Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Westcott #5

Someone to Trust

Rate this 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. . . .

377 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 27, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Mary Balogh

209 books5,511 followers
Mary Jenkins was born in 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Mary Balogh started writing in the evenings as a hobby. Her first book, a Regency love story, was published in 1985 as A Masked Deception under her married name. In 1988, she retired from teaching after 20 years to pursue her dream to write full-time. She has written more than seventy novels and almost thirty novellas since then, including the New York Times bestselling 'Slightly' sextet and 'Simply' quartet. She has won numerous awards, including Bestselling Historical of the Year from the Borders Group, and her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She has won seven Waldenbooks Awards and two B. Dalton Awards for her bestselling novels, as well as a Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,290 (26%)
4 stars
1,980 (40%)
3 stars
1,310 (26%)
2 stars
261 (5%)
1 star
61 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 669 reviews
Profile Image for Julie .
3,998 reviews58.9k followers
January 26, 2019
Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh is a 2018 Berkley publication.

A winter romance that will warm your heart!

While attending a Christmas Party at the Wescott’s which also doubled as a wedding, the widow Elizabeth Overton and Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, spend some easy going and friendly time together. However, they are both aware of a little something extra simmering just below the surface. Although they are both convinced it is time for them to marry, it most certainly would not be to one another. For starters, Elizabeth is nine years older that Colin! What a scandal that would be!!

As the London season approaches, Elizabeth and Colin plan to join in, albeit, solo… but, they have promised to share at least one set of dances together at each ball they attend… and not just any dance- a waltz!

This one got off to a very sluggish start unfortunately. In fact, I had intended to read this one around the holidays but put it aside because it just wasn’t working for me right then.
But, because Mary Balogh is one of my favorite historical romance authors, I was determined to give it another try. I am glad I stuck with the book, as it turned out to be a beautiful and heartwarming love story.

As the title suggests, there are some trust issues involved, especially for Elizabeth, who is determined not to give in to romantic love as she had with her first husband, which ended in disaster.

“ I want my own home. I want to be a part of a couple so that I do not have to feel lonely at events like family Christmases. I want- I hope for- children.”
Your need is emotional, he said, yet you look for safety and dependability. My need is practical, yet I dream of love. I would like to be in love with the woman I marry. But there are so many other considerations that I suppose are more important. I dream of perfection, Elizabeth. You do not dream at all.”

Can Colin convince Elizabeth she can have trust, stability and romantic love or will she break his heart?

Once this story finally got moving, I was glued to the pages, loving every conflicted and emotional moment.

Overall, this one isn’t the strongest book in the series, but despite the slow start, I ended up thoroughly enjoying Elizabeth and Colin’s story. I’m happy they defied convention, despite the odds, and fulfilled their dreams of a happily ever after.

3.5 stars

*If you haven’t read the previous installments in the series, I wouldn’t suggest starting out with this one. While reading the series in order is always ideal, at the very least read the forth book before starting this one.
Profile Image for Jan.
867 reviews163 followers
December 3, 2018
Well, another one in this series I liked but didn't love. It started out so promisingly (as have all of them). But, I forgot that Colin, the H, is Wren's brother (from Someone To Wed). And that means that Colin's mother is the horrible and horrifying Lady Hodges. *shudders*

I HATE the character of Lady Hodges, and she pretty much spoiled this book for me. I hated her in Someone To Wed, and I hated the revisit in this book. Sadly, she had quite an important role in the plot in the later half of this book. And any time she was on the page, I found myself skimming to the next scene. She is super creepy, mentally ill, weird and also cruel and manipulative. She surrounds herself with sickos. Who is this Lord Ede and why does he put up with her? Who are these sycophantic young men who worship at her feet? Actually, no, I don't want my rhetorical questions answered. I don't really want to know.

I accept we need an antagonist to make a story interesting and provide the protagonists with something to react against. But I don't like it when there is too much page space/story time devoted to the antagonist, especially when they are as repulsive as Lady Hodges. And I didn't like the last part of this book where and I wanted the book to be resolved in another way.

I didn't mind the older woman- younger man trope. That aspect of the story worked quite well, although their passion was a little on the lukewarm side. I also didn't mind the plot aspects with . I just hated Lady Hodges.......
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,824 reviews834 followers
November 27, 2018
It’s not often that I read a historical romance where the woman is older than the man, I guess I don’t read that many in contemporary romances either. That’s telling, right? I think there’s still a bit of a stigma with that combination even in the present, and I have to say I’m guilty of being just a little hesitant to pick up a book when I know the man is younger than the woman. However, whenever Elizabeth and Colin were together on the page, I forgot their ages and just longed for them to find a way to be together.

Elizabeth, a thirty-five-year-old widow, feels blessed in her life with a large and loving family, but lately, she’s lonely and longs for the love and companionship a husband would offer. While the offer she receives doesn’t make her heart race like Colin does, it’s one that society wouldn’t look down on.

Colin, Lord Hodges, is twenty-six and feels the need to settle down and provide an heir pressing on him even though none of the female prospects stir anything in him like Elizabeth does. He’s drawn to her inner and outer beauty, and the delight she seems to always find in life.

Someone to Trust
is part of a series, but it can be read as a standalone. Previous characters show up, but this story is all Elizabeth and Colin. I will say that the Westcott brood is growing with every book, and that I loved the unconditional love and support they provide to each other. Here they all rally around Elizabeth when she needs them most.

I’ve been enjoying Mary Balogh’s Westcott series! No matter that these characters live in a different time period, that’s all forgotten when I start reading and these characters come to life; their doubts and fears, their joy and yearning, and the absolute contentment and happiness they feel when all finally works out!

A copy was kindly provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,899 reviews1,503 followers
January 7, 2019
This is fifth in the series and the characters from them all are intertwined remorselessly. Indeed, Elizabeth featured prominently in the first. That said, at this point, the whole Westcott brood is so large that I don't remember half of these people, anymore, so you're about even whether you've read the others or start here. Probably. At least, if you have a memory like mine.

Yeah, I'm a bit tired of dragging the entire family all over the place. It's overwhelming. And this one starts with a Christmas party that has all of them present and it felt like too much. I loved both Elizabeth and Colin and was enjoying them very much and felt like I was being distracted by piles and piles of monkeys waving little red hats. Okay, not entirely so. Alex and Avery and Anna (huh, all A-names) were a delight whenever one or more of them were present. But still. Monkeys with red hats!

This story is unusual (in any romance category) for having a nine year difference with Colin being the younger. A 26 year-old man and 35 year-old woman at least gets us out of power differential issues. He's titled and rich and has a good head on his shoulders so we know he knows his own mind. And she has survived a nightmare marriage (see previous books, though she tells Colin about it, too) but is still on the healthy side of young and pretty and of child-bearing years (hey, it matters. Both for period reasons and because they both want children). This kind of match up fights the innate* tendency of both genders so it was vital that Balogh make it believable by showing two people falling in love and doing it without just wishing their separate ages away. And Balogh delivers that very well, indeed.

