Monday, November 29, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Someone Perfect by Mary Balogh

 I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review.

Mary Balogh is on her ninth Westcott novel. Someone Perfect is being released tomorrow. I love the Westcott romances with all the intricate family relations. They are going far afield now to more peripheral members. There are still a few more to be matched up, so those Balogh addicts among us don’t have to fear running out. Moreover, this novel’s heroine links up with a hero who also has an extended family with some young folks who will need spouses eventually. It isn’t a given they will all get books of their own, but it’s comforting to know they are out there waiting.

That said, Someone Perfect was a bit disappointing. It was a sweet romance with emotional depth and fine characters. But too many new folks were introduced who didn’t seem important to the plot. It may be a setup for future books, but I won’t remember them all by the time their books are out. And there was too much repetition. We’d be led by the hand into a scene so we’d know what to expect, the lovely scene would unfold as expected, and then one of the protagonists would, with internal monologue, repeat for us what had just occurred. A little less of that would have made the novel more engrossing.

Justin Wiley, the Earl of Brandon, was a sweet happy child, even with the death of his mother in an accident when he was ten. He handled the remarriage of his father to a woman who seemed to quarrel with everyone. He had a step-sister, fourteen years younger, whom he adored. So, what happened? He was banished from the household in his early twenties and essentially disappeared until his father died. Then he returned to take up the responsibilities of an earl. He immediately sent his stepmother and step-sister to the country and did not visit that sister for two years, until after his stepmother died.

His step-sister, Maria, hates him. She wishes nothing to do with him, even though he had once been the light of her life.

Estelle Lamarr is one of the peripheral Westcotts. She lives quietly in the country with her twin brother. She’s a friend of Maria’s. When Brandon comes to claim Maria and bring her “home,” Estelle is put off by his cold, harsh demeanor. Yet when he asks her to visit his estate to help Maria accommodate to her new situation, Estelle recognizes that he isn’t cruel. She agrees to go.

That is the setup. Brandon has to learn to let his past and present merge, and to let the walls he has built up be broken down. Estelle has to decide whether she really wants to live a secluded life or to be surrounded by people—by family. They both have to learn to be vulnerable and honest with one another.

There are no real surprises here, but the characters are easy to pull for. And I’m glad to be left with the impression that there will be more in the series.

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