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Westcott #4

Someone to Care

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Once the Countess of Riverdale, Viola Kingsley throws all caution to the wind when adventure calls in the form of a handsome aristocrat...

Two years after the death of the Earl of Riverdale, his family has overcome the shame of being stripped of their titles and fortune—except for his onetime countess, Viola. With her children grown and herself no longer part of the social whirl of the ton, she is uncertain where to look for happiness—until quite by accident her path crosses once again with that of the Marquess of Dorchester, Marcel Lamarr.

Marcel Lamarr has been a notorious womanizer since the death of his wife nearly twenty years earlier. Viola caught his eye when she herself was a young mother, but she evaded his seduction at the time. A prize that eluded him before, she is all the more irresistible to him now although he is surprised to discover that she is as eager now for the excitement he offers as he is himself.

When the two defy convention and run away together, they discover that the ties of respectability are not so easily severed, and pleasure can ensnare you when you least expect it.

356 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published May 1, 2018

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About the author

Mary Balogh

244 books5,586 followers
Mary Jenkins was born in 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Mary Balogh started writing in the evenings as a hobby. Her first book, a Regency love story, was published in 1985 as A Masked Deception under her married name. In 1988, she retired from teaching after 20 years to pursue her dream to write full-time. She has written more than seventy novels and almost thirty novellas since then, including the New York Times bestselling 'Slightly' sextet and 'Simply' quartet. She has won numerous awards, including Bestselling Historical of the Year from the Borders Group, and her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She has won seven Waldenbooks Awards and two B. Dalton Awards for her bestselling novels, as well as a Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 709 reviews
May 23, 2018
I lack the words with which to sing this book's praises because this book leaves me speechless with joy.

Mary Balogh is above and beyond the best historical romance author in the whole world. There's like almost no sex in this store and I DON'T CARE.

This book made me furious. It made me ache. It made me squirm with joy. If you want a reformed-rake story, I don't think you can do better than this.

Some people may think that her writing is boring. And it is true that the pace is slow. There is a lot of internal monologue, but for people who desire great writing and the depiction of realistically falling in love, one can do no better.

This book is unusual in that the characters are both mature. As in the main characters are above 40 and both widowed (kind of, but you'll know what I mean when you read the book). It makes the book no less readable, and indeed, I do wish more of these books exist. People do fall in love past their 20s.

I just have a lot of feelings right now.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,028 reviews58.9k followers
September 30, 2018
Someone to Care by Mary Balogh is a 2018 Berkley publication.

A lovely tale of second chances- proving it’s never too late to find your happily ever after!

For those following the Wescott series, you will be familiar with Viola and the shocking discoveries that changed her life drastically at an age when starting over is especially difficult. So, when I realized she was the central character in this book was absolutely thrilled!

Viola might be suffering from something akin to panic anxiety disorder and depression. I wouldn’t go so far as to label it PTSD, but she’s been holding her emotions at bay for the sake of her children. However, she’s been showing signs of strain, exhibiting strange behavior, as everything finally caught up with her.

Years ago, Viola skirted the seductive temptations offered her by the notorious womanizer, Marcel Lamarr. But, when the pair meet again, Marcel finds Viola even more desirable and once again attempts to woo her. This time Viola is not ‘married’, and her children have proven to be remarkably resilient, so when Marcel, who has some difficult decisions weighing on his mind, suggests they run away together, Viola makes the impulsive decision to take him up on his offer. Why not? After all, there is no one to care for or about her- or so she thinks.

“You told me to go away,” he said. “But that was fifteen years or so ago. Was there a time limit?”

I loved the romance between Viola and Marcel. Although they are more ‘mature’ characters, they still acted like angsty teenagers at times. Love often feels overwhelming and with all baggage the couple carried, on top of their intrusive family members making the situation even more complicated, it was no surprise the couple wavered and rallied a time or two. I wasn’t especially fond of Marcel in the beginning, I must say. He was not all that impressive, and his attitude was all wrong for Viola. Although his coaxing her into a little risqué behavior was probably cathartic for her, he didn’t have much to lose, while the repercussions for Viola would be enormous if they were ever discovered.

However, as the story progressed, I warmed up to him and even felt sorry for him. He was flummoxed and flustered around Viola which was fun to watch, but he also made the most emotional progress, realizing the consequences of having neglected his two children who became collateral damage after his wife’s untimely death. Turns out there was more substance to him than I had given him credit for.

My only complaint was with the pacing, which was at times excruciatingly slow. Things also got a little too busy with the arrival of concerned and well -meaning family members, which resulted in constant conversation, and really put a damper on Viola and Marcel’s dalliance.

Although some patience was required, the conclusion was beautiful, sweet, and very romantic!

PS: I rarely comment on covers- but this one is just beautiful!
4 stars
Profile Image for Mei.
1,881 reviews414 followers
October 25, 2018
I almost DNF this one... At 40% was so boring!!!

Viola and Marcel were rusticating and enjoying themselves. Going for walks, looking at the scenery... In that half of the book descriptions abound. And nothing happens...

I suppose we were to see how they got nearer to one another and how they feelings grew, but I didn't feel that way at all! For me it was just booorriinnngg...!!

Then they're discovered and, instead of getting more interesting, it gets just full of miscommunication! They don't talk. Each of them make suppositions about what the other is thinking and, obviously, gets it all wrong!!!

But, apart from all that, I just couldn't warm to Marcel. He's such a cold fish, IMHO! I didn't like him. His way of dealing with grief was all wrong. He deserts his young children, he goes around chasing women, he doesn't do anything at all!

For all the author did to make me like him, I didn't buy it! He deserved to remain alone for another 15 years! He didn't deserve his happy end!

I could understand Viola better. At least she did have her reasons to be bitter. Her whole life was riuned by the men in her life: first her father and then her bigamous husband. I could see that too much love from her family could smother her and make her want to run away to deal by herself.

But, not everything was bad. I appreciated the family love. Their children were incredibly good. Neither was too much resentful and all of them loved their parents. That was good and I liked them!

Well, I'll read the next and decide then if I'll continue reading this series.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,679 reviews1,015 followers
May 1, 2018
B+ / 4.5 stars

This fourth book in Mary Balogh’s Westcott series is a gently moving and beautifully observed story about a woman trying to define herself and her purpose in life after the death of the man she had believed, for more than twenty years, to be her husband.  Readers familiar with the series will recall that the Westcotts were thrown into upheaval by the revelation that the head of the family, the Earl of Riverdale, had contracted his second marriage bigamously, rendering his son and two daughters illegitimate and his wife… not his wife at all.

Viola Kingsley had, when a much younger woman, been pretty much sold into marriage to Humphrey, the Ear of Riverdale, who was in desperate need of her large dowry.  For more than twenty years, she had been the perfect wife, mother and countess; composed, confident, poised and dignified, she had been widely respected and, in spite of the fact that her marriage was not at all happy, she had a comfortable life, children she adored, friends and such occupation as she desired.