It doesn't hurt that I fell for both pretty much instantly. Colin is my favorite kind of guy, the kind, competent guy who cares about the people close to him and does his best to take care of them. He's the best kind of this type in that he's also careful not to step on the autonomy of others or try to do things "for their own good". His interactions with Elizabeth are simply adorable and I loved his care of and for her. And Elizabeth is one of my favorite female types, too, as the woman who does her best for those around her with a determination to find the good in people and events but with a core of strength that is the stronger for having been tried. She has an iron core and I just love that Colin sees and appreciates that about her.

I struggled with a bit of the plot while both seemed determined to . Balogh is talented enough to keep this from dragging on terribly long, and it was probably necessary to take their courtship seriously. So my chafing is completely unreasonable, I know.

Anyway, this is a solid 4½ stars that I'm rounding to 5. Colin was just so perfect (without being actually perfect) and Elizabeth in her own way as well. But even better, they are perfect for each other and I just loved every time they were together and the strength and support each received from the other.

Edit to Add: Okay, this didn't affect my rating or anything, but this is something that can affect enjoyment so I'll add that this book has a quirk Balogh sometimes indulges where characters have a modern mental framework for things. In this case, it's Elizabeth describing her dead husband's alcoholism as a disease. This is a very poor analogy for her experience, frankly, as few diseases have that cyclical abuse pattern of the addict. Historically speaking, a couple doctors made disease-like noises regarding drunkenness about that time but they had both broader experience and habits of thought that would suggest disease as an analogy (because they were doctors). Such analogies weren't really serious until 35 years or so later (when the term "alcoholism" was coined). It gets worse when she extends that to Colin's mother (who very clearly has narcissistic personality disorder). It's anachronistic and doesn't fit the character. I rolled with it as "that thing Balogh sometimes does with inserting a modern mental framework for her characters", and forgot I meant to mention it in my review as I had intended...

A note about Steamy: There's only one explicit sex scene (though many would call it two as there's a brief interlude) so this is on the light side of my steam tolerance. Balogh even pulls back on the details, likely because the relationship and emotional intimacy had been established very well, already, and we didn't need them. Frankly, we didn't really need the scene at all, I don't think.

* Not willing to argue about the innate thing. Men and women have definite patterns in mate selection and however hard it is to nail down the cause (god, evolution, social construct, whatever), the effect is pretty clear and amazingly persistent across human societies. Studies have been pretty consistent describing the effect for decades now. They aren't so good about the cause and that's almost always the part people want to argue about. For my purposes in a review of a romance novel, it's enough to note that it's a prevalent enough expectation that very few romance authors attempt this kind of age gap so Balogh had her work cut out for her taking it on.
Profile Image for Mei.
1,881 reviews410 followers
February 22, 2019

Well, this gif speaks for me…

I loved the Someone to Love and Someone to Wed, but this is the worst book in this series!

Here both the hero, Colin, and the heroine, Elizabeth, are such a boooriiinnngggg characters that it was a miracle that I managed to finish the book!

Colin is very young. No, that’s not right, he’s not young physically, but he’s immature! He’s basically a useless person who doesn’t know how to assert himself as an independent man. He lives by himself in a small house, even if he’s a very wealthy Lord because he’s afraid to confront his harpy mother who’s wreaking havoc all around!

I had high hopes for Elizabeth since she’s 10 years his senior, so I was expecting her to be mature and sensible, but, alas, it was not to be! She’s hiding behind a facade of respectability. She’s afraid to live.

That’s how he wants to change… but…

… this is how it how he manages!!!

Anyhow, the story revolves around their fears. Both are fairly useless people, but I suppose all the ton was like that. That’s not the problem (usually!), but here it was really too much how everything was over-described! Every person present during a family reunion was named and placed, who was sitting/standing where and how. Every single person present during a ball/meeting, etc had a long monologue, mostly they repeated the same things.

I was bored to tears reading how Colin thought about Elizabeth as a clam, composed, strong etc. and how Elizabeth thought about Colin as a young, handsome, beautiful, etc I think it was repeated every two pages! I was rolling my eyes until they crossed!

And their love story? Shall we speak of that? I just didn’t see love anywhere. Admiration – yes; love – no; passion – no! They were friends, not lovers burning for each other!

So, no, please, this is no romance!!! She is a woman who misses motherhood the most and he’s a boy who misses mother. In that way they’re perfect for each other, even if it not a very healthy relationship!
Profile Image for ReadAlongWithSue .
2,651 reviews170 followers
September 3, 2019

Yes I know, it’s not my usual genre right.
Years ago though before I become an avid reader, blogger, reviewer I did paddle my feet in water of this genre, historical fiction and it was lovely to return to it.

I received this in the post. I hadn’t asked for it, I hadn’t requested it. It was unsolicited mail, I still love that kind of post however on the odd occasion I get a book I wouldn’t read.
But I thought I’d take a go at this.

It’s book 5! I so wish publishers wouldn’t do this if it’s not stand alone, which this one definitely isn’t.

The story started really slow and because of this I was feeling rather distracted by things around me. Then more and more family members were coming into the equation which at times distorted the story.

It was about an older lady getting her head and her heart turned by a younger man. She was a widow and he was Lord Hodges.

Should they turn against society and follow their hearts.

You need to put yourself back in time and remember the kind of society they lived in. Not like today, where many wouldn’t bat an eye.

All in all a good historical fiction, however, too slow in developing things for my taste.

Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,217 reviews292 followers
November 18, 2019
Ce se întâmplă atunci când un bărbat se îndrăgostește de o femeie cu nouă ani mai mare decât el?
Se căsătoresc! Asta după ce trec prin multe întâmplări neașteptate, luptă cu propriile lor sentimente sau cu părerea celorlalți.
Colin este un tânăr impresionant, cu un suflet de aur. Fără să își dea seama cu claritate de sentimentele lui, încearcă să o cucerească pe cumnate surorii sale.
Elizabeth, pe de altă parte, este o doamnă a cărei viață nu a fost întotdeauna ușoară. Ba chiar, a luptat din greu cu părerea celor din jur înainte de a se convinge că tânărul este exact ceea ce își dorește.
O poveste de dragoste care ne întristează înainte de a ne aduce bucurie. O poveste de dragoste emoționantă și duioasă în același timp.
Profile Image for Chris  C - A Midlife Wife.
1,483 reviews261 followers
September 14, 2018
Lovely story. Fun.
I’m pretty sure this is the first book I’ve read by this author. The synopsis sounded intriguing and I knew it was the type of story I usually enjoy when I dive into a historical romance.

