Book Talk: Someone to Care by Mary Balogh

Book Talk: Someone to Care by Mary BaloghSomeone to Care by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott #4
Published by Berkley on May 1, 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 356
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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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.

Where has Mary Balogh been all my reading life? These books are little treasures, and they do feel a bit like they were made for me. Like I’m the exact right reader for this series. Someone to Care‘s my least favorite of the first five books, but it’s still just so good. How are they all so good?

Viola Kingsley starts Someone to Care by running away from the Westcott family…again. The discovery that her marriage was bigamous and thus invalid has not been easy to swallow for Viola. Having spent all her life living properly and following the rules, she’s at a loss for how to live now. The loving embrace of her former family, while sweet, is more than she can handle for reasons she doesn’t quite understand.

Viola’s emotional journey in some ways parallels Camille’s, as they are the most staunchly proper ladies of the family, only to find themselves scandalous through no fault of their own. I never quite bonded with Viola as closely as I did the other heroines, perhaps because I found her story most difficult to relate to personally, but I do admire her decisiveness and strength of character.

What I find most fascinating about Someone to Care is the romance, unsurprisingly. Viola’s 42, and she has been married before; her love interest is 40. It’s so rare to see a heroine older than her love interest, and much rarer still for a romance to feature characters above 30, particularly women.

Very calculatedly, I have no doubt, Someone to Care also is the one relationship out of the first five to begin with the physical passion of the relationship, rather than the emotional connection. This book has by far the most sex, and I love that Balogh is emphasizing that sexuality does not disappear as one ages; Viola, in point of fact, could be hitting her sexual prime just now.

Viola’s love interest Marcel I wasn’t the biggest fan of, though. He’s the most typical romance character I’ve read in Balogh yet: a total rake who has ignored his children and done nothing but enjoy himself with drink, women, and gambling. His tragic back story didn’t do much to endear him to me, though it was hard not to root for his finally stepping up to the fatherhood plate.

The book went slowly for me until about the halfway point, when the families discover the affair in a scene that is downright hilarious. Viola and Marcel are okay, but I live for when the secondary characters join the action. All of the Westcott books are at their strongest with most of the cast interacting, and I missed them for the first half.

I adore the way that new people get added to the family so truly in each book. Already I find Marcel’s twins completely precious, and I  almost love Marcel just for their sake, because they deserve him being a better parent. Also, the conclusion was pretty damn adorable ngl. There’s also something very realistically wonderful about how easily Marcel’s tasks that he’s been dreading are dispatched once he actually puts his mind to them.

Viola and Marcel spend basically the whole book entirely failing to communicate their feelings, which is pretty frustrating tbh. That’s the reason this one isn’t personally one of my favorites. As ever, that trope is not my favorite. Still, I do think the resolution was cute enough to make the aggravation of them not using their damn words worth it.

I need someone else to read this series so they can care as much as I do about this fictional family, because it’s a bit of a problem that no one understands how important they are.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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