Two years earlier, however, she discovered that her life had been based on a lie, that she was not and had never been the Countess of Riverdale at all, but that she had lived in sin with the Earl for more than two decades.  In shame and humiliation, and shunned by society, she fled with her daughters, Camille and Abigail, to her mother’s home in Bath and then, with Camille about to be married, Viola left Abigail with her mother and went to live with her brother, a country vicar, and re-assumed her maiden name.  But she couldn’t remain with her brother forever – and when she was reunited with the family, was surprised and touched when her husband’s legitimate daughter Anna (the Duchess of Netherby) asked her to return, with Abigail, to her previous home at Hinsford.  Viola has been a mess of roiling emotions for the past couple of years; feeling she has no right to be counted as one of the Westcott family, she has repeatedly tried to distance herself from them, only to be brought back to the fold by the generous and sympathetic group of people who, regardless of legalities, continue to regard Viola as one of their own.

At the end of the previous book, Someone to Wed , we learned that Viola had, without telling anyone where she was going, absented herself from the family gathering celebrating the birth of Camille’s son.  But Viola has finally snapped.  The love and acceptance she has encountered from her not-family is stifling her, and although she knows she is being incredibly ungrateful, she just can’t bear to be around them.  For two years she has tried to disappear into the background, maintaining a façade of quiet acceptance, internalising her own pain and suffering - and she can’t do it any more. She needs to figure out who and what she is – she has spent her forty-two years being a countess, a wife, a daughter, a mother… but who is she now?

When the hired carriage she is travelling in needs to be repaired, Viola breaks her journey at an inn, where she encounters someone she hasn’t seen in almost fifteen years – the austerely handsome and compellingly attractive Mr. Marcel Lamar, a man whose reputation as an inveterate womaniser has only grown over the years.  Their last encounter had been at a ball when Viola, who was deeply infatuated with Marc, but was nonetheless a faithful wife in spite of the unhappiness of her marriage, had rebuffed his flirtation and told him in no uncertain terms to leave her alone – and he took her at her word.

Marc has, for the past two years, been the Marquess of Dorchester, although it appears that Viola is unaware of this and still refers to him as “Mr.” – he doesn’t bother to correct her.  He is widely known to be a rake, reputed to be a man without a heart and doesn’t put himself out for anyone or anything.  He has stopped at an inn on his way to pay one of his semi-annual visits to his country seat where he will spend a couple of days with his twins, Bertrand and Estelle who are nearing their eighteenth birthdays, and then he will disappear back to London and his own life, leaving them in the capable hands of their aunt, to whom he entrusted them following his young wife’s death almost twenty years previously.

He is somewhat surprised to recognise Viola when she arrives at the inn, and not at all surprised to find that he is as attracted to her now as he was the last time he’d seen her.   They strike up a conversation and agree to spend the next day together, and Marc delights in watching Viola gradually breaking out of her carefully constructed shell of dignity and propriety to reveal a woman with a wonderful sense of the ridiculous, who does not stand on ceremony and, he suspects, is possessed of hidden depths of passion he very much hopes to explore.

If you’ve read the synopsis, you’ll know that Viola and Marc agree to run away together to indulge in a brief affair.  Both are running from their families for different reasons, which, in Marc’s case, prove to be especially heartbreaking.  For almost twenty years, he has denied himself the love and affection of his children and those around him because of the burden of guilt he carries over the death of his wife, believing himself to be an unworthy and unfit father.  He has deliberately isolated himself, indulging only in physical relationships and thinking himself incapable of falling in love… although of course, what Ms. Balogh does brilliantly is to show him doing just that while completely unaware of what’s happening -  or at least in very deep denial about it.

Equally brilliant is the way Ms. Balogh has so perfectly captured and conveyed Viola’s situation.  She needs time and space to work out who she is and where she goes from here, and much as she loves her daughters and other members of her extended family and feels guilty for not wanting to be with them, she knows she can’t continue as she has been doing and needs to break out of the rut.  I’m sure there are many women who will relate to her predicament whether it be in relation to the loss of a partner or “empty nest” syndrome; there comes a point when we realise we’ve been defining ourselves in one way for many years and that we’re a bit lost when we no longer fit that definition. I applauded Viola for wanting to take time for herself and for being selfish for probably the first time in her life.  She’s a grown woman – why shouldn’t she have an affair with a handsome man?  Provided they’re discreet, they’re hurting no-one - and they both know it’s a finite fling… don’t they?

The first half of the book, in which Viola and Marc embark upon their physical relationship and at the same time develop a friendship outside of the bedroom is beautifully done, peppered with moments of humour and tender affection, insight and longing.  In the second half, however, things start to run away a bit; I won’t spoil the storyline, but while there were things I really liked – such as meeting Marc’s children – there were others that struck me as a bit off, such as Marc jumping to a fairly unwarranted conclusion about Viola’s wishes.  His misguided attempt to protect her reputation is understandable, but there are too many fingers in too many pies, and I just wanted everyone to go home so that Marc and Viola could straighten things out between them without any more needless angst!

Had the second half of Someone to Care continued in the same vein as the first, I probably would be calling it my favourite of the series, but the weaker second half means it just misses that appellation. Still, it’s an excellent addition to the Westcott canon, and I, for one, was delighted to read a story featuring an attractive, vibrant heroine in her forties.  Ms. Balogh once again delivers a character-driven romance of great emotional depth and insight and I’m sure fans will enjoy it.
723 reviews306 followers
May 5, 2018
(Could) Someone (please help me) To Care about this story?

Again I seem to be missing my "sensitivity" chip while reading a Balogh HR. Instead of enjoying the heartwarming sentimentality of a story about love, family, and acceptance, I found myself annoyed and sometimes in danger of tooth decay from the sweetness I ingested here. One day this past week this story was offered at $1.99 so I snapped it up, since the usual price for a Balogh HR is a bridge too far for my budget. Well, even at that price I have buyer's remorse. Lordy, lordy, but this was tedious and repetitive and slow and annoying and tedious and repetitive and slow and annoying and tedious and repetitive... See, I told you. No sensitivity chip.

I guess I should have started with what's good about the story. It's that the H and h are mature individuals (39+ and 42 years of age, respectively). However, they're mature in years, not emotionally, so that positive aspect is somewhat nullified. Heroine Viola is the disgraced "widow" of the bigamous late Earl of Riverdale, who was married to another woman when he married her and hence her marriage and her three adult children have been de-legitimized. This all began in Book #1, SOMEONE TO LOVE.

At the beginning of this story #4, Viola is having an emotional crisis, even though things are going fairly well for her, with one daughter happily married, a son content to be off fighting in the Napoleonic Wars, and the youngest daughter doing fine at home with her. In addition, all family members both of her family and that of the late earl are kind and accepting of her. Of course, upper-crust London society wants nothing to do with her but this doesn't seem to be the problem. Viola wants to feel like a person in her own right, not just as a mother and grandmother. She wants to have someone to love and care for her as a woman.