One thing about this story is it is a part of a series. There are a lot of characters in the story and the author had to do a lot of backtracking to keep us up-to-date on what was happening in the book.

It did take me a few chapters to catch up on the story and I did struggle with who is who most of the way through the book. However, the main characters, Elizabeth and Colin, were so much fun it completely made for a highly enjoyable story.

I just love the likability of these two together. Even though it was a scandalous thing to even consider marriage with a big age difference, you knew just by their interactions they were perfect for each other. I held my breath several times through the whole process as they were each searching for someone to marry since they couldn’t or wouldn’t marry each other.

With detailed character development from people you love to hate, like Colin’s mother, to those characters you just fell in love with, like Colin and Elizabeth, the author tells a richly explicit tale set an Old England that will capture your attention throughout.

Someone to Trust is book 5 in The Westcott series and although I never read the others, I truly enjoyed getting to know the author and her beautifully crafted historical Regency romance. Perfect for an escape back to Old England with all of the pomp and circumstance of the age.

Love the cover too!

* ebook received for review consideration.
full Review - https://amidlifewife.com/someone-to-t...
Profile Image for Vintage.
2,368 reviews421 followers
December 16, 2021
Very slow start to this low energy Regency romance. It’s Mary Balogh so even if you don’t like the plotline at least you have a well-written book.

The hero is a fairly young beta hero, brother to poor Wren from Someone to Wed who was shuffled from the family for not being perfect. Her little brother was the only one who mourned her as he was told she was dead, and apparently there was a confrontation in the last book between Wren and her vile mother. Luckily for us, Vile Mother makes an appearance here or else we would have very little drama.

The heroine is nine years older than the H. That would raise an eyebrow today, but I can only imagine what it would be like in Regency times.

S-L-O-W burn romance where they H and h may be attracted to each other or may be friends. The h gets engaged to another less worthy swain which is promptly canceled.

It’s not until the H’s mother arrives on the scene in her fancy coach in four with masked outsiders does it climb from a boring two star to three stars. Mother Dearest is a case. If you’ve read Salt Bride, she and the evil OW in that book could be, if not sisters under the skin, close cousins. Rumor, slander, manipulation and cloying emotions are the mother’s weapons of choice, and it is quite entertaining. At least it was entertaining until the H and h soft soap how they will deal with her once they marry. Banishment to Russia would be best, but they consider building a dower house if she gets out of control. Here's your hammer.

I have concerns about their lackluster drive to be together, but I'm just going to have to trust MB.

Yes, there is a HEA, and it is quite believable if a little slow. Despite my low rating, definitely readable especially if you have been invested in the Westcott series as all the other characters make an appearance.
Profile Image for Tracy DeNeal.
369 reviews19 followers
December 2, 2018
Colin and Elizabeth

I wondered just what kind of drama Mary Balogh could produce for two of the most amiable characters she has ever created. Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, with his cherubic good looks and loving personality paired with Alexander’s older and benevolent sister, Elizabeth? Why they were a match made in heaven if only she could forget about those nine years that lay between them.

I settled down last night to what I knew intuitively would be a pleasurable read. Mary Balogh’s soothing literary voice as usual took me away to her world. As always, what we see on the surface belies the true nature of her characters’ lives and experiences. Trauma dwells beneath those smooth clear waters of amiability. The ability to trust and be trusted was what they each needed to find their happy ever after.

The casual and callous cruelty masked as love that Colin grew up with clashes and contrasts with the picture he sees once he immersed himself in the Westcott family Christmas celebration. The shining beacon and magnetic force that was Elizabeth captured his attention and would not let go. Elizabeth, though admittedly no great beauty, has been a shining star throughout this series. Her kindness and warmth has been a driving force throughout when other characters were outsiders to the family circle, she was the welcoming presence that brought them into the fold or encouraged others to remain in the fold. Here she shines as the heroine of the piece and wasn’t I happy to see it?

Now for the Westcotts—I love this family. I love the hodgepodge confusion of the relationships. So many of them are not related by blood and yet are very much family. This far into the series and sometimes someone appears on the scene and I puzzle for a moment to figure out how they are related.

Elizabeth, Alexander and their mother, Mrs. Westcott, of course, are cousins to the former bigamous earl and Alexander has been thrust into the role of family head after the late Earl’s bigamy was exposed. Unlike most cousin heirs we see in historical romance, however, the former Earl’s immediate family members were not tossed to the wind, but held within the fold and loved assiduously.

Avery, Duke of Netherby, whose stepmother, Louise, is sister to the bigamous earl, has married Anastasia, the legitimate daughter of the bigamous earl. Did I mention that Colin’s older sister is married to Elizabeth’s younger brother (Alexander and Wren) which makes them? How confusing! Just read the series from the beginning and come along for the ride.

Can someone truly just send an announcement of a betrothal to the newspaper without one’s knowledge and boom they are betrothed? Apparently yes. See Camilla Shands and Andrew Parker Bowles. It has happened!
Profile Image for Critterbee❇.
924 reviews67 followers
October 18, 2018
Oh my babies, there are too many children in this romance book! Not merely restricted to the epilogue, they have invaded the entire story! Sticky fists grabbing hair, precocious children imparting accidental wisdom, cooing and drooling and ENOUGH ALREADY!

This is a regency era older heroine / younger hero gentle romance, that tries but does not really explore the dynamics of that sort of relationship, other than to remark on how odd it is, and how everyone will think them silly for thinking that it could work. Also, there are so many characters from previous stories in the series, that they get muddled even if you have read all of the earlier books.

Far less steamy than the usual Balogh, made up in over-abundance of child. Not my favourite, left me more annoyed with the lackluster spark of attraction, not really addressing the stupid age difference prejudice, and the babies everywhere.
*eARC Netgalley
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,765 reviews582 followers
October 14, 2018
Step back in time where one wrong step will cause tongues of the Ton to wag! Mary Balogh’s SOMEONE TO TRUST is the story of finding love and taking a chance on following your heart. The widow Elizabeth Oldfield finds herself flattered by the attentions of a younger man, Lord Hodges, but she never expected him to steal her heart. Dare they take a chance on personal happiness, turning their backs on society’s small minds?

This one started out rather slow for me as a cast of relations were introduced and grew, almost overshadowing the main characters and their relationship. The historical details were wonderful, but the plot seemed almost too vague at some points and too drawn out at others. I never felt truly connected to this rather slow moving tale.

I just don’t think this was my cup of tea, and coming into a series at midpoint may not be a wise decision, but that said this just fell a little flat for me.

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Berkley!

