Someone to Romance (The Westcott Series)

Written by Mary Balogh
Review by Ray Thompson

When Gabriel Thorne, newly returned from America, encounters Lady Jessica Archer at an inn, his response is resentment at one who represents the class system he dislikes. He does, however, need a wife, and her qualifications are perfect. For her part, at the age of twenty-five Jessica has grown weary of her privileged, but unfulfilling, life and is ready to wed at last. She is not, however, overjoyed when Gabriel tells her he intends to marry her. Though a love match might be too much to hope for, she would prefer someone willing to look beyond her social credentials, someone to ‘romance’ her. Might he be the one?

This is a variant of the Sleeping Beauty story (roses and thorns proliferate), and it adds depth to this Regency romance. As seventh in the Westcott series, it is crowded with Jessica’s relatives we met in earlier books, and it can be difficult to keep track of them all. They are, fortunately, a likeable brood; the challenges of clearing Gabriel of criminal accusations and punishing the real villain are satisfactorily overcome; but romance? Love, possibly? Not an easy path, but Balogh steers them through the perils with heart-warming skill.

Highly recommended.