So she runs off to be by herself for a while and accidentally meets up with our hero, Marcel Lamarr, the Marquess of Dorchester. They have a history, having met and been attracted to each other some 14 years ago when she was married and he was a womanizing widower. Now, in her emotionally-vulnerable state, she agrees to have an affair with him and they run off together to his cottage in Devon, where they have lots of sex and occasional outdoor recreation such as walks, runs down hills, or twirls on bridges.

Marcel, it must be noted, is an unrepentant libertine. But, of course, we will learn that the poor dear has a tragic backstory so we must all be forgiving of his "a$$wipery". Sorry. I can't do it. No excuse for leaving his twin babies, after the death of his wife, in the care of relatives and only visiting them twice a year up to the time of this story, some 16 years later. What kind of a father does this? And what does he do with all his time in these years that he is NOT spending with his children? Uses it in the pursuit of pleasure, and you know what that means. What a gem of a man. Yes, yes, he doesn't feel worthy of them or of love in general. I got that.

Well, the families of both Viola and Marcel descend upon them in surprise visits and Marcel feels himself obliged to declare that they are engaged to avoid ruining what little reputation Viola has left after what her miserable late husband did to her. But, of course, there must be scads of miscommunication, failure to communicate, etc. which causes each to doubt and misunderstand the other. And so on and so forth. Eventually it all gets worked out. Viola will feel cared for and Marcel will learn to appreciate family, forgive himself and not be such a jerk.

But, as I said earlier, this is all presented tediously, in Balogh's schoolmarm fashion which is even more schoolmarmish than usual. And there's too much village festival, Christmas preparations, way too much family, interminable internal rumination by both H and h, and too much failure to communicate. A good editor should have cut at least 50 pages out of this.

My apologies for this insensitive review.
Profile Image for Starr (AKA Starrfish) Rivers.
947 reviews274 followers
December 4, 2018
I always gobble up Ms. Balogh's writing in no time at all, and this is no different. I started this book mid morning and finished it this evening. Life can't come between me and her novels!

The reason this was not 5 stars is that I feel the plot and conflict is too overused. True, in these historical romances, the smallest misunderstanding could be blown out of proportion (ala Jane Austen and all her contemporaries), but I would like to see something more original. Two grown adults who get into a snit because one ended the affair before the other was ready and was hurt by it and then somehow get pushed back together by their meddling family is too often used. So I take points off for unoriginality.

But I leave 4 stars because I do enjoy the writing. The subtlty of emotions. The maturity of the characters, even though their misunderstanding is contrived. Love makes people of all ages behave stupidly, be more sensitive and selfish and childish (in the bad way) because love makes people insecure. So I get that part. I also like that Ms. Balogh writes about more mature couples. Slightly Dangerous was one of my favs by this author. I like reading about a man who is really a man, not a boy. Even tho when a man falls in love, he often becomes that insecure, vulnerable little boy again. And mature women, who know what they want and know the difference between love and infactuation.

Altho, 6-7 times in one night for a close-to-forty-year-old man? Hmm... that might be stretching belief. But this is fiction after all, and why I read it :)
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,403 reviews1,852 followers
November 14, 2018
Well, it's official. This series is not for me.

I had checked my expectations, despite my hope that this change of Wescott series scenery might improve things, and still I couldn't find the love. Because all the appeal of having protagonists in their forties was completely undone by having them behave more painfully, and stupidly, then the younger contemporaries in the books prior.

So, blah blah blah all the drama from the first three books, which has been rehashed to the nth degree (and of course was again for the entirety of this book, too), SOMEONE TO CARE focuses on Viola, the once-Countess, the not-wife of the Earl of Riverdale (who married her falsely, resulting in his committing bigamy and his children being illegitimate), who is feeling overwhelmed by the fact that the Westcotts and all connected family members still love her. Still want her around. Okay, that's a little bit of a harsh summation of things, but two years after the scandal she apparently hasn't dealt with it properly and storms off to be by herself.

In the course of that alone-time, she finds herself running into a flame from her past. Mr. Lamarr is a known rake, and fourteen years ago even tried to seduce Viola, though at the time she sent him away because she was (not) married and respectable and virtuous. As we hear constantly.

Now, though, she's Miss Kingsley, and he, Marcel, now the Marquess of Dorchester, is still very attracted to her despite the years and separation. It's nothing to him to suggest an affair but, surprisingly, she accepts. And they head off to the country for weeks of sex and mindless pleasure. Unfortunately the missives Viola sends to her family go astray and so of course there's panic and family members end up running all over the country trying to suss out where she's gone and with whom.

While the plot of this story greatly appealed to me, the characters did not. While I felt, for once, there was some strength to the intimacy of this novel, it was mostly because it was all vague and fade to black-y because there was no need to put the big momentous 'first time' on paper and, strangely, that mostly worked in Balogh's favour.

The secondary characters were, consistently, the busybodies they've always been and honestly I only cared about a single one of them.. when he finally showed up on the page. Everything from previous books, previous conversations, things literally from the previous chapter, are rehashed.. sometimes almost word for word. Which made dull passages even worse. And, unfortunately, when the time came for the big emotional reveal as to what makes Marcel the way he is (aka an unfeeling selfish tantrum-wielding dick), it fell totally flat and I did not care. Or forgive him.

Misunderstandings were dragged on but worse were the misconceptions because these two characters never addressed things. Never asked. Never.. ugh. I can't.

I am one hundred percent done with this series, and if not for praise of some of Balogh's standalones I would one hundred percent be done with the author, too. We just don't jive and I'm just not a fan of her style. And definitely not a fan of this family of characters. Any good is too vastly outweighed by everything I'm annoyed by. But I am pretty sure I'm in the minority on that so take this review the way any review should be taken : with a grain of salt.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,937 reviews1,552 followers
May 7, 2018
This is fourth in a series and you really should read the others first. There's a lot of emotionally relevant events and background that plays into this story and it works better if you have gone through them. The second (Someone to Hold) is of particular importance and Camille and Joel and their family are key to some important scenes.

I've been looking forward to this for months. So it is with sadness that I admit it isn't up to the standard of the others. I was looking forward to this because I knew it starred Viola and she's an extremely non-standard Regency heroine. She's 42, has grown children, and is a society outcast because of her previous non-marriage. I figured that's a lot of interesting things for Balogh to play with and expected it to be a great story.

Unfortunately, not so much. Oh, I was engaged with the first half. I loved meeting Marcel and their impetuously running away together. It was pretty clear from early on that their shared past mattered more than either cared to admit so I had reasonable hopes that this would be a nice second-chance/rediscovery thing with characters I liked. Because I did like them both quite a bit. I was a bit disgruntled that they seemed to have reverted to much younger people, though. I could understand their almost giddy interactions and was trying very much to forgive Viola for suddenly feeling like a kind-of naïve ingénue. Because, frankly, her life had been grim and she really had bypassed all that as a girl and I could read it as her reliving what she'd missed if I wanted to. And I did want to. But then it all went into the dungpile and I stopped caring.