Series: Westcott - Book 5
Publisher: Berkley (November 27, 2018)
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
Print Length: 384 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,217 reviews292 followers
November 18, 2019
Ce se întâmplă atunci când un bărbat se îndrăgostește de o femeie cu nouă ani mai mare decât el?
Se căsătoresc! Asta după ce trec prin multe întâmplări neașteptate, luptă cu propriile lor sentimente sau cu părerea celorlalți.
Colin este un tânăr impresionant, cu un suflet de aur. Fără s�� își dea seama cu claritate de sentimentele lui, încearcă să o cucerească pe cumnate surorii sale.
Elizabeth, pe de altă parte, este o doamnă a cărei viață nu a fost întotdeauna ușoară. Ba chiar, a luptat din greu cu părerea celor din jur înainte de a se convinge că tânărul este exact ceea ce își dorește.
O poveste de dragoste care ne întristează înainte de a ne aduce bucurie. O poveste de dragoste emoționantă și duioasă în același timp.
Profile Image for Mel.
897 reviews14 followers
July 11, 2019
From the beginning of the Wescott Family series I adored Lady Elizabeth, but her story is a major disappointment. Insipid is what comes to mind and tedious. Frankly I was bored out of my mind. This is the first book where I found the children and the attentions of the family overbearing and irksome. Almost every scene takes place in public or with the family gathered around the couple. I had problems with just about everything in this story especially Colin and his ridiculous family and Elizabeth's attitude toward their reconciliation. Her lack of consideration for Wren, her sister-in-law was astonishing. Balogh has a tendency to whitewash serious transgressions against her protagonists which is my biggest criticism of her writing and in this book it was hideous. The stuff at the betrothal ball and just afterwards was awful and I don't get it, Balogh seems to not care much for her couple, but is more caught up in writing about the family. To many of the incidents were stupid and nonsensical. Honestly I expected better from Mary Balogh not this sentimental pedestrian drivel.
Profile Image for Jen Davis.
Author 7 books695 followers
January 18, 2019
This book was not my favorite from Mary Balogh. It got off to a very slow start for me, though it did improve once it finally got around to the romance. This is book five in the Westcott series, and I have read the previous four books. Even with the backstory I know, however, there are just too many characters for anyone to keep straight. For the first 10 chapters, I found myself tempted to keep flipping back to the birth chart at the beginning, and that’s no way to really lose yourself in a story.

Probably the first third of the book was spent reminding us who everyone was, how they were related, and why they were all together for Christmas. There was a great deal of narration and very little feeling from either main character. Basically, the only thing established was that Elizabeth and Colin thought well of each other but were nine years apart in age. Yes, this is an older woman younger man story. And it completely dominated the dynamic of their relationship.

Yes, I know it was unheard of for an older woman to snag a younger man back in the day, but it was such a tiresome thing for this to be repeated over and over and over again. Poor Elizabeth has been alone for years; her late husband beat her and eventually drank himself to death. Now she is considering marriage to a guy she doesn’t even love, just to start her life over again. And it’s one of the things that keeps the romance from taking off. Most of the book, she is pursuing a relationship with another man while Colin searches for a socially acceptable wife, ie. a younger woman. The dynamic between Elizabeth and Colin was subtle, hovering as something just a bit more than a friendship… until circumstances finally allow them to come together.

While Elizabeth’s issue is basically carrying around the burden of being 35, Colin’s conflict is found in his Whatever Happened to Baby Jane-type mom. The woman is super crazy and convinced she is a beautiful, young thing and is weirdly obsessed with Colin marrying someone equally as beautiful. He is working to repair his family relationships as his mom threatens to derail his future.

The book was at its best in the scenes where Elizabeth and Colin were together. This is a romance born of friendship and I believed in their feelings for one another. But this was never really a fiery or passionate joining. It was… sweet. Even the sex scenes were kind of summaries more than anything designed to make your heart beat faster.

It was nice to see an older heroine for a change. But I think I would have enjoyed this more if such a huge point hadn’t been made of it –and if there were about half as many characters. Not only were there a ton of adult relatives, but I was drowning in all the babies.

A satisfying ending on the romance front… though I do wish Colin would have gotten the answers he was looking for about his family and his own history.

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by publisher
Profile Image for Caz.
2,643 reviews1,001 followers
March 1, 2019
I've given this an A for narration and a B- for content at AudioGals.

Someone to Trust is the fifth of Mary Balogh’s novels about the Westcott family, and it’s probably not the place to jump into the series. The author does undertake a “previously on The Westcotts” recap in the opening chapter (which is a bit clumsy and info-dumpy), but I’m not going to attempt it here and will assume that if you’re interested in listening to Someone to Trust, you’ve listened to at least one of the previous books and have a rough idea of who is who.

It’s Christmas and the Westcott family is gathered together at the family seat to celebrate the holiday and the marriage of Viola, the former Countess of Riverdale (as told in the previous book, Someone to Care). Lady Elizabeth Overfield, sister of Alex, the Earl of Riverdale, has been a widow for a few years, and seeing her large family, with its happy, recently married couples, brings home to her just how lonely she is. Her marriage was not a happy one (her husband was a drunkard who abused her emotionally and physically), but that doesn’t deter her from thinking that perhaps it’s time for her to remarry.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals .
Profile Image for Candace.
865 reviews
December 16, 2021
Elizabeth Overfield decides she is ready to remarry. Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, decides it is time to chose a bride and start his nursery. Elizabeth and Colin are friends, but they would not choose to marry each other. The nine year gap hampers Elizabeth because Colin is nine years younger than her. Also, they are related to each other through Alexander and Wren Wescott. There is, however, something simmering below the surface. There is something more to their friendship. When the London Season starts, they promise each other to dance the first waltz together at each ball they attend. This simple promise snares them in its romantic trap. Can Elizabeth ignore convention and follow her heart?

I believe this is the fifth book in the Wescott series. I would suggest reading the novels in order to get the feel of the characters and of the storylines. All the Wescotts, Radleys and Handriches show up in this book. The protagonists press forward against the antagonist's manipulations and vicious cruelty. I liked Elizabeth and Colin as a couple. They were companions and felt comfortable with each other. The plot was a simple romance. The subplots were tied up nicely and added fullness to the plot. The dialogue is realistic. The descriptions are written with an eye for characterization and setting. The pace was slow in the beginning, but picked up speed near the middle of the novel. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series. Adult situations and language.
Profile Image for Els.
299 reviews5 followers
February 2, 2020
Not a favorite of mine. I think she has written better books.
Profile Image for - The Polybrary -.
314 reviews187 followers
December 13, 2018
~*Review first appeared on The Bent Bookworm!*~

Someone to Trust is the perfect holiday book for the Austen-inclined reader! I thoroughly enjoyed this historical romance, with its unique characters and large, warm, overarching family story. This was particularly refreshing because it was DIFFERENT. Instead of your typical young-couple-meets-and-falls-in-love (naturally with a few obstacles thrown in their way, but nothing they can’t overcome), the heroine is actually a widow, and somewhat old for a Regency era heroine at that. Ok, not just somewhat old, but unheard-of old at thirty-five! And the hero is…twenty-six. GASP!

