Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

Anna Snow grew up in an orphanage in Bath knowing nothing of the family she came from. Now she discovers that the late Earl of Riverdale was her father and that she has inherited his fortune. She is also overjoyed to learn she has siblings. However, they want nothing to do with her or her attempts to share her new wealth. But the new earl’s guardian is interested in Anna…

Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, keeps others at a distance. Yet something prompts him to aid Anna in her transition from orphan to lady. As London society and her newfound relatives threaten to overwhelm Anna, Avery steps in to rescue her and finds himself vulnerable to feelings and desires he has hidden so well and for so long.

Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ 

Mary Balogh is one of those authors that you can pretty much count on to provide a decent read for a regency romance (although she has had a few flops in my opinion), however I have never felt that any of her books have entertained enough to make me give her a perfect 5-star rating although she does decent enough to get 4-stars and I have rarely felt the need to give her anything less then a 3-star (which means it’s an average book IMHO and one I would read again if I have nothing else to read). Someone to Hold is the first book in her new series the Westcotts and after reading the plot summary and having a coworker recommend it to me, I find I was disappointed with the book which fell short of my expectations.

Our heroine Anna Snow, aka Lady Anastasia Wescott learns in the beginning of the book she is not an orphan, or at least that she was not truly one until a short while ago when her father died; not that it’s anything to be sad about since her father was a real bounder who didn’t have the sense to figure out a way to delay his wedding to his second wife until his first one had passed away from consumption, so it wouldn’t have been very long, nor the brains to arrange a “renewal of vows” to his second wife before their first child together to ensure his children would be considered legitimate.

Also, I’m totally dropping about to DROP SOME SPOILERS that happen near the end of the book. It seems that the late Earl of Riverdale, never told his first wife of his position and when he learned of her death, he went to take his daughter and dump her in some little orphanage in Bath and then lied to his former in-laws that Anna had died, all to keep secret his first marriage and bigamy. The rat bastard also never changes his will, so Anna inherits everything that wasn’t entailed to the legitimate next Earl, who is not Anna’s poor half-brother who may or may not be glad not to have uphold the duties of his father’s position. We’ll see since I’m sure we will see Harry’s story later on when’s older and hopefully a lot more mature and sober about things.

Anna tries to share with her stepmother and half siblings although they refuse. I can understand to an extent since they don’t know her and their meeting is less than favorable circumstances which destroyed their world and standing in society. However, I found I was most annoyed with Camille who is the eldest of Anna’s half-siblings, for as the oldest she should be more mature about the situation than her younger siblings and her cousin, Jessica who act like twits towards Anna who is innocent of her father’s sins. Camille does seem to wisen up later in the book when we meet her again, although I’m still not too thrilled with her and the next book in the series (and next one I’m reading) is her story. I also glimpsed so review about her book and I have a feeling that my rating for the next book may not go up.

We’ll see, in any case, as I said Mary Balogh is a decent enough author, although I’ve come across authors who tell a better tale and I feel that the same plot with one of those authors would provide better results. It would also have helped things if we weren’t snowballed with family members at the beginning and trying to remember their relationship to Anna could be quite a headache, even with the family tree at the beginning of the book. And don’t get me started on the subject of the obscure Chinese teacher who taught our hero how to kick-ass when built like a slim angel instead of a hulking he-man type devil like the delicious Jason Moma who plays Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones. Seriously if you’re going to put a non-white person in a book, do a better job of it then what Ms. Balogh did. Oh well, on to the next book.

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