The rest of this review is spoilery in the sense that it gives the flavor from the midpoint on. You want to read this to know what you're in for, but it'll kind of remove hope for better while you're reading. I'm sorry for that, but it can't be helped.

The thing is that from about the midpoint on, circumstances change and they each do a huge pull-back and the entire tension from then on is monotonous. It's not quite as bad as simply not communicating with each other. That problem is a painful nuisance when it comes after the characters have established a framework for communication and that's not the case here. Oh, they've shared an idyll but they haven't done much but escape for a while. You get the feeling that they're close to honestly sharing, but it doesn't happen. Which is fine at that point. Only then it goes on and on and on with the entire rest of the story only possible because neither has the courage to speak honestly to the other. Seriously, either one having even a lick of courage would short-circuit the rest of the book.

Okay, it really is quite as bad as not communicating with each other. Sigh. I felt for both because I bought the need for courage given the circumstances. Both had past wounds to protect and others to consider. They were both so sad, though. And then it just kept going on. And as it wore on, I gradually lost more and more respect. For both of them. Because continuing to hurt inside and projecting that hurt onto each other (sometimes innocently, sometimes not) without having the courage to step out of the pain cycle got old. By the time if finally culminated, the pain had grown to the point that it wasn't courage at all that motivated the eventual reconciliation—it was simply the most expedient way to stop hurting.

I was so sad when I finished this book. This series had been an outstanding read with all three previous books an unprecedented five stars. I hate to see that streak stop here. But it did. I'm keeping it at three stars because the beginning was so engaging and the second half still had some outstanding secondary characters and I particularly liked Marcel's twins and that Balogh didn't make the couple who raised them on his behalf into the caricatures a lesser author might have.

A note about Steamy: Some lovely explicit sex scenes put this approaching the middle of my steam tolerance, but not quite reaching it. Mostly because they're clumped up and aren't terribly long when all's said. Seeing Viola take on new experiences so openly, even courageously, deluded me into thinking she'd be brave and forthright, though, so I feel a bit cheated by them, in the end.
Profile Image for Sonya Heaney.
Author 5 books36 followers
July 3, 2018
Originally posted HERE .

I love that the US cover shows an important location in the story. Mary Balogh gets great covers.

Readers have had a lot of different reactions to this book, as I would expect seeing as the two lead characters are so unconventional for the historical romance genre. That said, I loved Someone to Care a lot, and will go back to some parts of it again and again. It made me feel things.

The first half of the book is particularly strong. It’s an emotional story about a woman in her forties who has never been able to make a choice for herself in life until now, and when she does it all goes horribly wrong.

Viola is a mother and a grandmother, but nobody sees her beyond that. She was a countess until her marriage was declared void because of her husband’s bigamy, and now she has no standing in society and no idea what is ahead of her.

One thing that makes Mary Balogh one of the best authors in the genre is that she refuses to modernise her Regency world. She writes HISTORICAL romance, and it’s so much better for it. We get the society and the societal restrictions. Balogh doesn’t present us with her feminism by putting her heroines in breeches and sending them stumbling through ballrooms like bulls in china shops; instead she shows us the constraints women lived under and how they got around those strict rules to find happiness.

Because of this, we get to see the hypocrisy surrounding Viola’s situation, and feel the full effect of the oppression she lives under. Marcel has spent seventeen or so years running around England and indulging in any and all vices, and not once has he been forced into a situation he doesn’t want.

And yet Viola – at forty-two – finally takes a chance to do something for herself, and that one decision has massive consequences.

I read historical fiction to read about another world, and Balogh, Madeline Hunter, and a few others (but not nearly enough of them) take me there.

I think this could just about be called a reunion romance, as the characters loved each other in the past, but could do nothing about it. I felt connected to this pair (even when Marcel was disguising his hurt behind cruel words), and invested in them finding a way back to each other by the end.

For readers new to the series, I think you could very much enjoy the first half of the book. However, then the other characters arrive, and you’re going to be overwhelmed. There are several dozen characters to keep track of, and I don’t think that’s going to work for someone who hasn’t come into the Westcott family in book one.

The overpopulation in the second half is my only complaint about Someone to Care, but because of how much it made me feel at the start, I’m forgiving it.

Review copy provided by NetGalley.
Profile Image for Jaci.
465 reviews19 followers
April 11, 2018
If you keep up with my blog you know that I am a huge Mary Balogh Fan, I have read everything she has written and loved them all. This story goes to my 3rd favorite, behind Heartless and Slightly Dangerous. Marcel Lamarr, Marquess of Dorchester is the perfect hero for Viola Kingsley. In some ways, Marc reminds me of Lucas (Heartless) and Wulfric (Slightly Dangerous).

He is unapologetic in the way that he chooses to live his life. He is beautiful in a dangerous way without a care for others. He is arrogant, subtle in his speech and irresistible to women. He takes what he wants and moves on when he gets bored. He is not interested in reforming and is brazen in his appetites. He was married when he was 20 years old, his wife 18. He has twins, a boy, and a girl. His wife died in a tragic accident which has shaped his life and everyone in it. He is 40 years old and has spent little time with his family or his children. He has buried his past and all the emotions that led to his wife's death. His sister-in-law and her husband moved into his home and has raised his children. He only goes home when he feels he must put in an appearance and never stays long, the feelings that try to emerge send him fleeing back to London.

Viola Kingsley is a tainted woman. Her husband of 20 years apparently was married before they met and married Viola before his first wife died. Which meant they were never legally married and her children were made illegitimate. She hasn't been seen in Society in a long time. Viola has always been the perfect lady. It was an arranged marriage and she never even liked him, but she did her duty and never complained when he took mistresses and gambled away his son's inheritance. She has always been the perfect wife and mother. Where did that ever get her?

A chance meeting in an out of the way Inn where both Marc and Viola are running away from their family and the guilt that drives them. They knew each other when they were both in London pretending to enjoy the Season. Marc saw something in Viola that made him pursue her even though she was married. Viola was young and lonely and fell in love with Marc, but she would never have an affair and sent him away. Marc persuades Viola to run away with him for a week of being free of all their cares and of pleasures that she has never had before.

The journey that Marc and Viola take through this is a story is so profound. It is filled with sadness, guilt, regret, and discovery. The fears they discover are ones that they have buried for years. The greatest one is that it is not too late. They can try to redeem themselves and embrace their feelings and those of the people who have always loved them, flaws and all.

