Someone to Love

Written by Mary Balogh
Review by Ray Thompson

When the Countess of Riverdale instructs her solicitor to find the illegitimate daughter whom her late husband has been supporting in an orphanage near Bath, and compensate her with a final settlement, she assumes this act will protect the reputation of her own children. But when he finds Anna Snow, now a teacher at the orphanage, he discovers that the late Earl had actually married her mother. Not only is Anna legitimate, moreover, but the second marriage took place before her mother died. Since it was bigamous, it was invalid and the children illegitimate. Though unaware of her family connections, Anna (Lady Anastasia Westcott) is the sole heir.

The consequences of this shattering revelation allow the author to explore not just Regency conventions, like the snobbery and sense of entitlement of the aristocracy, and double standards in the treatment of women, but such timeless issues as conflict within families and the psychological wounds that trouble orphans. In the Duke of Netherby, the admirable heroine finds a suitable husband, of course. This is, after all, a Regency romance. But it is elegantly constructed. Highly recommended.