About the Book:
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 snowbank 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. . . .
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: Someone to Trust (A Westcott Novel Book 5)
It’s my firm belief that there is no one on the planet who writes better, warmer, more heart touching family and Christmas scenes than Mary Balogh. Though SOMEONE TO TRUST is not specifically a Christmas romance, much of the first part of the book takes place over the holiday, as our hero and heroine, Colin, Baron Hodges, and Lady Elizabeth Overfield, attend a house party at the home of their married siblings. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the family love, the Christmas joy, the fun, and the celebrations left me breathless, so much so, that I wished I were there to take part.
Colin and Elizabeth have met previously, and shared an instantaneous camaraderie. Now, at the party, their friendship becomes more solid, as they find they enjoy each other’s company more than anyone else’s. Colin idealizes the widowed Elizabeth, who epitomizes everything he admires in a woman – warmth, a sense of humor, poise, serenity, and a quiet loveliness. In turn, Elizabeth finds Colin to be sincerely charming, kind, a gentleman, and very, very attractive. But Elizabeth is a widow of thirty-five, while Colin is just twenty-six, and such a disparity in their ages makes any thought of a relationship impossible. Still, when they are tumbled into a snowbank and share a kiss, they are only a man and a woman.
Colin and Elizabeth brush off the kiss, and try their best to resume their “just friends” relationship. When there is dancing, they find that they waltz together as if made for that purpose. They share conversations about anything and everything, and even discuss their own marriage goals. Elizabeth has been widowed six years, and is considering allowing an older man, Sir Geoffrey, to court her during the upcoming season, with the possibility that she will accept him, if he should propose again. Colin is also thinking that it may be time for him to settle down and marry. The thought of starting his own family and holiday traditions holds much appeal. As the party ends, Colin and Elizabeth agree to share the first waltz together at any ball they both attend during the upcoming season.
When spring arrives, and the season starts, Colin and Elizabeth pick up right where they left off, sharing laughs, great conversation, and beautiful waltzes. Multiple times Colin suggests that they should forego looking for other matches and marry each other. Though his proposals were originally meant teasingly, the wish soon becomes real, though Elizabeth laughingly turns him down every time. Finally, in an attempt to settle her life, Elizabeth accepts Sir Geoffrey’s proposal, and becomes engaged, with the marriage to take place within the month. Though Colin wishes her well, and tries to be philosophical about Elizabeth’s engagement, it was a serious blow to him. He decides that he must move forward, and begins actively seeking a bride for himself.
When Elizabeth and Colin continue their waltzing, clearly showing their closeness, Sir Geoffrey reveals a jealous and spiteful aspect to his personality, creating a scene at his own engagement ball. The ensuing scandal creates havoc, with the whole extended Westcott family involved, all trying to be helpful and to fix the situation. Meanwhile, Colin’s narcissistic mother comes back into his life, trying to control his future, and force him into a marriage with a beautiful debutante.
I adore this book! I love Elizabeth and Colin, who are both wonderful characters, and who fit together about as perfectly as it’s possible to fit. They tell themselves that there’s no possibility of their being together, while they each secretly long for it more than anything in the world. All of the resistance to their making a match causes it to be even sweeter when they finally find a way to be together despite all the odds against them. Friends to lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and it’s beautifully done here, as a solid friendship evolves to include passion and love.
Several members of the extended Westcott family play a prominent part of this story, and I greatly enjoyed revisiting those characters I met in the previous four books in this series. Though author Mary Balogh is careful to include a description of the familial relationships in this story, (even a family tree is included) I believe a reader will truly savor the progression of their lives by reading the previous books in the Westcott series. I would be remiss if I didn’t particularly mention the Duke of Netherby, who continues to weave his languid magic to somehow always find a way to make things right, while elegantly stealing scenes. He is a rock star!
SOMEONE TO TRUST is a beautifully written installment in a wonderful series. Every part of the story worked for me. The family love and support and the Christmas celebrations are heartwarming, poignant, and emotional. The love between Colin and Elizabeth is truly joyful, romantic, and solid. I have no doubt that they will live happily ever after. ~Rose