This is vintage Mary Balogh, I cannot even tell how many times I cried in the last five chapters of this story. Mary has a way of letting you into the minds and hearts of her characters that you feel what they feel. All of her characters are memorable and her stories ones that you will read over and over, year after year. If you are new to Historical Romance, I highly recommend you start with Mary's books. Mary is the standard for all Authors of Historial Romance to emulate.
Profile Image for Sabina.
24 reviews
October 15, 2018
This was another lovely novel by Mary Balogh. She’s become one of my favorite historical romance authors as she writes so well and always gives me a good story. I especially love how she does waltz scenes (so romantic). Very sweet!
Profile Image for Wollstonecrafthomegirl.
472 reviews203 followers
April 20, 2020
This book has left me annoyed. Annoyed by an overwhelming sense of what could’ve been.

There is so much promise here. Prim and proper Viola - over 40(!) still reeling from her world being cast asunder after the revelation that her shitty marriage was bigamous and thus both shitty and not even a marriage.

Then there’s Marc (refusing to call him Marcel which is the name of a monkey or a French mime and not a romance hero for godssake), also older, just turned 40, but younger than Viola (!!). Determined rake, but somewhat stoic with it because of his tragic past.

They’ve met before and were nearly lovers The first half of this book is delightful. They run into one another and rekindle their relationship. Finally they are both free to have a good time with each other. Viola is willing to throw caution to the wind and run away to enjoy herself with a man, for once. Marc is kidding himself into thinking he can just enjoy a passionate affair with a woman he’s always wanted when, in reality, she’s the one woman he’s always wanted and she’s finally available.

The whole book should’ve been this - the rekindling of the lust and the slow blossoming into a true romance with arguments and growth and character focus. And better developed sex scenes.

Instead, that novel happens in the first 43% and is far, far too rushed and then, as always seems to happen with this series: the Westcotts turn up. All 482 of them.

There is an honest to God interlude in this book around half way through where Balogh checks in on each of member of the family - with a page or so dedicated to what they’re doing at that moment. A Westcott montage, if you will.

During the interlude, they all decide to descend on our H/h like Shit Avengers, except instead of spandex and superhero names, they bring corsets and titles. So. Many. Titles.

None of them are memorable and reciting the relationships between this small army of people and bringing them into the story takes up precious words which should be spent: oh, I don’t know? Developing the romance? Just an idea.

So the back half of this book becomes about a cast of thousands and our H/h barely spend any time together and decide they can’t be together for: reasons and then change their minds for: reasons.

And so, all my goodwill was lost.

I read this l straight through. It’s better than the average fare. But still: 3 generous, annoyed stars.
Profile Image for Ira.
1,062 reviews91 followers
Want to read
November 22, 2017
I can’t wait to read Viola’s story.
Is about time to read a real woman with real story, not just a teenage girl pretend to be an adult’s story! LOL 😂
We got glimpses of her tragic situations from previous books and that teaser at the end of Someone to Wed? You very meanie Ms. Balogh, asked us to wait that long 😫😫.
Profile Image for kris.
937 reviews187 followers
July 4, 2022
Viola Kingsley was once the Countess of Riverdale before she discovered her marriage was invalid. Two years after that terrible revelation, she ends up fleeing her family—and falls into the arms (and onto the boner) of Marcel Lamarr (now a Marquess), an old flirt who has reappeared at just the right moment. After a delightful, boner-filled interlude their families descend and ruin this romance entirely.

1. OKAY, SO. I am about to rant in about 14 different directions which means I suspect none of them are going to be very coherent or interesting. WHOOPS.

2. I was so excited about a romance novel centered around a woman in her 40s—an ENTIRE romance novel, not just a novella or short. I was excited to focus on Viola, on her pain and growth and strength. I was excited for her to discover (or rediscover) love. I was excited about a more mature, nuanced look at loving and choosing to love and the melding of established lives and habits and family.

Did we get any of that? NOPE.

3. Viola starts off "snapping" during a family gathering in Bath, and then never really grapples with it again. Her frustration over the smothering nature of her family is all there in the text, but the text doesn't DO anything with it. It's left as a thread that gets kind of half-assedly acknowledged during OTHER half-assedly acknowledged emotional bullshit, but it 'resolves' itself by Viola choosing to refold herself into the bosom of her family.

4. There's a part of me that wants to critique this for being a second-chance romance, but I'm not sure I can even call it that, honestly: it's all handled so badly. Like, did Viola and Marc really establish a connection 14 years ago? They tell me they did, but I can't say I believe them. Like, at all. Especially since it's so easily broken by one misunderstanding that's so clearly about a lot of miscommunicated feelings.

But I'm leaving this point in because if it WAS trying to be a second-chance romance: it was bad.

5. I'm also mad at this book because we've gotten to know Viola over 3 previous books, and instead of delving into that pre-established character, we're given surface level characterization for BOTH Viola AND Marcel, which is: terrible. Especially for Marcel because he doesn't live up to ANY expectations, either as a hero in his own right or more specifically as Viola's heroine.

6. The running away together piece was interesting and I think set up a romance that could have been quiet and careful (the earmarks of Balogh's particular style, I think): instead, it's all unraveled by the angry, childish antics of two humans who refuse to be honest with either themselves or each other until driven to it by the unhappiness they're foisting on their children. Like, what the actual fuck.

Imagine, instead, a quiet vulnerable conversation at the cottage where they lay their cards on the table: they are not tiring of one another, but the boundaries of their arrangement have become known. Viola misses her family, and Marcel is struggling with the fact that this is not a struggle. So they agree to go home, but not to part—and then begins the work of establishing a common language and set of expectations for building a life together. And they re-examine their existing lives and can still effect change but in a more positive, intentional manner. And then they get married and live happily ever after!

7. A final edit to mention the travesty that was Camille. What have they done to you, oh proud and awkward heroine?
Profile Image for Jan.
880 reviews169 followers
September 27, 2019
Overall rating, 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. The first half of this book was better for me than the second half. I give 4 stars for the first half, maybe 3 stars for the second half. Hence my overall rating.

I've read 3 of the books in this series now, and for me this has been the best one. Although it still shares a couple of the failings of the others.

I liked the trope to begin with - a lonely, widowed marquess, a bit of a playboy. Had met the h years ago when she was still 'married'. They're both attracted at the time, but it didn't come to anything. He's nearly 40 years old now. Viola, in her early 40s, is a 'kind of' widow, but as we know from earlier books, it turned out she'd never actually been married, as she was unwittingly 'married' to a bigamist, who is now dead.

So. Two lonely older people who knew and liked each other once before. And now they randomly meet again when they're both stranded at a country inn. And so it begins. Their old attraction flares, and they decide to run away together, having a mad and wonderful couple of weeks at an isolated cottage in beautiful Devon.

Up to this point, I was really enjoying the read. I could understand the depths of Viola's depression and her desperate need to get away from her almost too-caring family. Marcel, the H, was mature and sexy and I could see his appeal for Viola.

But once their magical escapade was over, the story started to lose its edge for me. And, like in the other Westcott books, there seemed to be waaayyyy too many secondary characters who all had to have their moment. At least having read some of the other books, I now have a fair idea who all of these people are. But the repeated listing of all of the players, and who was coming to which event, and who had replied to which invitation etc etc grew a little tedious. By that point I was starting not to care.

