This is the sparkling sixth novel in the Regency romance Westcott series by New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh – perfect for fans of Grace Burrowes and Stephanie Laurens
First appearances deceive in the newest charming and heartwarming Regency romance in the Westcott series from beloved New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh . . .
Abigail Westcott’s dreams for her future were lost when her father died and she discovered her parents were not legally married. But now, six years later, she enjoys the independence a life without expectation provides a wealthy single woman. Indeed, she’s grown confident enough to scold the careless servant chopping wood outside without his shirt on in the proximity of ladies.
But the man is not a servant. He is Gilbert Bennington, the lieutenant colonel and superior officer who has escorted her wounded brother Harry home from the wars with Napoleon. He’s come to help his friend and junior officer recover, and he doesn’t take lightly to being condescended to – secretly because of his own humble beginnings.
If at first these two seem to embody what the other most despises, they will soon discover how wrong first impressions can be. For behind the appearance of the once grand lady and once humble man are two people who share an understanding of what true honor means, and how only with it can one find love.
Anna, Duchess of Netherby, received her husband, Avery’s, note on the same day it was sent from Dover. She went immediately with Jessica, Avery’s half sister, to share the news with Harry’s immediate family. One of them was Viola, Harry’s mother, whose marriage to his father, the late Earl of Riverdale, had been declared invalid when it had been discovered after his death that he had had a secret first wife still living when he married her. Viola was now married to the Marquess of Dorchester. Her younger daughter, Abigail, Harry’s sister, lived with them. Like Harry, Abigail was now officially illegitimate. Anna was able to inform both ladies that the travelers were back in England but on their way to Hinsford instead of London. She was delighted to be able to assure them also that Harry was bearing up well under the ordeal.
To say that I have no idea who these people are is an understatement. Yet I did the foolish thing of grabbing the 6th novel(!) in a series. The writing is overly flowery at times, but that’s pretty much expected of an 18th century romance novel. And I kinda had an inward chuckle reading about Gil. I think he might have been a secret woman-hater.
He had, of course, been ridiculously unfair earlier, Gil admitted to himself later in the evening. It was never sensible to make a sweeping statement about half the world’s population—perhaps more than half since the male portion of it was more often than not intent upon killing itself off during endless wars. He did not dislike all women. He never had. He had generally liked the camp followers, the crowds of women—wives, widows, cooks, washerwomen, whores, and others—who had tailed the armies about in droves wherever they went, many of them loud, coarse, slatternly, cheerful, cursing, generous with their favors, courageous, lusty, undemanding, and tough. It was the ladies he had disliked, the wives and daughters of officers who had insisted upon bringing their families to war. They were almost invariably haughty and demanding. Often they were helpless and clinging and inclined to the vapors and expected every man to dash to their assistance, bowing and scraping and generally debasing himself as he did so. Almost to a woman they had despised those colleagues of their husbands and fathers who were of lower rank or—far worse—not true gentlemen at all. He had despised the lot of them heartily in return.
Except one . . . Except Caroline, Lord help him. Even with ladies, however, it was unfair to generalize. There had been a few among them whom he had respected, even liked.
So the book has its flaws and its good points. The major flaw is – you get bored. I didn’t get this as much with other historical plots and works of fiction so I started thinking about what exactly bored me. It was the text block after text block with little dialogue. The heroine is bland and unassuming, the courtship is majorly short and the problems that appear afterwards are .. let’s say, … bland as well.
Alexander was standing with his back to the fireplace. Abigail’s grandmother, the Dowager Countess of Riverdale, was seated in a large chair to one side of it, Aunt Matilda standing beside her chair, vinaigrette in hand on the chance that her mother might need to be revived in the excitement of the moment. Aunt Mildred and Uncle Thomas, Lord and Lady Molenor, were seated side by side on a love seat. Aunt Louise, the Dowager Duchess of Netherby, was sitting with Jessica and Wren on a sofa. Cousin Althea Westcott, Elizabeth’s mother, was sitting on another chair, Anna perched on the arm. Avery, Duke of Netherby, was seated somewhat apart from everyone else, as though he considered himself more an observer than a participant. Bertrand was standing beside him. Colin and Elizabeth, both on their feet, both smiling warmly, were coming toward them, hands outstretched to greet them. Abigail drew a deep breath and smiled. She understood perfectly why Gil could not face this.
“Well, Abigail,” her grandmother said. “Explain yourself.”
“You must not excite yourself, Mama,” Aunt Matilda said.
“I am not excited,” the dowager told her.
Neither am I, neither am I.
1/5 for a borefest