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Last week, ahead of Veterans Day, I reviewed the television series My Grandparents’ War that followed four British actors as they explored what their ancestors did during World War II. Tina enjoyed Buried Lies by Jenny O’Brien, including the names of Welsh locations.
Book: Someone to Honor, Someone to Remember, Someone to Romance, and Someone to Cherish by Mary Balogh
Genre: Historical romance
Publication date: 2019-2021
Source: e-books borrowed from the library
Summary: These are books 6, 6.5, 7, and 8 in the Westcott series by Mary Balogh, continuing the series that began with Someone to Love. In that book, orphan Anna Snow discovered that she was the only legitimate daughter of an Earl. At the same time, the three people who thought they were the legitimate heirs were shocked to learn that they were not.
We learned the stories of the Earl’s oldest disinherited daughter in an earlier story (Someone to Hold).
In Someone to Honor, we learn the story of the second daughter, Abigail Westcott, who took several years to reassess what path her life might take now and begins to value her experience outside the restriction of the ton. In Someone to Cherish, we get the story of the son, Harry Westcott, who expected to be the earl and, instead, makes himself into a soldier, returning with physical and mental challenges to overcome.
In between, we get the novella Someone to Remember about one of several elder women in the Westcott family who gets a surprise late-in-life second-chance at love. This one is a delight because it features the oldest romantic lead characters in any story that I’ve read.
Someone to Romance tells the story of a cousin and best friend to Abigail, Jessica Archer. She’s now experienced several Seasons of the ton, but always with the deep disappointment of not having Abigail at her side as they expected. She doesn’t expect to find true love, but she is ready to be married and needs to make a choice among her suitors, unless someone new comes along to stir things up.
Thoughts: I read these back-to-back in the late summer when my 85-year-old mother-in-law was dying. They proved, as I expected, to be comforting reads that got me through the final days and the funeral. I was slow to get them reviewed, but this seemed like the right time, since the publication date for the next book in the series is later this month.
I enjoyed reading them all together in a bunch. I’d forgotten some of the characters and family relationships since reading Someone to Trust in early 2019. But, they all came clear again and stayed easily in mind as I blew through these four stories.
I’ll follow Heather’s lead from a few months ago and make note that Regency novels engage in sleight-of-hand to ignore that the economic good times were bought with the forced labor of humans bonded in chattel slavery. The worst example in this batch was the hero of Someone to Romance.
Gabriel Thorne made his fortune in America, running a shipping company out of Boston. The significance of this is never made clear and is probably missed by most readers — since we learned a white-washed version of history that didn’t make the darker parts very clear.
A successful shipping company based in Boston in the early 1800s would be engaged in transporting either enslaved people from Africa to the Americas or in transporting sugar (or products made from sugar) that was harvested by enslaved people. My schooling barely touched on this topic. I got my education in this subject matter from the documentary Traces of the Trade about a modern family who discovered their hidden genealogical legacy from a New England shipping company.
Obviously, I recognize that romance readers don’t want to be conked on the head with the worst of human history. These books were a source of comfort in a time of distress for me, after all. Still, I’ve seen it done well, occasionally, and I’d like see more acknowledgment and less sweeping of things under the rug. I’ve learned enough, now, that it’s more disturbing to recognize the deliberately cloaked story than it is to have it revealed.
Appeal: This is a series that is best enjoyed from the beginning.
I reviewed some previous books in this series:
Watch for Someone Perfect to be published on November 30, 2021.
Have you read this series? What did you think?