I also started to have some serious reservations about Marcel. His wife had died quite early in their marriage, and their twins were then raised by a rather dour relative who took them on out of kindness and duty. The twins are now seventeen. I struggled with the fact the Marcel barely knows his own children, and has had very little to do with them over the years, instead spending his time living the high life and screwing around with a bevy of women. And now they're practically grown-up. We do learn more about Marcel's back story later on, and I guess it wouldn't have been that uncommon a scenario, but I found myself losing my liking for Marcel a little.

There was a fair bit of shilly-shallying around, with slightly tedious miscommunications meaning both H and h realised they were in love, but thought the other wasn't. *sigh* I'm a bit over that trope. Just talk to each other, peeps.

But the ending, at a snowy Christmas, was rather sweet. Overall, quite a nice Balogh, but IMO not the best by this author.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
1,467 reviews236 followers
June 6, 2018
Someone to Care is another delightful book in the Someone series by Mary Balogh. We met Viola in the first book where she had just found out she was no longer who she thought she was. Apart from being a mother and grandmother.

When the stress of the past few years catches up with Viola she escapes the family for a brief respite. She walks right into Marcel, a person she felt rather attracted to many years ago but had not acted upon it because she believed she was married. Together now they experience a wild and passionate and joyful time until...

What follows is a chapter of mistakes and unrevealed feelings and thoughts. Marcel makes one rather quick decision that lands him in trouble and from which there seems no return - but there is and as it turns out he reaches a turning point that will change his life and that of many others as well.

This is a story about truly caring and holding a person as someone to respect and treat well. Viola says " It seems to me there has never been anyone who cares about me, the person who dwells within the daughter and mother and all the rest. No one even knows me. Everyone thinks they do, but no one really does. Sometimes it feels as though I even do not know myself." The novel is about discovering who you really are, not just a list of labels like wife, mother, Countess and so on.

I really enjoyed the first half of the book, a little disappointed with the second half as it reverted into the trappings of society and Marcel and Viola suddenly change from the carefree wonderful people we have come to know. However in saying that the mistakes and acting out of hurt then resulted in both characters, and especially Marcel growing and becoming the person he really was meant to be.

So a story about older characters, in their early forties and and a whole cast of beloved family characters made this book another great addition to the series.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,854 reviews846 followers
May 4, 2018
3.5 Stars

Viola Kingsley used to be the Countess of Riverdale until she found out the marriage was invalid since her late husband was already married to another woman. She and her children lost the title and fortune, but in the time since her family has rallied around her, and her children have come through remarkably well. Still, Viola hasn’t really dealt with her feelings about the whole situation and suddenly, she’s feels the need to escape the family gathering she’s attending. Hiring a carriage and fleeing for home, she becomes stranded in a small town when the carriage breaks down.

This is where she runs into Marcel Lamarr, The Marquess of Dorchester, and prior acquaintance. The man was temptation personified, but as a married woman, as she thought, Viola turned him down. Now seeing him again, fourteen years later, his appeal hasn’t diminished. They run off together, both trying to escape life temporarily, and they do, for a while.

Mary Balogh is one of my favorite historical romance writers, and I’ve loved all the stories in this Westcott series. Viola and Marcel have aches in their heart each escape by running away together and enjoying each other’s company, both physically and mentally. They have meaningful conversations, steamy nights, and grow closer than they thought possible. The cottage in Devonshire where they spent their time was dreamily described and sounded gorgeous!

I was a little disappointed Viola and Marcel kept their true feelings, both deeper than they wanted to admit, from each other. It was obvious to everyone that they loved each other, but their pride and worry over being more hurt stopped them from sharing what was in their heart and it went on longer than I would’ve liked. I’m thrilled with how it all turned out at any rate, and although this wasn’t my favorite installment, I still heartily recommend it.

A copy was kindly provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.

This review is also posted at The Readers Den.
Profile Image for Simply Love Book Reviews.
6,949 reviews827 followers
April 30, 2018

Someone to Care isn’t your typical romance but is one of a mature couple finding passion and love for the first time. Both main characters had disastrous first marriages and have been walking different paths before they saw each other again. Viola Kingsley is a widowed former countess who has lost everything and throws caution to the wind for a sexual dalliance with Marcel Lamarr, the Marquess of Dorchester. Marcel has become a rogue to the highest order after the death of his first wife and was smitten with Viola 14 years ago when he first set sight on her. Viola turned him away all those years ago but can she now accept him for what he is and have a walk on the wild side for once in her life?

This was a wonderful story to see how these two lost souls find love but they realize there is more to them than what they think, and how family really means something after all. Marcel has only thought of himself for so long and puts his enjoyment above his duty and family. He has had many women, and now that he’s been with Viola, she isn’t what he expected. He didn’t grow tired of her and that puzzled him. Ever since Viola’s world turned upside when she found out her marriage was bigamous, she went through the motions but finally had enough. She cracked and needed to run away from her life and be alone. Was it fate that threw Marcel in her path on her way home? She thought so and took a chance to have a fling and do something for just herself. Unfortunately, both their families found out about their tryst and Marcel and Viola are caught up in drama and doing the right thing. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons isn’t always the way to go, as both Marcel and Viola found out. Thankfully it all worked out in the end.

The author has done a wonderful job creating a love story for two very deserving individuals who do a lot of reflecting on how to proceed forward with their relationship. I love that their families play a small part in this and cheer for them to get their act together. Mary Balogh is one of my favorite historical romance writers and this story spoke to me. Someone to Care is a highly engaging and contemplating story for historical romance readers. It’s never too late to find love and get a second chance at happiness.
Profile Image for steph .
1,212 reviews72 followers
June 14, 2018
Oh Balogh.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. I have felt such a kinship with Viola since the first novel and I have eagerly awaited her turn at romance. But after reading this book and reflecting on it, I have to say her romance, to put it bluntly, kind of sucked.

That all said, I ended up liking this book overall. I just wanted to LOVE it and I did not which disappointed me. My expectations were sadly too high.
Profile Image for Dorine.
600 reviews31 followers
July 2, 2018
Mary Balogh is one of the few authors who always meets my expectations. The fourth novel in the Wescott regency historical romance series, SOMEONE TO CARE by Mary Balogh, meets those expectations and exceeds them in several ways.

I love Mary Balogh’s characters. They make me laugh. Their idiosyncrasies are so realistic and fun. Starting this novel at a small-town festival, where neither of these characters would normally visit, gives such a lightness and frivolity to their time together. It’s really entertaining. I was so happy to be back in this world so eloquently created.