Elizabeth has been unlucky in love, but she is reconciled to her life. She is still a vibrant, intelligent, warm-hearted woman but has determined that
Contentment would be good enough, even preferable to exuberant happiness, in fact. Happiness did not last. There was more stability in contentment.

I loved Elizabeth so much. She has a backbone of steel and a heart of gold. Despite her misfortune, se is not closed off or unreachable or wallowing. I think it safe to say it is all of those underlying qualities that most attract the young Lord Colin Hodges, much to his own amazement. Colin does not waste much time fretting over what society will think of his inappropriate attachment – no Mr. Darcy scruples here – but determines to win Elizabeth’s heart. Of course, true love’s path never runs smooth, as his own mother (and LORD WHAT A MOTHER) conspires against him, along with the rest of society and Elizabeth’s own belief about herself and what she deserves out of life.

This book is so far removed from what I usually expect from books labeled historical romance. It is full of solid, steady, but also heart-fluttering love. The characters are mature and make decisions that MAKE SENSE, both for the time and for the story. There was none of the ridiculous swooning and obsession that so often marks romances.

4/5 stars, because I did feel that some of the dialogue was really too modern and felt removed from the time period. Didn’t detract from the story itself, just from my absorption in it. Still highly recommend! I will definitely be coming back when I get the itch for a historical romance again, especially since this was the 5th in the Westcott series. All the previous relationships and people are well explained so that it CAN be read as a standalone, but it really made me curious!

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Blog | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram | Google+
Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,365 reviews44 followers
November 27, 2018
Unusually heartwarming!

Decidedly a romance with a difference! Widowed Elizabeth, Lady Overfield's story is a breath of fresh air in the regency romance genre. Elizabeth is nine years older than the man she becomes involved with in a plot that engenders several twists and where love blooms unexpectedly. This is a romance that could / should never be. (Yet, if the sexes were reversed and the age differences even greater, no one would even raise an eyebrow! I love the irony!) The subject of Elizabeth's reluctant feelings is Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, recently come into his title. Colin has no trouble with their age difference. Elizabeth however is undone by her feelings, her problems with trust, and her and Colin's age difference!
What can I say? Love in the afternoon comes calling.
The action started off slowly in a pleasurable white Christmas environment, gradually filling out the back stories of Elizabeth and Colin, building to its crescendo, and with that progression I found myself hanging on every word.
I loved this contribution to the Westcott series.

A NetGalley ARC
Profile Image for Dorine.
600 reviews31 followers
November 2, 2018
Rated 3.5 - SOMEONE TO TRUST by Mary Balogh is a good addition to the WESTCOTT series, reuniting fans with beloved characters of past and present during the holidays.

Elizabeth, Lady Overfield, is considering marriage for the second time. A widow, she wants someone serious and steadfast. A reliable, quiet man to possibly start a family with. But she also enjoys some harmless flirting with Colin Handrich, who inherited the Lord Hodges title after the death of his father. He’s ready to begin a family of his own after witnessing the happiness of the Westcott family during the holidays. Will this season bear fruitful for both as they encourage each other’s search?

Mary Balogh is one of my favorite authors, and one of the few authors who will get me to read the Regency era in fiction, so I look forward to everything she writes. This book is classic Balogh in so many ways. Her house parties and balls are divine, with everyone talking at once in a blended chaos. It’s so easy to picture the scenes in my head, and I especially loved the attention to detail during the dancing. I really felt as if I was on the sidelines watching it all play out.

I especially loved this couple in the beginning of the novel. Their attraction sparkles and you can feel it, as well as the denial due to their age difference. Should they even consider a relationship with Colin nine years younger than Elizabeth? I know it shouldn’t be frowned upon because it’s not highlighted when the man is older than a woman, but it’s just as true today as it was then, at least in my mindset. I have a hard time accepting that arrangement in a romance, and yet, Balogh made it seem plausible and enticed me to desire their success.

That said, I’m not sure how the beginning of this novel will work for a new reader without the benefit of reading the rest of the series. As an avid fan, I found the beginning pages overwhelming and a little snoozy. I wanted some action, and we float along through all the characters’ introductions, which although necessary for my forgetful brain, seemed like a huge chunk. That’s not how I normally feel about the beginning of a Balogh novel, so it surprised me. Not that I would stop reading it because of that, but for a new reader, it’s not representative of this author’s true magic.

Lady Hodges, Colin and Wren’s mother, is a ridiculous woman—a worst nightmare image of a wealthy spoiled brat. I felt sorry for Colin to have her as a mother, but even sadder for Wren for what she endured because of that woman. Colin grew up with his mother, and so it might be easier for him to forgive her, but Wren was estranged from her entire family because of the mother who couldn’t accept her disfigurement. Lady Hodges was the only part of this novel that I couldn’t relate to, and I found most interactions with her distasteful, as well as over-the-top ridiculous.

I enjoyed this novel, but it isn’t my favorite of the series. I laughed out loud at some situations and tears formed at others. I was shocked at one situation and thrilled that Avery (one of my favorites from a previous book) was very much himself at that moment—lethal but holding back to allow the situation to resolve itself, even though he’d be justified to do something about it.

Balogh is brilliant at writing the chaos of family and their good intentions, then amps it up a bit to make me laugh again. It’s a long book that has an enormous number of scenes and situations. The work involved creating something of this magnitude is mind-boggling, so I appreciate the endeavor beyond most books I read because of the volume of characters and their interactions. It’s really astounding how well it flows.

I think what bothered me most is that Lady Hodges took up too much page time for my taste. She seemed almost like a fairy-tale caricature of a wicked stepmother rather than a real person. That she was a mother to several children just turned my stomach. If I didn’t love the rest of the characters as much as I do, I would have stopped reading because of how annoyed I became with Lady Hodges.

I did love all the family time, but by the end I was ready for Elizabeth and Colin to move on without them. The end of the book did contain some appreciated humor, but I wanted a bigger glimpse into this couple’s future. Even though this book isn’t my favorite of the series, it was still a beautiful romance. I like that their journey was difficult and unusual, which made me appreciate their happy-ever-after more.

My favorite part of the book was the heroine and how everyone rallied around her. I especially appreciated how she loved them for their support but was strong enough to face down her demons on her own. Colin was not her backbone, nor was she his, but hand in hand they could move forward, knowing they could rely on each other to trust in themselves, independent yet making each other more comfortable to forgive their past. Enough to accept and look forward to their future. Neither of them had an easy life, so their life together would have to make allowance for their combined pasts to interfere sometimes.

