SOMEONE TO LOVE – Mary Balogh
Westcott Series , Book 1
Imagine you've grown up in an orphanage never knowing where you came from or who your parents were, and now you teach in the same orphanage. You receive a letter asking you to come to London. A private coach complete with a chaperone arrives. In London, you are roomed at a luxury hotel. Then you discover the name you've gone by all your life is not your name. In fact, you are the daughter of a very wealthy earl who has recently died, and you are his only heir. This happens to twenty-five year old Anna Snow. She discovers she has a brother and two sisters, but also learns she is her father's only legitimate child, and has dispossessed them of what they believed their rightful heritage. Her siblings leave London with their mother, taking away the only thing Anna, now Lady Anastasia Wescott, wants--family.
Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, is a man of average height, slim of build, but beautifully handsome. When sent away to school, older and stronger boys bullied and beat him. Yet his character drove him to both survive and surpass those who beat him. A chance encounter with a Chinese man, a very rare type of person in England, turned into opportunity. He learned an unusual form of defense. When he left school, his mentor told Avery he was now whole on the outside, but inside, he held an emptiness only love could fill. How can a man who seems so uninvolved and indifferent, one who uses satirical irony and a quizzing glass to keep everyone at bay, recognize love when he finds it? Netherby discovers an unusual woman in the new Westcott heir. She draws him out of his indolence. He first saw her in a cheap governess's dress and dismissed her as a servant, but later, when he takes time to see her, he notices the beauty of her face. More than that, her poise, her thoughtful comments, and her inner strength impress him.
In SOMEONE TO LOVE, Ms. Balogh introduces the Westcott family. Anna's appearance has thrown them into turmoil. While her immediate family abandons her, her extended family of aunts and even a grandma try to transform her into a lady who will maintain the family's prestige among the ton . Admittedly, they find it hard to accept Anna, and admittedly, Avery is a hard character to like until the reader leans more about him. However, the results from the strange and depraved actions of the deceased earl make this story hard to put down. How can a family recover from such behavior? It will make readers anxious to read more and creates an enticing appeal for future stories.