Someone to Remember
By Mary Balogh
#7 The Westcott Series
Genre: Historical Romance | Regency Romance
Ebook (reviewed): also available in hardcover and paperback editions
Published by Penguin Random House under the Berkley Imprint
Nov 05, 2019
It’s never too late to fall in love in this enchanting new story, a novella in the Westcott series from New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh.
Matilda Westcott has spent her life tending to the needs of her mother, the Dowager Countess of Riverdale, never questioning the web of solitude she has spun herself. To Matilda, who considers herself an aging spinster daughter, marriage is laughable—love is a game for the young, after all. But her quiet, ordered life unravels when a dashing gentleman from her past reappears, threatening to charm his way into her heart yet again.
Charles Sawyer, Viscount Dirkson, does not expect to face Matilda Westcott thirty-six years after their failed romance. Moreover, he does not expect decades-old feelings to emerge at the very sight of her. When encountering Matilda at a dinner hosted by the Earl of Riverdale, he finds himself as fascinated by her as he was the first day they met, and wonders whether, after all these years, they have a chance at happiness together. Charles is determined to crack the hard exterior Matilda has built up for more than three decades, or he will risk losing her once again…. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/611555/someone-to-remember-by-mary-balogh/9780593099728/
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
I’ve always enjoyed Mary Balogh’s work, and her work doesn’t usually go down the rabbit hole of lost time and regret, but this one does. I hate waste: wasted food, wasted years, wasted love. On the one hand, sometimes the people in what I think of as a “lost-time” trope have to go through some stuff to get to a place where they’re ready for marriage, but here, oh, here, Matilda has wasted her life as her mother’s unwanted care-taker while Charles had a marriage of convenience with fondness and children he loves. Certainly, Matilda had other offers, but none were Charles.
It made me so angry that Matilda, a dutiful daughter prevented from marrying the guy she loved because he was her very ne’er-do-well brother’s friend. Dutiful – Matilda never questioned her parents decision: and even though her parents put her in this position she’s scorned by them and kindly pitied by the extended family. Frankly, I wanted to see Matilda’s mother fall down the stairs. She apologizes, but not with the remorse I would expect for having ruined her daughter’s life.
One could blame Matilda for putting up with the charade, but a young woman wouldn’t have access to money and if “ruined” could be cast off by her family.
The couple meeting again after so long, after Charles has become respectable and Matilda has, in all likelihood, gone through menopause, but while I am glad for the couple meeting up, I kept thinking about how her parents totally effed up her life.
For me that was, obviously, the overriding theme of the book. Maybe I had to many people in my younger life who didn’t marry because of their parents’ expectations or prohibitions, but this really annoyed me. Especially since, at the time, a woman had very few choices. But, there is more: how his children will react, how her mother reacts and whether she is encouraged, how the Ton will behave, etc. and Balogh addresses a lot of these in a short format.
People always poopoo the Regency romance, but this author tends to explore lot of themes in her stories: relationships that get started the wrong way, marriages that show how ridiculously powerless a woman could be, and, conversely, how a woman who experienced loss of position and future become stronger on their own terms. The men aren’t all bad: Charles, for example, leaves rake-dom behind and becomes a better man. She writes great Regencies – I’d hate to miss them.