SOMEONE TO TRUST gifts us with a second chance for an older woman with a younger man. The love story is believable and entertaining. I enjoyed their playful interactions and how they try to find someone else that will suit them better. There were so many cute moments between them that made me hopeful for their happy-ever-after. I especially enjoyed the holiday scenes and the fun in the snow, as well as the numerous gatherings and balls they both attended. This book was filled with party-time and very festive. Just what I look for in a story that’s centered around family celebrations.

I suggest you read the series in order prior to this book for the most enjoyment. Click on the following titles to read my reviews of the books in order: SOMEONE TO LOVE, SOMEONE TO HOLD, SOMEONE TO WED, and SOMEONE TO CARE. It’s one of the best series I’ve read.

Review by Dorine, courtesy of Romance Junkies. Digital copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.
Profile Image for Margo Collins.
Author 282 books1,068 followers
September 11, 2018
As usual, Balogh’s writing is absolutely gorgeous, drawing the reader into her characters with style and grace. I was delighted to discover in Elizabeth Overfield a Regency heroine over thirty. And even better, the hero, Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, is a younger man! At twenty-six, he’s old enough to be on the marriage market, but when he falls for Elizabeth, they have to face some interesting opposition from their society–and their own hearts. 5 stars.
Profile Image for Angie Elle.
856 reviews98 followers
November 27, 2018
ARC from the publisher

Someone to Trust is the fifth installment of Mary Balogh’s Wescott series, and what a charming story this was! I fell in love with this from the very beginning – the camaraderie between Elizabeth and Colin was sweet and genuine, and their instant chemistry was swoonworthy. But beneath the sweetness of this story, Elizabeth and Colin are both battling demons, even if Elizabeth’s are more prominent. After a disastrous marriage, Elizabeth has given up hope of ever finding love again, but it’s worth the sacrifice to instead feel safe. Colin grew up in the fold of a dysfunctional family with terrible secrets, and it’s all hidden behind his charming smile. One of the things that makes this story so special is that while both of these characters have a lot of scars, they are fully functional and for the most part, happy go lucky people. Elizabeth is resistant to Colin’s seemingly off-handed charm, and when Colin realizes it’s time for him to settle down, and he gives it an honest try, immersing himself in society and spending time with the ‘right’ young women. If you’re a fan of slow burn romance, you’ll be happy to know that Colin and Elizabeth are deeply ensconced in their friendship, neither ready to admit what is really going on between them but also unable to push their feelings aside. And it’s a long time before they finally admit it. This gives them plenty of time to open up to each other, and their friendship really does defy convention; Colin asks Elizabeth some deeply personal questions, and they’re about a part of her life that, in those days, one shouldn’t talk about. I loved the way they were so easily able to share with each other and learn to trust each other. It really was the foundation of their entire relationship. The age gap was addressed wonderfully in this story – Elizabeth’s doubts and fears were credible, and I could understand why she was so hesitant and tried to keep her feelings hidden. But Colin was just too persistent to let Elizabeth’s age be a stumbling block for them.

As far as the secondary characters go, they really were wonderfully written. Elizabeth’s family, both sides, are close and quick to close ranks when one of their own is on display for ton fodder. They were so willing to show affection with each other, and I just loved the way they banded together. I would say, though, that there were times it got a bit overwhelming and confusing with the family members (I didn’t need to know exactly where every one of them were standing or sitting in a room, or what each one was doing when they were outside participating in winter activities,) and for this reason, I would suggest reading these books in order, as I think it would be easier to keep them straight. But, I picked up this book having read only one of the previous from the series, and it completely swept me away. So while I suggest it, it’s not one hundred percent necessary. Colin’s family, on the other hand, was not kind at all (with the exception of Wren,) but they were written very well and there were definitely some surprises in store with them.

I would be remiss if didn’t mention how stunning these covers are; I feel like they capture the gentle nature of this series perfectly. Someone to Trust was a beautiful story about there being no bounds to love, and I think Mary Balogh fans, and Historical Romance fans in general, are going to love this one. And there are so many more stories within this family to tell! I really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Wescotts.

This review was originally posted on Books & Beauty Are My Bag.
Profile Image for OhWell.
719 reviews
December 31, 2018
No spark, no chemistry. If not for Lady Hodges’s antics, it would have been a crashing bore, to use the parlance of the times. The presence of all other family members was welcome, especially Avery who remains my favourite. One note regarding all relations, it’s hard to remember and keep them straight even with the included genealogy chart. They’re just too many!
Profile Image for Jude: The Epic Reader.
569 reviews77 followers
July 1, 2021
I was kind of disappointed...I liked it but I had a lot of expectations for it. Unfortunately, I found it boring and underwhelming. I don't normally read a book in the middle of a series without reading the previous books (even in series such as this where its not necessary) but I really just wanted to read this one. Which I kind of regret because this featured the couples from the other books and now I'm curious. I might read some of the others in this series.
Profile Image for SidneyKay.
613 reviews38 followers
December 27, 2018
A cornucopia of characters can be overwhelming – even from the best

I always look forward to Mary Balogh’s books. She’s always been one of my favorites. From the very beginning in 1983 with The Masked Deception, I knew she was special. Her books were always fuller, deeper, and more involved than most of the rest. She can handle tricky, controversial subjects with a quiet, subtle hand. Is she a Goddess? Well, yes! Does she sometimes not succeed? Well, yes – sometimes even Goddesses trip over words.

I was so excited when Someone to Trust came out. It was the first book I read when the new books hit the shelves. This story happens to be one of her more quiet romances and, much to my sorrow, it didn’t have the sparkle I have come to expect in a Balogh story. In fact, at times I found the narrative exhausting. Why is that, you may ask. Well, my little Petunia’s, every character in her Westcott series is in the book. The story seemed as if it were one gigantic epilogue, but instead of butterflies flapping we have snowflakes falling.

