A very practical marriage makes Alexander Westcott question his heart in the latest Regency romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Someone to Hold.
When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life . . .
A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate-and oh-so-dashing-earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past . . .
This has been such a surprising series. Despite being such a prolific author, these are the first books I’ve read by Mary Balogh, and they have been so good.
The series focuses on an aristocratic family who are hit with a big drama in book one: one of the marriages is bigamous, which makes half the characters illegitimate – losing their titles.
The characters are all very distinct and surprising – and not always immediately likeable. Not all of them fit into a Regency reader’s idea of how they should be, which is what makes these books so interesting.
Someone to Wed is a very emotional book, as the heroine – with a big flaw to her features that caused her to be badly abused as a child – has no experience with the world. She was locked away and denied any sort of society, and later chose to live as a recluse. Now she wants marriage, which means “buying” a titled husband who needs her wealth, as she knows know other way anyone will want her.
And yet somehow she doesn’t come across as pathetic – after all, *she* is the one who gathers her courage and makes a proposal of marriage, despite having no hope of it ever working for her.
Both hero and heroine come a long way over the course of the book. To say the hero finds everything about the situation distasteful and uncomfortable at first is an understatement.
I love that Balogh is confident enough with her characterisations that she takes her time with everyone. She takes us from indifference at the beginning to love at the end. People who have been around for a few books are developing and changing.
I remember being a little confused by all the characters when I started this series, and perhaps new readers might not fully understand everyone if they pick it up here, but that’s a minor issue. If you can’t keep *everyone* straight, it’s no real problem for your enjoyment of the book.
Balogh writes the sort of historical romance I prefer, and the kind that is disappearing as publishers make more and more demands for anachronistic fluff over substance.
I am really looking forward to the next instalment, which features an older heroine than you will usually find in Regency romance.