Having said that, as an avid historical romance fan, the Regency era is my least favorite period to read. I’ve become extremely picky about how many Regencies I accept to review and rarely buy them as a comfort read. Mary Balogh is always a comfort read and I beg to review every book she writes. I just know that no matter how difficult her characters are to love because of their initial faults, I will love their resolution. Even the petty ways of the Ton that often annoy me end up amusing me in a Balogh creation.

Marcel Lamarr, the Marquess of Dorchester, initially comes across as a great bore, which are usually my favorite types of Balogh characters. His quizzing glass raises in a haughty manner within the first paragraph, immediately proving he’s going to be a pistol. I couldn’t wait to discover which woman was going to mess with his heart and calm his boorish tendencies.

Marcel’s brother, Andre, is a nice compliment to Marcel’s demeanor. Andre is full of humor and mischief, much to Marcel’s annoyance. The oldest brother at 40 years, Marcel has a reputation that elicits fear. He may be popular with the ladies, but the broken hearts left behind might scare a woman hoping for a bright future.

To further my dislike for Marcel, he left his twin babies with his wife’s sister and husband to care for after his wife’s death. Oh, he provided for them well financially, but he only visited them shortly twice a year. At eighteen years old, these twins who love him anyway are almost adults, ready to spread their wings.

Even though Marcel is currently traveling home due to an unfortunate incident with another man’s wife, the reader gets a glimpse of who he really is as the story progresses. That other man’s wife may have made a mountain out of a molehill. Then there are all those relatives currently living off Marcel’s good nature at one of his homes, several of them uninvited moochers.

Yet again, the cad is someone I started rooting for before the end of the first chapter.

When Viola, the former Countess of Riverdale, ends up at the same inn as Marcel and his brother, Marcel can’t believe his luck. This is one of the few women who refused his overtures early in his life. Viola is no less attractive, maybe even more so, to Marcel now. Those who have been following this series will recognize her as the reclusive Miss Kingsley, who was married to the bigamous Earl of Riverdale, and lost everything upon his death with the discovery of his true heir.

These two are adorable together. I’m in love with the setting of their destination. They made me laugh and smile hugely as they got to know one another. Scandalous and lovely sweet. I’m sure the Marquess of Dorchester would be appalled if anyone said how cute they are together.

I loved this book. There are so many tender moments. I especially enjoyed the last few chapters and the end. There are some wonderful quotable snippets in there I’d love to reveal, but I really want you to discover them for yourself. I think those who love an older couple who have experienced life beyond comprehension will adore their journey.

Although this book could easily be read on its own without reading the prior books, you will appreciate Viola’s happily-ever-after even more if you follow her journey from beginning to end. Start with SOMEONE TO LOVE, where you’ll discover Viola’s most horrifying moment. Find out what happens to some of her relatives in SOMEONE TO HOLD and SOMEONE TO WED. I believe you’ll understand her progression and lack of caring about what others think of her by the time you get to SOMEONE TO CARE. I didn’t agree with all their choices, and they sometimes made me mad, but I absolutely love this couple’s happy-ever-after.

In the end, my recommended read status for this novel is in reflection of the engaging settings and characters. I was entertained from the first page to the last. This book is not filled with action, but the interaction with the characters is told at a pace I love. Mary Balogh has a talent I must applaud for her ability to replicate human nature articulately.

A recommended read!

Review by Dorine, courtesy of Romance Junkies. ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review.
Profile Image for StMargarets.
2,818 reviews473 followers
March 11, 2021
Alternate title: Mama Wescott has a mid-life crisis.

This romance centers around the woman who lived in a bigamous relationship and had three illegitimate children and didn't realize it until her husband's death. After this fall from grace, she left her two grown daughters with her mother in Bath and lived with her clergyman brother for awhile.

When the story opens she has just fled the Christening of her grandchild (H/h from book #2) because ??? Mid-life crisis.

Her coach breaks an axle so she has to stay at an inn in an obscure village that is observing a rowdy harvest festival. Also at the inn - our hero who has been "raking" through the ton for 20 years - ever since his young wife died. He tried to flirt with the heroine 15 years before, but she rebuffed him (and never forgot him).

Yes, he's handsome, sensitive and selfish - catnip to a disgraced woman in full mid-life crisis. They attend the harvest fair together. They go to bed. They decide to run away for a dirty weekend (fortnight, actually) and all is well until . . .

Their kids (hero has twins who are 17) and family find them. Hero offers to marry heroine - end of story right?

No, here it got silly. (And lost a star) Heroine thinks he doesn't love her. Hero thinks she doesn't love him. Even though the families get along well, they decide to call it off.

But don't despair - the story ends at Christmas which in MB land is a time of fluffy snow, plenty of food and laughter, and mid-winter miracles.

I peeked ahead at book #5 and it picks up on Christmas day with the next H/h in the queue.
Profile Image for Μαρία Γεωργοπούλου.
Author 4 books82 followers
October 21, 2018
"You told me to stay away," he said. "But that was fifteen years or so ago. Was there a time limit?"

Αυτή ήταν η φράση που με έκανε να χάσω το μυαλό μου με αυτό το βιβλίο! Αγάπησα την ιστορία γιατί δείχνει πως η ευτυχία δεν έρχεται μόνο σε συγκεκριμένες ηλικίες. Η Viola και ο Marcel είναι σίγουρα ένα ζευγάρι που έκανε πολλά λάθη (κυρίως γιατί δεν φρόντισαν να κάνουν τις σωστές ερωτήσεις μεταξύ τους) αλλά τους αξίζει η ευτυχία!
Profile Image for Phoenix77.
347 reviews42 followers
May 31, 2018
I just couldn't get into this story. There was very little to like about Marcel and I felt like his kids were more mature than he was. Viola was little better but the traumas she'd experienced in her adult life gave her a bit more leeway in regressing into a childlike irresponsibility. Mary Balogh has written several "Older than average" romances in her career but this one felt forced. Overall a disappointment and may have put me off reading the next book in the series.
Profile Image for stl_reader.
87 reviews7 followers
May 15, 2018

As a baby boomer, I was initially thrilled that Ms. Balogh was giving us an older heroine. And I had hopes for the novel, though it started a bit slowly. (Though that’s fairly common for the author’s novels–they progress at a rather “stately” rate.) The premise sounded interesting.

But man, this story let me down big time.

I was BORED. And as far as I'm concerned, the story bordered on Women’s Fiction instead of Romance. Plus there was soooo much “telling” and not “showing.” (which I have found to be a trend in the author’s more recent novels).

I wanted to see a lot more interaction between the H/h once they were found out by their families. For example, why not let them discover, after the initial anger, embarrassment, etc., that they actually still wanted to be together very much, but perhaps one or both feared tying the knot, or the scandal of being exposed should they continue their affair, and *that* could have provided the central conflict...

Instead, the story remained in this “he/she got tired of me before I was ready, but I’m hurt anyway, but I knew it would happen, so I just need to move on, but it’s hard, but I have to, but I'm hurt …” loop for endless pages. (I’m not a fan of the “Big Misunderstanding” trope, which we have a variation of here.)

