About the Book:
Lady Jessica Archer lost her own interest in the glittering excitement of romance after her cousin and dearest friend, Abigail Westcott, was rejected by the ton when her father was revealed to be a bigamist. Ever practical, however, once she’s twenty-five, she decides it’s time to wed. Though she no longer believes she will find true love, she is still very eligible. She is, after all, the sister of Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby.
Jessica considers the many qualified gentlemen who court her. But when she meets the mysterious Gabriel Thorne, who has returned to England from the New World to claim an equally mysterious inheritance, Jessica considers him completely unsuitable, because he had the audacity, when he first met her, to announce his intention to wed her.
When Jessica guesses who Gabriel really is, however, and watches the lengths to which he will go in order to protect those who rely upon him, she is drawn to his cause—and to the man.
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: Someone to Romance (The Westcott Series)
When he was only nineteen, Gabriel Rochford was falsely accused of two heinous crimes, and urged by his family to flee to avoid hanging. Gabriel had been orphaned ten years ago, and was living with an uncle who provided the necessities, but no love or affection. Willing to make a new start, Gabriel traveled to America, where he found a relative of his mother’s, one who loved him, and made him his heir. Gabriel even legally changed his surname to Thorne, willing to leave everything of England behind him. There’s only one person he keeps in contact with, and that’s Mary, his English uncle’s sister-in-law. Over six years ago, Mary notified Gabriel that his uncle and cousin have unexpectedly died, leaving him as the heir to a title. Gabriel chooses to stay away from England, until a desperate Mary begs him to return home. It seems that he’s only months away from being legally declared dead, and the next in line for the title has already moved in, making it clear that Mary no longer has a home. Gabriel can’t resist Mary’s plea for help, though he hopes to be able to return to America, leaving a capable steward in charge of his inherited estate.
Jessica Archer has avoided making a match for years, and now, at twenty-five, she has decided it’s time. Though she doesn’t expect to find love, there are several eligible men of her acquaintance who would be suitable. Determined to acquire a fiancé before the season ends, Jessica is nevertheless astounded when the brash new American in town calmly tells her that he intends to marry her.
It seems that Gabriel’s situation is not quite as simple as he had hoped. The heir presumptive to his title is making a big show around town about his upcoming inheritance, all the while pointing a finger at Gabriel (his supposedly dead cousin) as being a wicked criminal. Gabriel keeps his identity a secret until he can formulate a solid plan, but he realizes two things. First, a wife, one who is well respected in society, will be of immeasurable help to him. Second, if he does accept this life, there will be no returning to America. As the daughter and sister of a duke, Jessica is about as high in society as a female can be. When Gabriel tells Jessica of his intent, she is furious at being thought of as a commodity, and insists that if he is to have any chance, he must romance her.
I loved, loved, loved every minute of reading SOMEONE TO ROMANCE. Everything worked for me, both the courtship between Gabriel and Jessica, and Gabriel’s quest to claim his title and clear his name. Gabriel is such a straight-up, direct man, that he was taken aback at being told he has to romance someone, wondering if he even knew how. I love his character, his intelligence, and his integrity, and it obviously grated on him to have to temporarily deceive everyone about his true identity. Jessica can put on a haughty air, and act the part of a privileged aristocrat, but she also has a soft, womanly side. Her honesty to Gabriel, as well as her intelligence in being able to figure out who he really is, makes her a person to respect and admire.
I have read all previous books of the Westcott series – this is book number eight, so I’m well acquainted with this extended family. For someone who hasn’t read previous books, it may be hard to keep track of everyone, though Mary Balogh makes a point of including the details necessary to fill the reader in. I think this is the best book of the series, as the romance was unusual but captivating, and the conflict was very well written. I adored seeing the Westcott family come to the rescue once again, and Avery, Duke of Netherby, (Jessica’s brother) still manages to steal the scenes he’s in, simply by existing. I literally couldn’t put this book down, as it satisfied at all levels, and SOMEONE TO ROMANCE is one of the best books I’ve read this year. ~Rose