Monday, September 12, 2011

Historical Review: Romancing the Countess by Ashley March

FORMAT: Paperback
PUBLISHER: Signet (September 6,2011)

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....
WHERE TO FIND ASHLEY: Author Site | Twitter Facebook | Goodreads
WHERE TO BUY: Amazon | Kindle | B&N Nook | IndieBound | Books-a-Million | Book Depository
BOOK EXTRAS: Read an Excerpt
Go and buy it NOW!
Click to read my review

So, the power went out while I was reading this book and I finished it by candlelight. Yes, it was that AMAZING! There's just so much I want to say about this book but don't want to give spoilers. Gah! Can I also say that I squeed (in my local B&N) when I saw that Ashley had name checked me in the acknowledgements? Eep! (I have this thing about reading acknowledgements in books. lol)

Top 5 Reasons That Attracted Me to This Book:
  1. The cover is gorgeous! Hello, my name is Kati. I am a cover whore.
  2. A devoted husband, a faithful wife and their spouses as lovers? Whoa!
  3. It's written by Ashley March. Uh, duh! I'd read anything by this woman.
  4. A hero named Sebastian. Don't ask.
  5. The devoted husband and faithful wife of said lovers fall in love with each other? Intriguing.
Sebastian Madinger is devoted to his wife and is ignorant to the fact that his best friend and wife are lovers. He sees her as a doting mother, a devoted wife and the paragon of virtue. 

Leah George has been living with the secret of her husband and Sebastian's wife as lovers, for a year. She has withdrawn into herself, allowing Ian to still make love to her (as a way to repent for his infidelity) and plasters on a smile while in polite company to hide the breakdown of their marriage.

Ian (Sebastian's best friend and Leah's husband) and Angela (Sebastian's wife) die in a carriage accident as they're running away together. This is a shock to Sebastian and a relief of sorts to Leah. Both end up dealing with the deaths differently. Leah decides to host a house party only four months into the mourning period in which she invites acquaintances of Ian (who don't know him that well). Scandalous! But it's in Ian's honor, of course. Well, Sebastian doesn't approve of that and thinks that people will find out that their spouses were lovers, and this would affect his son Henry. He also begins to questions Henry's legitimacy due to the fact Ian and Angela had been carrying on an affair for nearly two years.

The attraction grows between Leah and Sebastian during the house party but both are unwilling to completely own up to their feelings. Of course, Leah's in laws hear about this, turn her out and she must go back to living with her family. Her mother (always finding fault with Leah) pushes her to marry soon or leave. Leah chooses to leave and find work.

Cue in the dashing Sebastian to the rescue. He's pretty much desired Leah since the house party and well, she's down and out. Leah refuses to give up her independence and Sebastian makes a deal with her. They'd be married in name only (good luck with a lifetime of celibacy and fidelity). Fat lot of good this will do. You know they're going to eventually own up to their attraction to each other and *whisper* do it.

"Oh? And what was I to say? I beg your pardon Lord Wriothesly, but your wife seems to have acquired a distinct liking for my husband's cock. Would you mind kindly retrieving her to your own bed?"
OVERALL: Oh that Ashley March. From the first chapter until the last, I fell in love with not only the story but with Sebastian and Leah. Okay, mostly with Sebastian but can you blame me? "But I can promise you that I will continue to desire you, to imagine making love to you, no matter what you decide." Hel-lo! Before picking up this book I thought-- how can two people, whose spouses were lovers, end up falling in love with each other? Ms. March answers that question beautifully. I laughed, I loved and I like the fact that Henry, Sebastian and Angela's son, was not used as a filler, but incorporated into the story to help Sebastian and Leah's relationship along. And Ms. March, this is your sexiest book yet. I found myself sighing quite a bit. Well done, Ms. March, well done.

***I bought a copy of the book on the release day from my local Barnes and Noble.***
Note: Ashley March name checking me in her acknowledgements in no way swayed me to give her a gushing review. This book is just amazing on its own merits.

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