Someone to Hold (Westcott #2)
Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune and a scandalous secret that will forever alter the lives of his family—sending one daughter on a journey of self-discovery…
With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve.
An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead…
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: Someone to Hold (A Westcott Novel)
Camille Westcotts world, as she knew it, has crumbled. She was the daughter of an earl, engaged to a viscount, and raised in wealth and privilege – but it’s all gone now. Shortly after her father’s death, it was discovered that he was previously married, and though his first wife is deceased, he entered into his second marriage before she died. This makes him a bigamist, his second marriage invalid, and the three children of that marriage illegitimate. To make matters even worse, he never changed his first will, thus leaving all his fortune to the child of his first marriage, Anna. Camille and her family are shocked at their reversal of fortune, and haughtily refuse all of Anna’s overtures of friendship. They even reject her offer to share the fortune with all of them. When Camille’s fiance breaks their engagement, she and her sister retreat to Bath to live with their grandmother.
Joel Cunningham is beginning to find some success as a portrait artist. He’s an orphan, raised in the same orphanage in Bath as Camille’s sister, Anna. In fact, they grew up together and are dear friends. When Joel’s path begins to cross with Camille’s on a regular basis, he is at first prepared to dislike her, knowing how she treated Anna. Camille is aloof, haughty, and not at all beautiful. So why does Joel always seem to seek out her company?
In an act that surprises everyone, including herself, Camille applies for the teaching job at the orphanage where Anna was raised and later worked. Though she displays an outward icy veneer, inside Camille is in turmoil. She doesn’t know what to do with her life, or even who she is. Her whole previous existence was geared to being the perfect society lady and making the perfect marriage. In a desperate attempt to find some answers, Camille, in effect, decides to take a walk in Anna’s shoes.
SOMEONE TO HOLD has all the trademark qualities of a Mary Balogh book. The romance between the unlikely couple of Joel and Camille develops slowly and is, by no means, smooth. The focus is on the characters and their development. Camille is not a very likable heroine until we start to see inside her hard outer shell. She is scared, uncertain, ashamed, and insecure, which she hides with her arrogant manner. It seems that the honorable and very likable Joel deserves another match, one more suited to his personality. Yet, this couple comes to understand and desire each other, and somehow they end up being perfect for each other. It was particularly touching to watch Camille fall in love with one of the orphaned children. I love Mary Balogh’s writing, and the extent that she fleshes out her characters, making them very real, faults and all. SOMEONE TO HOLD is another warm and satisfying read which I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend.
Lovely review, Rose. I really must start reading the series!