Mary Balogh returns to her Westcott historical romance series with Someone to Honor, an emotional and sweetly indulgent romance in which first impressions aren’t always indicative of a person’s true character.
Abigail Westcott and Gilbert Bennington truly get off on the wrong foot after she chastises him for working shirtless on the Westcott estate. It’s not proper, especially when there are young, unwed ladies in his midst. And this single interaction leads to a host of misunderstandings. Abigail makes the assumption that Gil is just a servant on the grounds and not the officer who helped her brother return home from the Napoleonic Wars. Meanwhile, Gil reduces Abigail’s comments to her being a spoiled and rich woman, something that deeply taps into his feelings of inadequacy given their class differences.
Despite their disastrous first meeting, Abigail and Gil begin spending more and more time together, often enjoying walks around the grounds, where they have rather insightful and illuminating conversations. Gil realizes he was wrong about his assessment of Abigail. She’s a wealthy and independent woman whose life was upturned by a family scandal. Meanwhile, Abigail learns of Gil’s heroic treatment of her brother, and when he reveals a personal, heartbreaking predicament, Abigail and her brother offer to help. But that help comes in the form of marriage.
Self-assured and practical, Abigail has grown accustomed to being a pariah since her father’s bigamy scandal. What she never expected was how much it would give her in the ways of freedom. With no man wanting to attach his name to her, Abigail has settled into a lovely, quiet country life in which she can do as she pleases. Gil carries lingering trauma from his military service, and while he may have earned the respect of many, he can’t shake the insecurity he feels from being an illegitimate child and growing up in poverty. A bit broody, Gil is a hero who prefers to observe and be on the sidelines, harboring an understandable distrust for upper-crust society.
Balogh writes with an inescapable tenderness, in which each conversation furthers Gil and Abigail’s affection ever so slightly. There is always a softness and subtlety to Balogh’s romances, serving as a lasting reminder that love is patient and kind. Previous fans of the Westcott series will love seeing familiar faces integrated into Gil and Abigail’s romance. Though well-meaning, the Westcott family isn’t afraid to meddle and can’t leave well enough alone.
With a relationship built on trust that slowly blooms with understanding, Someone to Honor is another fantastic novel by Balogh, who expertly navigates all the highs and lows that come before a happily ever after.