Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Someone to Cherish by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott #8
Published by Berkley on June 29, 2021
Genres: Historical Romance
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When Harry Westcott lost the title Earl of Riverdale after the discovery of his father's bigamy, he shipped off to fight in the Napoleonic Wars, where he was near-fatally wounded. After a harrowing recovery, the once cheery, light-hearted boy has become a reclusive, somber man. Though Harry insists he enjoys the solitude, he does wonder sometimes if he is lonely.
Lydia Tavernor, recently widowed, dreams of taking a lover. Her marriage to Reverend Isaiah Tavernor was one of service and obedience, and she has secretly enjoyed her freedom since his death. She doesn't want to shackle herself to another man in marriage, but sometimes, she wonders if she is lonely.
Both are unwilling to face the truth until they find themselves alone together one night, and Lydia surprises even herself with a simple question: "Are you ever lonely?" Harry's answer leads them down a path neither could ever have imagined..
The last of the younger generation of Westcotts to get his romance, and one I’ve anticipated since the very first book when his life went to pieces and he slowly put himself back together. A powerful series seems to be coming to a close and I’ve enjoyed the long romantic, and sometimes painful journey, with this endearing family.
Someone to Cherish is the eighth book in the Westcott series and reads best in order so all those family names and relationships and mentions of the past make more sense.
Harry Westcott started out the only son of an earl and anticipated a future of a title and wealth surrounded by family in the upper crust of English society. Then the unthinkable happens. He learns his father was already married and Harry’s mother was never married to the earl, meaning he and his two sisters aren’t even legitimate. What’s more, they have nothing- no family title, wealth, or home.
While it turned out that his newly discovered half-sister is ready to share and embrace family, Harry wanted far away from the debacle so he joined the army. War seasoned and matured him, but peace and coming home have left him somewhat adrift- lonely, in truth. But, he has no desire to have his earnest and well-meaning relations setting him up for marriage. Harry wants love, but he suspects, for him, it is not to be found in London society. And, he would be right.
Recently widowed former vicar’s wife, Lydia Tavernor, is done being controlled by the men in her life. None were cruel, but that doesn’t change her wish to retain control of her own life. Thus, moving back to her father’s house or even entering a second marriage are not options she will consider. But, that doesn’t mean she isn’t lonely for relations with a man. Lydia looks about her and the friendly, kind smiles of Major Westcott have her settling on this single gentleman for her choice.
This pair are both damaged in their own ways and this slow-burn, gently paced romance tells their tale of slipping into romance without wishing to and overcoming their reservations about matrimony even while well-meaning friends and family insist on ‘helping’.
Someone to Cherish is low angst and, I confess, missing a little sparkle and tension like previous series books. I liked the pair, but I guess I wanted more to challenge them. In the end, I was moderately pleased and hope for maybe Marcel’s twins to get their story before the series closes for good. It’s a heartwarming, thoughtful, mildly spicy and well-developed historical romance that I’d describe as ‘old school’ in a good way and part of a series I can highly recommend.
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