Monday, August 23, 2010
How I Met My Countess
Romance; Historical; Series
Source: Picked up cheap in a thrift store.
I've never read a romance that had so many chapters set in the past but it's necessary in order to fully tell the love story of Lucy and Clifton (His name appears to actually be Justin Grey but he's never called that.) Seven years earlier, he and his brother Malcolm arrived at her father's home to be inducted in to the world of spies. Along the way, they fall in love. But Lucy is illegitimate and Clifton is an earl so her father tried to manage her expectations. Seven years later she is widowed after marrying in desperation and thinking Clifton had forsaken her. He in turn believes her to have been untrue.
I really loved Lucy, a vibrant and exciting woman. She has a mean right hook and a tart tongue She did not seem of her time but I didn't mind. I was less enthused about Clifton, mostly because he was sometimes too intent on dominating her. He also has trust issues (see Spoiler). But he is genuninely heroic, having faithfully served England as a spy all these years.
SPOILER: I don't believe this is really a spoiler but better safe than sorry. Mickey is obviously Lucy's nephew and Clifton's as well for while Clifton hearts Lucy, his brother Malcolm loves her sister. But when Clifton meets Mickey, he jumps to the ludicrous conclusion that Lucy and Malcolm had produced the child.
I believe this marks the start of what I'm calling the Lady Standon series as Lucy, Elinor, and Minerva are all called by that name. They all married men they didn't love and this is now their chance to get their happily ever after. Check out Elizabeth Boyle's website for more info.
One interesting aspect is toward the end where Lucy takes a rather philosophical approach to life that such a thing had to happen in order for other things to happen. The second book, featuring Elinor, is also set up.
My big problem with this book is how problems cropped up and were quickly dispensed with. There were a lot of problems but they never lasted for long. However I liked that the couple were pretty much always in love and were eager to resume their relationship after those misunderstandings were cleared.
This is all set in Elizabeth Boyle's Regency World with references to spymaster Pymm, spy Temple (hero of my beloved Stealing the Bride), and Felicity Langley (from Love Letters from a Duke) in a rather unsympathetic portrayal. There are also two hilarious dowagers who come to help the Lady Standons remarry and who will hopefully be in the next two books.
Overall: A perhaps too fast-paced romance spy novel with an amazing heroine from the ever-delightful Elizabeth Boyle.
Cover: Why hello Miss Cleavage-pretty necklace!