Romancing the Countess by Ashley March

Romancing the Countess

Setting: Victorian 1849

Summary:

Sebastian Madinger, the Earl of Wriothesly, thought he’d married the perfect woman-until a fatal accident revealed her betrayal with his best friend. After their deaths, Sebastian is determined to avoid a scandal for the sake of his son. But his best friend’s widow is just as determined to cast her mourning veil aside by hosting a party that will surely destroy both their reputations and expose all of his carefully kept secrets…

Leah George has carried the painful knowledge of her husband’s affair for almost a year. All she wants now is to enjoy her independence and make a new life for herself-even if that means being ostracized by the Society whose rules she was raised to obey. Now that the rumors are flying, there’s only one thing left for Sebastian to do: silence the scandal by enticing the improper widow into becoming a proper wife. But when it comes to matters of the heart, neither Sebastian nor Leah is prepared for the passion they discover in each other’s arms…

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Review:

My first book by this author and while it wasn’t bad, it fell quite short of my expectations, sadly. The premise was very intriguing but the plot fell short in my opinion and failed to provide anything fresh and exciting.

I had heard about Ashley March as the latest star in historical romance so I decided to give her a shot. I really loved the sound of this romance and it was unique considering both main characters’ spouses cheated with each other. I was looking forward to a deeply emotional romance but seriously could not stand the heroine much at all.

We are told Leah just wants to have fun after her husband’s death but she really breaks alot of the rules and quite carelessly too. I get she’s trying to be independent but she really had a selfish disregard for other people, especially considering that her actions could hurt an innocent child-AND she still continues to act that way after being told that! D:

The hero was likable though and I would rather have seen him with someone who was kinder but the heroine does improve towards the middle. Nothing special in the course of their romance though I did enjoy the initial sparks and tension between them. At times it was quite touching, though the writing style wasn’t anything too special. I love romances with children and this one was well done in drawing up a realistic picture of a family growing to love each other.

All in all, not a bad romance but not an amazing one either. Perhaps new romance readers would enjoy this more than a veteran reader of romances.

Sensuality Rating: Pretty sensual (3/5)

Verdict: Just ok

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed by Anna Campbell

Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed

Setting: Late Regency 1826

*Book 1 in Sons of Sin series*

Summary:

Will a week of seduction…

Desperate to save her sister’s life, Sidonie Forsythe has agreed to submit herself to a terrible fate: Beyond the foreboding walls of Castle Craven, a notorious, hideously scarred scoundrel will take her virtue over the course of seven sinful nights. Yet instead of a monster, she encounters a man like no other. And during this week, she comes to care for Jonas Merrick in ways that defy all logic-even as a dark secret she carries threatens them both.

…Spark a lifetime of passionate surrender?

Ruthless loner Jonas knows exactly who he is. Should he forget, even for a moment, the curse he bears, a mere glance in the mirror serves as an agonizing reminder. So when the lovely Sidonie turns up on his doorstep, her seduction is an even more delicious prospect than he originally planned. But the hardened outcast is soon moved by her innocent beauty, sharp wit, and surprising courage. Now as dangerous enemies gather at the gate to destroy them, can their new, fragile love survive?

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Review:

Always love Anna Campbell’s dark, intensely riveting romances! Sadly, this isn’t a favourite of mine mainly due to the unoriginal premise and the lack of a addictive plotline. This one, while not one of her best still has all the hallmarks of a classic Anna Campbell romance.

I think my main problem with this book was the premise-it seemed too 1980’s big, bad hero and innocent, pure virgin sacrifice stuck in a castle with him kind of story. The kind of thing a beginner romance writer would come up with. And the premise was set up with the idea that there was going to be ALOT of sex. I mean seven nights?? Ok…

But because it was Anna Campbell, I gave it a shot and thought she would be able to make it fresh and entertaining with a couple of new twists thrown in there. Sadly, even her brilliant writing couldn’t make up for a sorely lacking plot and I had a very hard time suspending my disbelief that Sidonie could even consider selling her body in the first place. Surely there could have been another way or she could have gone to ask if there could be another bargain to make. Not just throw herself (literally) into the lion’s den and all to save a sister who really wasn’t worth saving in my opinion. She could simply have grabbed her sister and run!

The story is supposed to based of Beauty and the Beast but at least with that fairytale, Belle didn’t just decide the only thing she had to give was her body and Sidonie went in without a fight. Just seemed too cliche to me.

And the characters were standard cutout romance archetypes-the hero was your typical all bark, no bite guy with a secret heart of gold (that’s obvious from the very start) and Sidonie is just a little too perfect with her sense of honor to a sister that really doesn’t treat her well at all. There weren’t many other characters beside the two of them so it did drag a little at parts.

The romance was alright but not particularly hooking or exciting. The tension wasn’t bad though, and I did enjoy how Sidonie resisted giving into Jonas for so long. I still love the way Anna writes and that more than anything kept me reading through to the end.

All in all, not a standout from Anna but still a passable read. If you want a better update of Beauty and the Beast, try When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James.

Sensuality Rating: SUPER HOT! 😉 (Caution: Very erotic scenes)

Verdict: Just passable

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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