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Courting the Countess Paperback – October 5, 2016
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Close to clean regency perfection! If not for just a couple of unbelievable stretches, it would be a resounding 5 stars! The storyline employs some very creative and unique twists - something rare these days with the plethora of regency offerings out there - that make this lovely story absolutely delightful reading.
Those glitches? The fact that Richard and Elizabeth didn't consummate their marriage for MONTHS after the marriage was a bit of an impossible stretch, especially after their problems had been resolved. A story really can stay clean while still allowing a normal marital relationship flourish. That and the slight eye-rolling thread that kept Elizabeth pining after Triston although she had only known him 5 days. Otherwise Ms. Hatch has created a pitch perfect romance!
Spoilers Ahead-Don't Read if You Don't Want to Know***************************************************************
At a summer house party the h is caught in the garden with a young man with a reputation for being a rake and her brother saw them kissing. All of a sudden there is a duel threatened, her father and mother are raging at her for being so stupid, the young man she thinks is in love with her has not volunteered to marry her, and her reputation is ruined by all the gossip that the party goers will spread as soon as they return to London. The rake's brother, the H who is an Earl, tries to intervene to save his brother's life. He has lost everyone in his family except his brother and he can't bear to risk loosing him too. The h's father is a Duke and he would rather have an Earl for his son-in-law than a second son with a reputation as a rake so he will only call off the duel if the Earl marries his daughter.
The Earl feels honor bound to agree to marry the girl. Unfortunately the h thinks she is in love the brother who is a rake and that he loves her too. She doesn't even know the Earl. The Earl thinks he is in love with the girl he has planned to marry since they were children, and she is definitely in love with him. So their marriage can only cause heart break for all four of the people involved. Also, the Earl's mother left him and his brother when she walked out on his father when he was only a child. Therefore he doesn't trust anyone to not leave him just as his mother did.
The h's mother is actually her step-mother but her father has kept it secret since she was born because her mother was actually his mistress who he loved; she died shortly after the h was born and his wife had a stillborn at the same time so he switched the babies. His wife has hated her all her life and beat her regularly with horse whips, telling her she was stupid, and other insults until the h believed her. And that is just the beginning of the story. Whew!
The rest of the book is a heart wrenching story of guilt and blame. Can the H learn to trust his brother and his wife? Will he ever believe they aren't having an affair? Every time the h and the rake are in the same building the H thinks they are either sneaking off to have a tryst or just returning from one. The H doesn't want to let himself be hurt so he refuses to fall in love with his wife but he has to fight against temptation so much he has to ignore her for days!!!! The poor h is so confused; he is warm to her one day and the next several days he won't even allow himself to be in the same room with her. They don't even consume their marriage for months.
There is a lot more to the story and some good side stories, but overall this is a melodrama that IMHO can be skipped. If you like stories about characters who wallow in self-flagellation this book might be for you.
I volunteered to read this book and the review is entirely by choice and not influenced by any person or party other than myself
I really liked both Elizabeth and Richard. Elizabeth was a survivor who shoulder on even when she felt lonely and abandoned. She was very kind to others misfortune. Richard was a true gentleman and was very protective of those in his care. I was a bit frustrated from time to time of Elizabeth and Richard misconceptions. Overall I enjoyed the story and was very happy with the book by the end.
Most recent customer reviews
I just wanted to see how it all played out. I finished at 5:05,am this morning.