting and thinking. She has decided that she doesn\’t mind losing her standing in society or the typical upper class marriage. She loves the freedom of choice and that takes her into a quiet life in the country with her convalescent brother and his enigmatic friend who disconcerts her every time she turns around. Perhaps she might have been hasty in her judgment at first because he does have a lovely dog who adored him and he was so gentle and patient with all the small children. Slowly, she chisels away at the stone wall he hides behind and learns that this is a man she can honor if she is willing to not let class and situation hold her back.
Each book in this series presents different conflicts- both personal and for the romance- that present something new for the new main couples\’ to conquer. Illegitimacy has been something of a theme in this series because of what started it all back in the beginning, but the author chose to double down and have both characters facing this stigma, but also toss in a class difference, a child custody battle, and the after effects of war.
Abby and Gil don\’t get off on the right foot. I thought it was well done to show just how sheltered and naive she is about attraction, love, and relationships between men and women. It was cute that she is flustered by attraction to Gil\’s physical form but thinks that her attraction is really irritation at him. She works it out soon enough even while she probes Gil with questions and he fires back a few of his own.
He makes her really think about her past and what she wants. She thinks she doesn\’t know and that she doesn\’t want love because she thinks love is all those romantic sensibilities that she\’s seen others display and say is love.
Gil has the advantage of her in that he\’s older, but also he saw that those romantic notions led him into a disastrous marriage with a selfish woman who used him for a lark when she wanted to slum it with a lower class rough man before she got bored and was ready to move on. He thinks all upper class people are like his late wife, her relations who took his daughter from him, and the man who used her mother and did nothing when they were in dire straights.
Abby\’s patient friendship and understanding chisel away at his walls and she is the one to whom he turns when he needs a confidant and later when he needs support. Abby has a man who sees her and shares himself, giving her his trust and they build something more together.
It was just a beautiful story of two people who overcome their pasts, figure out what love is and that they can feel it, and start making a life together with the help of the Westcott family, an adorable orphan dog, and a surprising source. I wanted to see a few things play out, but I\’m hoping the next book covers this. Please be Matilda\’s story next- need it after that provocative teaser of a scene toward the end.
All in all, it was a book that I was loathe to see the end and wanted to keep reading more. Gil was a fabulous hero and Abby was a good match. This is a series of stories that folks who love family, solid historical setting, romances that build and make you believe they can stick it for the long haul with a sensual pinch of spice should not hesitate to pick up.
My thanks to Berkley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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