Published by JOVE on February 7th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
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...
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Someone to Hold is the second book in the Westcott series by Mary Balogh. Although I believe this could be read as a stand alone, I think to fully appreciate it, and the main female character in it, it would be better if you read ‘Someone To Love’ first.
In this story Camille Westcott, who through no fault of her own loses her title of Lady. Her father had married another woman, then years later married Camille’s mother without the benefit of a divorce from his first wife! When the truth comes out that Camille and her siblings are actually illegitimate, she is devastated and takes it harder than any of them. After a period of self pity she decides that she can’t live being beholden to anybody. She moves from her grandmother’s house and takes a teaching job and lodgings in a local orphanage. Replacing the woman there before her, Anna, who it turned out to be her father’s only legitimate daughter! On the one hand Camille wants to be independent, but on the other, deep inside she wants to know what Anna’s life must have been like when she grew up in, then worked and lived in the orphanage (all of which is in the first book in the series)
While there she meets Joel Cunningham. He, like Anna, grew up there, and they were very close. So close that he asked her to marry him. She gently refused him, saying that the love they felt was more familial than romantic. She would always be his best friend. Also like Anna, Joel had a job at the orphanage, he teaches art to the children 3 afternoons a week. When Camille meets him she thinks of him as a bit of a scruff, and knows he doesn’t like her because of how things have been between her and Anna since the truth came out.
Unfortunately for her, Camille’s grandmother wants a portrait painted of her grandchildren, Camille included. She has asked Joel to be the artist because he has become quite the talk of the town because of how talented he is. People line up to have him paint them. Having to have her portrait painted, and having to share teaching space with Joel sees them spending a lot of time together. Time where they start to learn about themselves and each other, and realise that beyond facades they each are surprisingly different people underneath. A mutual attraction develops between them, but will anything come of it. Both of them have so much going on with regards to their pasts, that it could come between any romance that might develop.
This was a wonderful story of self-discovery, both for Joel and Camille. To watch both characters develop both in their personal lives, and with each other was really special to behold. Camille has so much anger and resentment to move past to begin with, and every time she seems to soften, something happens to bring out the prim and proper Lady. To read of her coming to terms with the blows she has dealt with was a very emotional thing. As for Joel, well there are shocks in store for him too. Something I never would have expected, and something that is huge for him to deal with too. Both stories had the characters turning to each other when they felt totally overwhelmed, and I am so glad that they had each other. This truly was a beautiful story which I wholeheartedly recommend.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book.