Review: Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

Reviewed by Jen

This book was not my favorite from Mary Balogh. It got off to a very slow start for me, though it did improve once it finally got around to the romance. This is book five in the Westcott series, and I have read the previous four books. Even with the backstory I know, however, there are just too many characters for anyone to keep straight. For the first 10 chapters, I found myself tempted to keep flipping back to the birth chart at the beginning, and that’s no way to really lose yourself in a story.

Probably the first third of the book was spent reminding us who everyone was, how they were related, and why they were all together for Christmas. There was a great deal of narration and very little feeling from either main character. Basically, the only thing established was that Elizabeth and Colin thought well of each other but were nine years apart in age. Yes, this is an older woman younger man story. And it completely dominated the dynamic of their relationship.

Yes, I know it was unheard of for an older woman to snag a younger man back in the day, but it was such a tiresome thing for this to be repeated over and over and over again. Poor Elizabeth has been alone for years; her late husband beat her and eventually drank himself to death. Now she is considering marriage to a guy she doesn’t even love, just to start her life over again. And it’s one of the things that keeps the romance from taking off. Most of the book, she is pursuing a relationship with another man while Colin searches for a socially acceptable wife, ie. a younger woman. The dynamic between Elizabeth and Colin was subtle, hovering as something just a bit more than a friendship… until circumstances finally allow them to come together.

While Elizabeth’s issue is basically carrying around the burden of being 35, Colin’s conflict is found in his Whatever Happened to Baby Jane-type mom. The woman is super crazy and convinced she is a beautiful, young thing and is weirdly obsessed with Colin marrying someone equally as beautiful. He is working to repair his family relationships as his mom threatens to derail his future.

The book was at its best in the scenes where Elizabeth and Colin were together. This is a romance born of friendship and I believed in their feelings for one another. But this was never really a fiery or passionate joining. It was… sweet. Even the sex scenes were kind of summaries more than anything designed to make your heart beat faster.

It was nice to see an older heroine for a change. But I think I would have enjoyed this more if such a huge point hadn’t been made of it –and if there were about half as many characters. Not only were there a ton of adult relatives, but I was drowning in all the babies.

A satisfying ending on the romance front… though I do wish Colin would have gotten the answers he was looking for about his family and his own history.

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Someone to Trust
by Mary Balogh
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Publisher: Berkley

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