Book Talk: Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Talk: Someone to Trust by Mary BaloghSomeone to Trust by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott #5
Published by Berkley on November 27, 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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During a rare white Christmas at Brambledean Court, the widow Elizabeth, Lady Overfield, defies convention by falling in love with a younger man in the latest novel in the Westcott series.

After her husband's passing, Elizabeth Overfield decides that she must enter into another suitable marriage. That, however, is the last thing on her mind when she meets Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, at the Westcott Christmas house party. She simply enjoys his company as they listen to carolers on Christmas Eve, walk home from church together on Christmas morning, and engage in a spirited snowball fight in the afternoon. Both are surprised when their sled topples them into a snow bank and they end up sharing an unexpected kiss. They know there is no question of any relationship between them for she is nine years older than he.

They return to London the following season, both committed to finding other, more suitable matches. Still they agree to share one waltz at each ball they attend. This innocuous agreement proves to be one that will topple their worlds, as each dance steadily ensnares them in a romance that forces the two to question what they are willing to sacrifice for love...

Since the first book, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Elizabeth’s book, as she’s been my favorite from that point and continued to be so. Often, I’m let-down when I finally get to the romance for my favorite, but Someone to Trust is thoroughly charming and everything that Elizabeth deserves.

Elizabeth serves as the best friend and companion for many of the members of the Westcott clan. She’s the one you can rely on to be in good spirits, making quips and lightening moods. Along the way, she’s already revealed some of her back story: the drunken, abusive husband, but it’s even darker than what we already knew.

Now in her head, the reader can witness Elizabeth’s struggle with feelings of depression. She works hard to maintain that cheery air with which everyone is so familiar. I respect this girl so much, because she endeavors to turn everything to the positive, and she’s so thoughtful and caring of those around her.

Someone to Trust tackles, in a Regency sort of way, the concepts of alcoholism and narcissism, and it does so in a very thoughtful manner. Elizabeth maintains that there must be some sort of disease tied to her deceased husband’s drinking, as he could not control it as other men could. Even her evaluation, by no means accepted by others (the way she always qualified her pronouncement made this clear), reveals how much she endeavors to understand the people around them, always looking to understand their motivations and truly relate to them. She’s such a deeply empathetic person.

Obviously, she didn’t come out of an abusive relationship without emotional scars, and it’s a nice reminder that, no matter how together someone seems on the surface, there’s no saying what they’ve been through. Elizabeth, as the title indicates, wants someone she can truly trust, but she’s not sure if she can even trust herself to choose wisely. She wants a relationship stable and kind, and she’s willing to settle for one without love.

Meanwhile, Lord Hodges (aka Colin aka Wren’s little brother) has started considering taking a wife, but he wants a romance of true affection. Yasss to romances where the lady is pragmatic and the man a romantic. My faves.

Someone to Trust picks up immediately after the events of Someone to Care, still at that Christmas wedding. Lord Hodges immediately delights in Elizabeth’s friendship, because she always makes an effort with the new people brought into the fold, in an effort to make them feel welcome. He’s pretty instantly smitten, though he’s not sure how serious he is about that, and Elizabeth dismisses his comments about a possible relationship between the two of them as jokes, because he’s gorgeous and nine years her junior.

Colin’s such a precious little hufflepuff, just like Elizabeth. They’re like the Jane and Bingley of the Westcotts, because they’re both so freaking nice. They get along incredibly well from start to finish, and I adore the moments when, once they’re together, Colin intentionally doesn’t step in and help Elizabeth because he knows how much she values her independence. When he gets those protective urges, he slaps them down, because he actually gives a shit what she needs.

There’s also so much commentary on gender roles and double standards in here, and it’s all so on point. This book makes so many observations about the society of the time, and that makes some of the plot elements I might not otherwise have liked work so well. There’s such a strong emotional and intellectual foundation to this book.

Someone to Trust is an adorable slow burn romance between an older woman and a younger man. It’s beautifully done, and, like all of the Westcott books, so unlike anything I’ve read in historical romance thus far. I hope every single Westcott gets a novel, because I don’t see myself tiring of them any time soon.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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