The Marquess of Blackbourne is convinced that when he finally locates the Countess of Willowvale, she will be the crass and manipulative harridan her late husband had described. Unknown to the countess, Blackbourne is guardian to her young son, and he intends to see that the boy is raised as befits his station, even if that means taking him away from his mother. But Blackbourne’s plans change the second he sets eyes on the beautiful countess. He immediately realizes that he must have her, no matter what her background and her character flaws may be. The countess, however, proves elusive in more ways than one, and she leads Blackbourne on a merry chase that eventually teaches him that love is in a class all by itself.
Entering Carey’s world from the hero’s perspective, we wonder is she or isn’t she the bad wife her deceased husband said she was.
But something about the Countess who has tucked herself away in a forest cottage has the returned-from-war-and -suddenly-a-Marquess thinking he will play this one close, as he is instantly attracted to her.
When he announces her son is now his ward, sparks fly.
And they continue to fly through this sweet romance. A traditional emotional conflict plot, with a few twists and turns thrown in for good measure, this is slow starter but with a satisfying finish.
I like that the heroine is from the merchant class, but shows real class through her forebearance and kindness. And her actions throughout the novel demonstrate this, its not just delivered through a few punchy monologues. I also found her descriptions of the young lad endearing rather than annoying, which was a relief.
Carey also writes contemporary romance, a cadence which carries through in My Elusive Countess. Hist-ro purists will find this anachronistic and perhaps off-putting, but others who also enjoy reading contemporary will find it a welcome pace.
(4.5 out of 6 A bit of a slow start, but fine characters and interesting action keep the sparks flying in this sweet Reg Rom)
*An electronic copy of this novel was provided by the author for review. No other compensation was made.