Someone to Hold
By Mary Balogh
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Joel Cunningham’s life has also changed. He has left his days as a struggling artist behind him and is enjoying considerable success as a painter of portraits. A larger income has allowed him to move into a more commodious set of rooms and to be more selective about the commissions he accepts. However, he refuses to give up the two days a week that he volunteers to teach art at the orphanage school. He views his time with these students as a mission as much about fostering their imagination and power to dream as about art. Even in the absence of Anna Snow, his friend during the years they were growing up together in the orphanage and later the woman he loved, he remains committed to the orphans. He is not pleased to learn that Camille has taken the teaching position. Despite interactions with the children that suggest she is less rigid and humorless than he thought, Joel cannot excuse her arrogance or her unkindness to his dear Anna.
Although Camille and Joel clash at first, in part because each clings to misperceptions of the other, closer acquaintance reveals their errors and stirs an attraction that grows as they spend more time together. But baggage from their separate pasts must be dealt with before these two can claim their deserved HEA.
Someone to Hold is the second book in Mary Balogh’s Westcott series, and this beloved author proves once again that even after more than three decades and more than eighty novels, she remains a gifted teller of tales whose characters are engaging and memorable. I admit that I have a particular affection for redeemed heroines, and that doubtless is one reason I found this book a most rewarding read. Camille appeared to be arrogant and superior in Someone to Love, but in this book, Balogh uncovers layers that reveal the eldest of the three delegitimatized Westcotts as a flawed woman but nevertheless one with strength, integrity, and a capacity for growth. Even her coldness toward the sunny, open-hearted Anna becomes easier to forgive when Camille acknowledges to herself that her response to Anna is irrational and emotional and that Anna has behaved graciously.
Joel too is revealed as a more complex character in this novel than he appeared to be in the first. The story of his past that is unraveled might have seemed a too easy parallel to Anna’s story had Balogh not prepared her readers by having the orphanage in which Anna and Joel were brought up one where the children are supported by anonymous benefactors. Joel’s tangled family relationships also give him and Camille something in common as they both deal with challenges to who they thought they were and to their concepts of what makes a family.
Readers who enjoyed the first book will be pleased to see various members of the Westcott family appear in this one, and the orphans are even more appealing and play a more significant role in the story. I liked the first book, but I think the second is even better. I highly recommend it. Although Someone to Hold may be read as a standalone, readers will have a more satisfying reading experience and a better understanding of Balogh’s world-building if they read Someone to Love as well.
If you have never read Balogh, you owe it to yourself to read one of the classic writers of Regency-set historical romance. If you are a Balogh reader, you will find yourself hooked on yet another Balogh family, immersed in the new book and eager for the next. That next book will be Someone to Wed (November, 2017), the story of Alexander Westcott, the new Earl of Riverdale, and his need for a wealthy bride. I look forward to the admirable Alexander’s story; however, the one I am most excited about is the story of forty-year-old Viola Kingsley, the woman who thought she was the Countess of Riverdale only to discover that her three adult children are illegitimate. I think we will have to wait until 2018 for her story.
Shame on me - I haven't read her as yet but definitely planning on it.ReplyDelete
What wonderful reading awaits you, catslady.Delete
Mary Balogh was one of the first romance authors that I tried and is now a firm favourite. I'm still working through the long back list and haven't started this series yet. Many of the audio books are read by Rosalyn Landor who I find superb as a narrator. My master equation for the perfect read isReplyDelete
(fav author)+(fav narrator)+(fav reviewer)= irresistible .... glad my maths still works!
Thanks for the splendid review Janga, the audio version is now next up on my TBR
Q, I think of you whenever the topic of audio books is raised. I hope you enjoy Someone to Hold.Delete
I always read Marys books. I read Someone to Love, and was sorry for the children of the bigamous marriage who lost their status. I have Someone to Hold on my "wish list" as I want to read and follow Camille's journey to a HEA.ReplyDelete
I think you will enjoy the second book as much as the first, Diane.Delete
Every time I go to purchase another novel by Mary Balogh I shake my head. If I had a portion of her talent in my pinky finger I'd consider myself a genius. HahahaReplyDelete
When you announced last year that she was embarking on another series, with 8 books none the less!, I stared at the screen with my jaw dropped. Then I immediately called my sister to share the wonderful news. She is in the process of reading MB's entire backlist. She raided my library a few weeks ago and is on a mission. We both share a love of list making (and in turn checking items off said lists). Anyway, I'm very excited to have a new Mary Balogh world to jump into and share. I haven't read the first one yet but have it waiting on my Kindle, as is this one. Thanks for the review, Janga! I can't wait.
I agree that she is amazing, Irish. I'm also pleased that some of her very early titles that have been OOP are being reissued. I'm particularly eager to add Courting Julia, Dancing with Clara, and Tempting Harriet to my Kindle this year.Delete
She's wonderful! I haven't read ALL of hers but enough to know how very talented she is as an author! ❤ReplyDelete
She is also prolific, Robin. The combination places her in a class with few peers.Delete
I just finished this book. Ms Balogh is absolutely an amazing author. Her people are human and her plots move forward to show us that life is not always what we expect. Thanks for this lovely review.ReplyDelete
Another Balogh fan! Hurrah! Thank you for your kind words about the review, Annette.Delete
I read this last week. I generally get Mary Balogh's books as soon as I can. I wasn't sure how I would like this one because Camille wasn't nice to Anna from the first book. Not surprised that Mary was able to explain how Camille was coping with the big changes in her life and worked things out.ReplyDelete
Camille's redemption is what the book special for me, Di. I think redeemed heroines are too rare in romance.Delete
Mary Balogh does not disappoint! Her portrayal of a woman who has suddenly found herself reinvented by circumstance is captivating. Camille is an unlikely heroine whose forceful personality makes her more than prickly. Joel is a wonderfully real hero who is likable while muddling through the brambles of an unlikely friendship to romance. This may in fact be my new favorite of Balogh's!ReplyDelete