Someone to Trust begins where Someone to Care ends. It also happens to be set in the wintertime around the holidays, hence the snow. This story's romantic pair are Colin Handrich, Lord Hughes, and Lady Elizabeth Overfield. And, they get lost in the shuffle. Even though there is a pedigree chart in the front of the book, it only helps a little. For me, all those characters together were one big noisy clutter and trying to keep track of them gave me a headache. Let’s see, we have Eugenia, Dowager Countess of Riverdale. She is the grandmother of Camille Cunningham, the wife of Joel Cunningham. They are the parents of Winifred, Robbie, Sarah, and newborn Jacob. Camille was a Westcott, which means her siblings are Harry and Abigail Westcott. Those two haven’t had their stories, yet. Their mother is Viola Kingsley - notice the last name is different, (see Someone to Care). Viola recently married Marcel Lamarr and we are celebrating their marriage when this story begins. There is also Anna Archer, aka Westcott, aka Duchess of Netherby; her husband is Avery, Duke of Netherby. They have a child, Josephine. Then we have Alexander Westcott, Earl of Rivendale (he’s legitimate); he is married to Wren who is the sister of Colin – our hero. Wren has a birthmark on her face. They have a gooey child by the name of Nathan. All of these people are talking and having snowball fights – but wait there’s more! There is Lady Jessica Archer, half-sister to Avery and daughter of Louise. There is Boris, Ivan, and Peter. There is Michael, Mary, Matilda, Althea, Estelle, Bertrand, Louise, Sleepy, Sneezy, and Sleezy. Oh, and don’t forget Sir Geoffrey Codaire, but he’s not at the party. Also not at this party are Colin’s family, Lady Hodges and his sisters – they show up in a later section of the book. These are not the only people who populate this novel – there are just waaaay tooooo many for me to remember. Whenever, any of these people were introduced we also were given a brief wrap-up of their story. All of these characters overwhelmed the narrative and I was not able to enjoy Colin and Elizabeth’s romance.

Colin and Elizabeth’s romance is buried in the plethora of characters who move through the pages of this story. The main theme of the book was an age difference – she’s the eldest by nine years. But that was buried under the chaos. Let's not forget Colin’s horrible mother, who should never have been forgiven. She was a vain creature who thought only of herself. She was emotionally and psychologically abusive to mostly Wren, but Colin was also occasionally on the receiving end of his mother’s actions. For some reason Ms. Balogh chooses to sugarcoat Lady Hodges' character at the end. As far as I’m concerned, Colin and his sister Wren should never have had anything more to do with their mother. Why they would ever expose their future children to this woman was beyond me. As I’ve said before – just because people are related doesn’t been they should be part of the family.

Anyway, bottom line. I was disappointed in this story. I was overwhelmed by all of the characters who made an appearance in the book, both past and future ones. All of these supporting people distracted from the main couple, and I was not able to find any spark between Elizabeth and Colin. Normally, Ms. Balogh’s quiet books have a chemistry between the hero and heroine which is burning just below the surface. For me, there was no burning, yearning, or desire between Colin and Elizabeth. Sadly, they were hidden beneath too many people for a romance to develop.
Profile Image for Amarilli 73 .
2,162 reviews69 followers
March 18, 2021
Ehm... questa saga sembra davvero un peso da portare a termine per l'autrice.
Si arranca da un libro all'altro ma i volumi che scaldano il cuore sono davvero pochi, mentre invece si accumulano parenti a non finire.

Leggendo la sinossi, stavolta avevo finalmente presagito un guizzo intrigante, una relazione con una nobildonna più matura, una sorta di milf ante litteram e in ambiente regency, con tanto di ton sconvolto e sovvertimento delle convenzioni.
In realtà a mio parere lo sviluppo della trama non è riuscito a portare alla luce tante sfumature che potevano rendere meglio se approfondite un po' di più.

L'idea che lady Overfield sia più vecchia di Colin risulta annacquata dal fatto che nello stesso volume si parli della di lui madre che ha il difetto di non voler invecchiare, per cui a sessant'anni si atteggia a ragazzina, con tanto di vocina, vestiti e parrucche.
Questo accostamento finisce per togliere valore all'idea che anche una donna possa avere un amante/compagno molto più giovane: il lettore finisce per chiedersi perché Elizabeth può e invece lady Hodges debba risultare ridicola nell'accompagnarsi con ragazzoni sexy (io, ad esempio, la trovavo un'intrigante signora, ben più interessante delle ladies coetanee, tutte impettite a mantenere il decoro...).

E, in buona sostanza, l'età non è neppure il vero motivo per cui Colin si ritrova a sfidare il gossip, se non il fatto che lei è un'indecisa pazzesca, prima tutta remore, poi una che dà la propria parola e se la rimangia in un guizzo.
Se c'è una cosa che viene costantemente ribadito in questo genere di romanzi è il sacro rispetto della forma e dell'apparenza: ora, persino io comprendo perché a un poveraccio potrebbe partire l'embolo di gelosia se si sentisse lievemente sbeffeggiato alla propria festa di fidanzamento. E avrebbe pure avuto i suoi motivi per sfidare a duello (a tal proposito, non riesco più a tollerare il duca monocolato: caro Netherby, rispetto al mitico Bewcastle sei solo una pallida riproduzione).
Insomma, comunque lo si guardi, ci si ritrova sempre nel calderone dei matrimoni salva-scandalo con poche scene veramente movimentate.

Il resto è cicaleccio, estenuante cicaleccio, con frugoletti messi a casaccio tanto per riempire i vuoti, appelli e menzione di tutti (ben due famiglie) a ogni santo ritrovo, ricordandoci chi è sposato con chi e quale titolo possiede. Forse l'unica serie in cui si sarebbe tentati di desiderare qualche figlio unico in più...
Profile Image for Debby *BabyDee*.
1,137 reviews58 followers
May 29, 2019
The last in this series from M.B. that started off nicely but turned a little dull for me. I had to push my way through this as it dragged along. As in Someone to Wed, I truly didn't like the H's mother, Lady Hodges who is just down right dispicable. She takes the cake and all the trimmings from this story.

A bit of a disappoint on this one but I do love M.B. as an author and the narration was just great.

Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books329 followers
November 22, 2018
The Westcotts and extended family all together for the holidays, a surprise wedding that carries over from the last book, and a new budding romance that is built on friendship and takes everyone including the romance pair unawares. Gently-paced, sweet, and all the holiday feels wrapped up in one engaging story.

Someone to Trust is the fifth book in the Westcott series. While it might seem all right to pick it up as a standalone or out of order because it is an all new pair with no earlier threads together, this series is one that really works best in order. There is a strong connection of family and situation as each book builds on the last. Many scenes involving the larger family and references to the past might not grab a new reader to the series.

Someone to Trust actually overlaps a little in the beginning with the previous book, Someone to Care, so it is a spoiler if someone was planning to read the fourth book. This is Elizabeth, Lady Overfield's book. Elizabeth has been the sweet, tenderhearted support for everyone and hides her secret pain and loneliness behind a twinkling smile. Christmas is a joyous time particularly this year as the whole extended family assembles at Brambledean, her brother's home, and she is enjoying it, but can't help watching all the happy new couples and young families with envy. That is a dream she feels that she cannot have; but she is determined to participate in the upcoming London she will settle for a nice man to give her her own family and home. However, her eye and mind keep straying to Colin Handrich, Lord Hodge, her sister in law's younger brother. He's too young for her to even consider, but she wishes it were not so because she enjoys the laughter and fun and companionship they have. He even is the keeper of some of her saddest and darkest memories that no one else knows.

