I saw a recent tweet complaining that romance novels are boring because they’re predictable. The two leads get together in the end. How can they be interesting at all!

What I wanted to say (but didn’t, because I am already too online) is that the predictability is the point. You don’t go into reading a crime novel thinking you won’t find out who did it in the end. The same is with romance novels: knowing there’s a happy ending is one of the reasons I sometimes pick one up. I don’t need to be surprised. I just want some enjoyable company.

Which is how I once again selected a Mary Balogh book, this time Someone to Love, the first book in the Westcott series (Book 39 of 52 of 2022 was also a Westcott book). I’ve said this before, but I’ll sometimes buy three or four books in a romance series just to have on hand for when I need them. Two weekends ago, I had a brush with hypothermia (I went out running early to beat the rain, and I didn’t) and couldn’t focus on anything more than Donald Duck cartoons. When I started to feel better, I tried picking up a book to read but started and stopped four different ones. Which brought me to the stack of Balough’s books on my shelf.

In this one, we have Anna Snow, a teacher at an orphanage where she was once an orphan herself. She is brought into the circle of the Duke of Netherby because, it turns out, her father himself was an aristocrat. When he dies, her true parentage is revealed, and she unwillingly becomes an aristocrat too.

Of course they fall in love. Of course! The twist in this one is that the Duke isn’t tall, dark and handsome. Instead, he is a “small, slight, golden man.” He was beat up as a kid because of his size, and found martial arts to protect himself.

Unlike Balogh’s other books I’ve read, I didn’t think this one was 50 pages too long. Hooray! I’m sure there will be another Westcott book reviewed ahead (but hopefully I won’t freeze myself on a run to lead into it).

Nail polish: Rated Pea-G by OPI 

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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