LET'S GET IT ON with Someone to Hold (Westcott #2) by Mary Balogh
Hello! Yes, you’re still here at FYA; you did not stumble onto Smart Bitches by accident. Sometimes we like to take a break and read some adult lit, for scientific purposes, of course.
The inclusion of the parasol is there to let you know that this isn’t going to be one of those Regency bodice-rippers. This is a classy book, y’all.
What's Your Type?:
Well-off orphans, riches-to-rags, sexy schoolteacher, art as a window to the soul
Camille Westcott used to a Lady, but the scandalous reveal after her father’s death of his bigamous ways caused his entire fortune to be given to his only legitimate child, former orphan-cum-schoolteacher turned Duchess, Anna Snow. Now Camille is “broke” and can’t bear to accept charity from her family, and to exert her independence she’s (for whatever reason) Single White Female-ing Anna’s former life: living in the orphanage (in her former room), playing schoolteacher to the younger orphans (in her old classroom), and trying to avoid the art teacher who shares her classroom (Anna’s best friend).
Joel has made a name for himself as a commissioned portrait artist, but he still gives back to the only place he can call home (the orphanage) by volunteering as the art teacher twice a week. He’s still sort-of obsessing over his best friend, whom he was super in love with before she went off to marry a natty Duke, but he has a very Noah Calhoun-esque agreement with a widow for no-strings attached sexytimes and stimulating conversation to tide over his libido.
Joel is horrified to discover that the stern, humorless new teacher is none other than his best friend’s half-sister, the one who refuses to speak to St. Anna.
Camille is similarly horrified to be around such an ungentlemanly, scruffy, strong, virile sort of man…sorry, where was I?
Camille’s grandmother hears about Joel’s work and commissions him to do portraits of her granddaughters, so Joel and Camille suddenly have to spend a lot more time with each other than they’d planned.
Despite Camille’s tendencies to stand around like she’s got a large stick up her butt, frowning at everything she sees, Joel is determined to get to know her, since he strives to paint his subjects as they are, not how they want to be. The two end up taking long walks and conversing over tea (man, this sounds so British) and when Camille ends up in Joel’s little apartment (alone and unchaperoned, for God’s sake. Why not just wave your panties in the street and declare yourself deflowered?), she begs for him to hold her when she’s overwhelmed by her feelings.
There are a couple of love scenes, but they are all very tasteful. Camille allows Joel to undress her, then lays down and waits patiently while he undresses. Picture those classic white, billowy curtains in the window, wafting in the breeze, but ones that you can sort of see through enough to make out shapes and outlines. That is what these sex scenes are like.
See above; there was no mid-coitus discussions going on during those tasteful love-making descriptions. What struck me as I was reading was that, to me, “Joel” just isn’t a very sexy name. Sorry to all those men out there named Joel who are reading this and just sent a thousand thought-daggers my way.
Ms. Perky's Prize for Purplest Prose:
There wasn’t much to choose from, but when Mary Balogh decided to bust out her sexy imagery dictionary, she delivered—and by delivered, I mean attempted to make what sounded like a routine dental exam hot:
“…his tongue probing her lips and the flesh behind, entering her mouth, circling her own tongue, feathering over the roof of her mouth so that she felt a raw, purely physical ache of desire between her thighs and up inside her.”
I hope Joel-the-Dentist was wearing gloves.
In order to 'sex' Joel up for myself, I pictured him as one of my favorite Englishmen, Matthew Goode.
Camille can be quite stiff and upper-crust-y when she feels backed into a corner, and nobody makes haughty faces like Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary.
Was It Good For You, Too?:
Overall this was a sweet, quiet story about two lonely souls learning how to depend on others and trust in family. Balogh occasionally went on a bit long about Joel’s passion for art and having to “know” someone before he painted them, but the story had a lot of heart, and those darn rich-people-cast-off orphans were adorable. Much like its name, Someone to Hold is more sweet cuddle than sexy romp, so I’d pick this up when you're in the feel-good mood.
FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Berkley Romances. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Someone to Hold is available now.