Colin, for his part, has never know this sort of feeling. He is nearly overwhelmed by the love, support, and laughter of this huge, generous family who pull him into their group because he is Wren's brother. Elizabeth Overfield, most of all. He knows that he needs to get about the business of doing his duty as head of his family by marrying and settling down on the family estate while taking his mother's extravagance and wildness in hand. He looks about and has some of the most beautiful eligible girls paraded before him, but they can't compare to the one woman who refuses to consider him because he is her junior and she claims he can do better than her. He has to watch sadly as she prepares to accept a boring, 'safe' match. But, will he take his chance when he gets it and convince Elizabeth she can trust him to be what she needs?

This one was heartwarming and slow-burn. It starts off slow with holiday and family and the early moments of Colin and Elizabeth's friendship. There are a few brief moments of flirtation and glimpses that they share an attraction, but then they try to be sensible save for a whimsy that they will dance the first waltz together at every London ball they both attend. I didn't mind the slow build and it made sense since Elizabeth is an abuse survivor and Colin has his own tangled past with his family.

And, that brings me to the family element. Colin came from a cold, lonely background with a distracted father and a narcissistic mother. He knows his sister was treated awful and sent away and he sees the way his mother twists and warps people to suit only her needs. It is all in stark contrast to Elizabeth's warm and giving family. Incidentally, for fans of Georgette Heyer, I'm pretty sure there is homage being paid to the book, Venetia, in the form of another narcissistic mother.

The romance requires a lot of patience because it truly does take its time. It's not absent in the beginning and middle of the story, but it is in a unnoticed or denied form by the players and even when they come together there is still more needing to happen to bring about the true swoony happily ever after. But, it does get there and was worth it.

All in all, I was in a mood to match with the tone, pace, world, characters, and friends to lovers in this holiday historical romance. I love the series and the whole family of Westcotts. There are a handful of stories that I really want and I'm not sure who is getting theirs next, but I'll take any of them. I can definitely recommend this one and the whole series.

My thanks to Berkley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Marlene.
2,842 reviews191 followers
November 30, 2018
Originally published at Reading Reality

This is the latest volume in the marvelous historical romance Westcott series. The series as a whole deals with the consequences of the late Lord Humphrey Westcott’s bastardy. That bastardy was only in the metaphorical sense, but he certainly qualified. When it was discovered, upon his death, that his marriage to his still-living countess was bigamous – on his part – his family was forced to re-think their entire future. Not just his now illegitimate son and daughters whose futures were suddenly not what they thought they were, as they and his wife were ostracized by society, but also the lives of both his legitimate daughter, suddenly an heiress, and his cousin who has acquired a title that came with a neglected estate, a load of debt, and no money to deal with either.

What makes the series so marvelous is the way that each of the affected people deals with the sudden change in their circumstances. While it is not necessary to read them all to enjoy any one in particular, they are great stories. If you want the full tale of just how big a bastard Lord Humphrey is, start with Someone to Love, appropriately titled because the Westcott family, minus Lord Humphrey, is very lovable indeed.

Even though the overall story has not yet dealt with all of the late Lord Humphrey’s children (I suspect the story about his son Harry is going to be last) the family connections have expanded enough through marriage that we are able to get this delightful romance between two of those connections on the outer fringe of the group.

Elizabeth Overfield is still a relatively young widow at 35, and she has reached the conclusion that it is time for her to marry again and finally set up her own household now that her brother Alex has found the love of his life. (Alex and Wren’s story is in Someone to Wed)

But Alex and Wren’s marriage has brought Wren’s brother Colin into the Westcott fold. Because of the circumstances of Wren’s early life, as detailed in Someone to Wed, Wren is estranged from most of her family – and with good reason.

Colin would prefer not to have much to do with his mother and his other sisters himself, not after hearing Wren’s full story, but he doesn’t have much choice. Colin is Lord Hodges, the head of his family, and he needs to do something to keep his narcissistic mother both in line and out of his business. It’s going to be an uphill battle – especially as it’s a battle he’s avoided since he gained the title several years ago upon the death of his father. Colin is now 26 and it’s past time for him to take up all his responsibilities – including finding a wife and continuing the family.

Colin and Elizabeth meet at the Westcott family Christmas party, the first of what will clearly be an ongoing tradition at her brother Alex’s partially updated family pile. (He’s working on it, and it needs a LOT of work)

As people who are both a bit outside the central family circle, Colin and Elizabeth gravitate towards each other, and discover that they like each other’s company very much indeed. More than either of them is willing to admit to the other – or even to themselves.

Elizabeth is 9 years older than Colin, so any relationship between them other than friendship seems impossible. She can’t believe he would be interested in a woman so many years older, and he can’t believe she’d be interested in someone so callow and immature.

Except, of course, they’re both wrong. And so very right for each other.

Escape Rating A-: I love it when an older woman/younger man romance does it right, as Someone to Trust certainly does. I also hate it when it’s done wrong or for laughs, which never happens in this story.

While the time and place are different, the thoughts running through Colin’s and especially Elizabeth’s heads are very real and ring true to life. My life. I’m 20 years older than my husband, so when this trope works for me, it really works. When it doesn’t, it grates like sandpaper.

No sandpaper in this romance.

This series in general has been terrific. Each of the people affected by Lord Humphrey’s mess are affected differently, and their reactions, while different, have felt realistic. Harry joined the army. His older sister gets a job. His mother retreats. His cousin tries to find a woman he can love who also happens to have a fortune so he can handle the responsibilities he’s just been saddled with.

Colin and Elizabeth are less directly affected by Lord Humphrey’s shenanigans, but they have plenty of issues of their own. Elizabeth’s late and totally unlamented husband was an alcoholic who beat her during his drunken rages. She married him because she loved him, and doesn’t trust herself to fall in love again. Once burned, twice shy, and with good reason.

Colin’s family, with the exception of his sister Wren, is a piece of work. Especially his mother, who fits the classic definition of a narcissist, whether the term was known or not in the 19th century. Just because there’s no word for something doesn’t mean the phenomenon doesn’t exist. The scary thing about his mother is that she’s real. I’ve met people like that, even to that degree although it manifested differently. And they are every bit as frightening as his mother because they live in their own little world and do entirely too good a job of manipulating the rest of the world into conforming with their self-centered views – because they can’t hear or see anything else.

One of the issues with any age gap romance, whichever direction it goes, is to deal with closing the emotional/maturity/experience gap. This is all too often glossed over when the gap goes in the traditional direction, but it’s always there.

In this story, it’s handled well. Colin’s experience with his parents, particularly his mother, would result in him growing up early. When the parent is the child, the child becomes the parent. It works.

And so does the rest of this story, as Colin and Elizabeth meet in the middle, and realize that in spite of all of the outside voices that say they couldn’t possibly love each other or have a successful marriage, the still, small voices inside their own hearts are very, very sure that they can and they will.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 669 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.