Romancing the Countess by Ashley March
Fans of Lisa Kleypas, Anna Campbell and Connie Brockway should be on the lookout for Ashley March. With just her second novel, she’s proving to be a stunning talent in the historical romance genre.
Knowing that your husband is having an affair with another woman is painful enough, but Leah George is finding someway to survive the harsh truth of her marriage. Then, her husband dies in a tragic accident with his lover leaving her a young widow with no children. She has spent the last year grieving over the loss of her husband’s love and fidelity, but finds she doesn’t have the strength left to grieve over the loss of her husband. What she clings to now is a hope of independence and freedom to live her life the way she wants away from pain she’s experienced.
With a beautiful wife and a precious son, Sebastian Madinger, the Earl of Wriothesly thought he had the perfect marriage. After his wife dies, he discovers she was having an affair with his best friend…and Leah’s husband. Completely shocked by his wife and friend’s betrayal, he realizes Leah is not. It becomes apparent that Leah is not interested in playing the role of the grieving widow and Sebastian’s worried her actions might reveal the truth of the affair. While Sebastian could bear the scandal and carry on, he knows his son cannot endure the truth about his mother coming out. Now he’s on the chase, trying to curb the actions of this rebellious widow. When she arranges to host a party at her home long before her mourning period is over, Sebastian knows he must try and persuade Leah to conform to society’s rules. Soon sparks fly and when Leah and Sebastian realize they may share more than a secret of betrayal, they must decide if they can ever learn to love again.
Well Ashley March pens a story that is nothing less than breath taking. This story certainly robbed me of sleep until I finished it. Romancing the Countess was a magical, enthralling journey that touches your heart and does not disappoint. Never have I been so entranced by the simple attraction and romance between two characters. It was subtle yet powerful. March doesn’t just write about this overwhelming seduction, but constructs a world with emotions that are too easy to visualize and experience. Soon you’ll realize you need to read the next chapter just as desperately as you need air to breath…only to be sadly disappointed when the story is over.
Sebastian was, to put it bluntly, awesome…just awesome. His lines were classic poetry, spoken honestly yet with a desperation that made you want to cry. He was a hero that loved his wife desperately and as he struggled to accept her betrayal, found another whom he could trust and learn to love. It was a beautiful thing to watch Sebastian come to truly understand what love is and to find the one person who could let him live again. Leah was just as spectacular. She was a woman on the edge of freedom and was not going to wait around while opportunities were denied her. What made her so precious was her strength, yet glaring vulnerabilities that she rarely showed to the outside world. She, like Sebastian, had such a desperate yearning for happiness beneath a composed and calm facade.
The chemistry and sexual tension between these two characters is something that certainly makes you take notice. Romancing the Countess starts out like as a game of chess. Two pawns against each other seeking to protect their secrets and ambitions. But in the blink of an eye, this book changes drastically to the most spectacular and alluring game of seduction. It is nothing short of stunning. I loved their quick banter back and forth and their reluctance to commit to one another after their disastrous marriages. Yet underneath it all was a dazzling attraction that gave me goosebumps! It was also emotionally stunning as well. March develops not only great characters, but great characters that you learn to love easily. In this novel you have a beautiful heroine and hero that experience a roller coaster of emotions to create a book that is well worth the ride. They infuse this novel with such an extraordinary romantic spirit, it’s near impossible to put the book down.
“During the house party she’d begun to show a little of herself to others, but not everything…he alone had measured her strength, her vulnerability…And whether he liked it or not, she knew more of him than he’d ever wished to reveal to anyone else. His every emotional state: his anger, his sadness, his offenses and curses brought on by despair. And now she knew, though he would have chosen otherwise, how he hungered for her.”
Romancing the Countess was wonderful…absolutely wonderful. If you are looking for that stunning romance that sweeps you off your feet, I have two words for you: Ashley March. Her writing is addictive, superb and hopelessly romantic. I think it would be impossible to be disappointed.
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