Normally, I love that Balogh is an author who gives us a view into her characters’ minds. But in this case, there was too much repeated internal dialogue.

So, in a nutshell, you have a "romance" novel where the H/h have a brief affair, but always keep themselves emotionally and mentally at a distance from each other in anticipation of the inevitable affair's end. This mutual distancing continues right until the end of the book. The distance is not only mental and emotional, it's physical, since for the last half of the book the H/h are hardly ever together. (Or it seemed that way to me.)

Profile Image for Jess.
2,863 reviews5 followers
May 19, 2018
I was really disappointed with this, all the more so because I was looking forward to it. I just didn't understand where the love came into the equation, and I know I was supposed to buy a forgotten youthful passion, but it didn't click for me at all.

And the too large family that this series features REALLY grated in this one, for me. Families don't need to live in each other's pockets like that!!! God, I would run away too.
Profile Image for Debby *BabyDee*.
1,172 reviews61 followers
March 17, 2019
This the 4th book in the series was a bit dry and slow for me. I love MB but this did not spark too much for me although the narration was on key.

I thought it was enjoyable but gradually finished. I did come close the putting it away until later but continued.

Profile Image for Candace.
879 reviews
November 24, 2021
It started out as a fling, but quickly escalated into a betrothal upon the arrival of both their families. But Viola Kingsley doesn't want to marry Marcel Lamarr, though she does love him. Why just before the arrival of their families she was telling him it was time she returned to her family. Thus ending their affair. Marcel, in a moment of nobility, announces their betrothal, though he himself did not want to marry her, even though he thought he loved Viola. What a tangle. According to society rules, she must be the one to break the betrothal, but when would be the best time to do it before his and her families? He is hurt. She is hurt. But can love win out past their stubbornness.

The second-chance love story between Viola Kingsley and Marcel Lamarr, Marquis of Dorchester, is a slow, building love between two mature adults. All the Wescott, Kingsley, Cunningham, and Lamarr families descend upon the couple at their betrothal celebration. Viola is emotionally feeling sick to her stomach, and Marcel is feeling rejected and depressed. The truth must be spoken before their families because it would be a mistake to marry each other. Or would it? The characterization is superbly written. With all the characters, it helps to keep track of them by having read the previous novels in the series. This book is not a standalone. The plot was simple. The descriptions well-written. The settings were grounded by the main characters. The pacing was slow, to the point I became frustrated with it and said, "Come on. Let's pick it up." The HEA was worth the slow pacing, internal monologues and the blocks of narratives. I'm looking forward to the next novel in the Wescott series, Someone to Trust.
Profile Image for Amarilli 73 .
2,208 reviews72 followers
July 18, 2020
Decisamente questa serie non è uniforme, troppi alti e bassi. Non so se dipenda dallo stile più "maturo" della Balogh, però la preferivo più spontanea, irriverente, anche caustica.
Non è che prima fosse meno introspettiva, però i personaggi saltavano fuori dalla carta, le emozioni le percepivi dai loro gesti, dai dialoghi anche dolorosi. Non amo quando tutto viene invece spiegato, con un ribadire un concetto per giustificare ogni azione.

Prendiamo il romanzo dedicato a Viola Kingsley.
Al di là del fatto che la protagonista è over 40 (e finalmente, visto che comunque le lettrici forse si riconoscono più in lei, che non nella solita sedicenne debuttante), fin dall'inizio saga aveva moltissimo da dire: se in generale i Westcott sono stati scornati dalla morte del precedente conte, perdendo averi, titoli e posto nel ton, Viola è la più scornata di tutti. Per quanto avesse sempre chiuso un occhio e tollerato le mancanze del marito, non si aspettava certo che non fosse neppure suo marito! Così come deve essersi sentita morire nel momento in cui, volendo compiere una buona azione, ha innescato la madre delle rovine nobiliari.
Insomma, nei libri precedenti l'avevamo vista passare dalla contessa sdegnosa all'ex-nobile decaduta che si leccava le ferite tentando di resistere per amore dei figli, sino a sbroccare di brutto, dando (per fortuna) sfogo alla sua umanità, piuttosto che alla durezza irreprensibile.

E infatti c'è un inizio col botto, Viola per la prima volta sceglie il cuore e l'istinto, fa la classica "stupidata" da adolescente una volta nella vita e si concede una fuga da adulti molto intrigante. Marcel mi è piaciuto subito, è il tipo sensuale e schietto adatto a questa pazzia. E la seconda occasione mi stava piacendo tantissimo.

Però poi il romanzo ha una battuta d'arresto oggettiva, con continui interventi del parentado (di entrambi), che si mette in viaggio, che legge le lettere, che accetta gli inviti... pietà, ogni volta la Balogh interviene per dirci chi è e con chi è sposato e cosa sta facendo quando apre la busta...
Nella parte finale, ci sono assurde ripetizioni, come il racconto della dipartita della prima moglie, ripetuto per due volte con le stesse identiche parole e a distanza ravvicinata. Ammetto che volevo saltare il brodo per arrivare al pezzo di carne in fondo, ovvero i due.

Alla fine, peraltro, questa coppia, è una delle più riuscite della serie (insieme a Camille e Joel): le scene di Marcel e Viola che passano le giornata nel lettone al calduccio restano la parte più bella del libro.
Profile Image for Angela.
246 reviews9 followers
May 17, 2018
I can accept I'm in the minority with this review, because honestly, it was a chore to finish the book. As a MB fan (and a fan on the series) I can say I'm disappointed.

The good: MB is good about giving us main characters that don't fit the normal HR mold. I like that Marc and Viola are mature (in age, at least), and that I didn't have to read about an 18 year old romance. I also like Marc's character growth. One of the themes is about family: unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness. This is done well.

The not-so-good: Reading this book was like slowly pulling my hair out, one individual strand at a time. It was tedious, and boring. There's way too much time spent in the character's heads, and they feel pretty sorry for themselves throughout. The dialogue wasn't particularly witty or engaging, and both characters mope around for the bulk of the story. Nobody can come out and say what they're thinking or feeling - assuming they can even figure out what they think or feel (we have paragraphs and pages and heaps of useless, wishy-washy words). And, because we need even more words, there's a point towards the end when the story literally repeats itself word for word.

Definitely not the best in the series.
Profile Image for Katie.
2,667 reviews144 followers
August 2, 2018
SIGH. Okay, the first half of this is really good! Running away together! Having fun!!!

And then, you know, NOT TALKING TO EACH OTHER FOR THE REST OF THE BOOK. I liked a lot that these were older characters, but that just made the not talking to each other worse. You learn a LITTLE as you grow older.

Also, hahahahaha, there are MORE minor characters!!!!! I've been able to kind of ignore the issue in the previous books because you can kind of tell which ones were the major minor characters, so I didn't care I didn't know who some people were, but the hero brought along his own family and it's just ridiculous.
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