Book: Someone to Wed (Westcott #3)
Author: Mary Balogh
Format: Kindle, through Libby (library app)
There’s a reason this entry is labeled as commentary and not a review. First of all, the book had some much plot dump from books 1-2 and that I felt frustrated and annoyed. Yes, many characters make a return, but I would bet a solid fifth of the book is a review of what happened in previous books. By now, I have no need to hear what Netherby did to defend Anastasia against Uxbury. It’s totally irrelevant to the plot of this book.
The actual plot of this book was intriguing- a heroine with a port-wine birthmark on her face and the hero who marries her. She has to overcome early childhood trauma and having lived as a recluse for years. He has to… be good looking and love her. Her maid, who is her closest relationship, only ever appears in the context of her duties and there is no back-and-forth, which was frustrating because then she (the maid) is a completely underdeveloped character.
The writing (use of English) was very good and I actually highlighted and saved some quotes, which is rare for me in this genre.
“Surely if we like and respect each other, if we make an effort to live and work with each other, to make a home of our house and a family of any children with whom we may be blessed—surely then we can expect some happiness. We can even expect moments of vivid, conscious joy. But only if we want it and work for it and never allow ourselves to become complacent or imagine we are bored or inadequate. And only if we understand there is no such thing as happily-ever-after… When we refuse to learn, we often end up stunting our growth and never becoming the person we have the potential to be.” (43%)
Life was a continuous series of tests, all or some or none of which one might pass or fail and learn from or not. (72%)
Those were thought-provoking and, simply, good writing.
That being said, when the book almost became a DNF. I’m struggling with my feelings about the following, which may get a little spoiler-y, so this is your WARNING!!!
When Wren eventually meets the long-absent villain (who has haunted her), the person is awful. Fine. That happens.
HERE IS THE SPOILER!!!
That person is her mother. Her mother believes that the port-wine stain on Wren’s face is a punishment to her (the mother) for not wanting to have another child and perhaps for attempting to abort Wren.
I realize that science at the time may not have fully understood or spread information about birthmarks. I also understand how someone, at the time, might have had magical thinking about physical realities being connected to thoughts.
What I don’t like is the connection of abortion to the clear villainy of the mother. People who have good hearts choose to terminate pregnancies and people who act like assholes make the same decision. That’s the way the worlds turns. Nevertheless, when we are presented with someone who is clearly horrible, the connection of efforts toward aborting her fetus seem like supporting evidence to her horribleness. I felt like that additional detail was unnecessary.
Reading that quick thought in the middle of many other sentences took me out of the book and frustrated me.
Between that and the unnecessary plot dumps, I can’t give this book better than a solid C.