Lynsay Sands / Historical Romance
Book One in the Madison Sisters series
Avon / February 2011
Written for The Romance Reviews
The fairy tale courtship did not turn into a happily ever after…
Not until her husband dropped dead, that is. He had been horrible enough to Christiana during their short marriage, and she was not going to allow the traditional period of mourning to ruin her sisters’ debuts as well. So Christiana decides to put him on ice and go on as if nothing’s happened. Until the real earl appears. Richard Fairgrave had every intention of confronting his villainous twin who robbed him of his name and title…only to discover that he’d died. Quietly assuming his identity, Richard must now deal with a maddening desire for his ravishing inherited “wife”—certainly a gold digger and possibly a murderess. And Christiana must deal with an unwanted new “husband”…and they both must figure out what to do before the ice melts!
There’s something about a historical romance written by Lynsay Sands that has me sighing even before I’ve cracked open the cover. Having discovered just how amazing her stories are after reading her three sexy Highlander novels, I couldn’t wait to start reading The Countess. Once again I found myself swept up in light and funny storyline with characters I couldn’t help but fall in love with.
Straight away, The Countess sets the stage for scandal when Christiana and her sisters discover George, her abusive tyrant of a husband has suddenly died, leaving them with only two choices – bring in the authorities and face a scandal that could completely ruin them or keep silent long enough for Christiana’s sister Suzette to find herself a husband and solve their problems. What follows is nothing short of hilarious as Richard, George’s twin brother, appears on the scene ready to reclaim his life by revealing George as the fraud he is. Deception is afoot as both parties first try to hide the truth from each other but later team up to uncover what really happened. Along the way love is discovered and passion ignited between Christiana and Richard. It was really easy to get caught up in the story and I loved that I was always kept guessing over who was behind everything. No one was spared from my suspicious glare and I honestly had no idea until the very end. There was any point of the story where my mind wondered because the author filled each moment with some kind of emotion and I was shocked when I realized I’d finished the book. Even now I wish the story had continued because I loved getting to know the characters.
I enjoyed reading about Christiana and was so happy to watch her go from a woman who had been oppressed for a year by the man she had married to a woman who was confident to be herself. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for her to slowly have her self esteem stripped away and to be belittled on an almost daily basis. To go from being completely carefree to someone who had to constantly be on guard would have been tiring and to know that the source of that pain was dead must have been nothing more than pure relief. I totally understood her hesitancy on opening her heart again and the fear she had of finding herself trapped again in an abusive relationship but I really admired her willingness to have faith and test the waters a little with Richard. I loved watching her take those small risks and cheered for her when she was finally able to let it all go. Christiana was a wonderful character to get to know.
I loved Richard and was amazed at the control he had over himself. Being almost murdered and having his complete identity stripped from him, I would have expected him to be bitter and vengeful, hell bent on destroying the one who betrayed him. He did come to confront his twin but when he understood what was happening, he was clear headed enough to look at the bigger picture and realize that what choices he made could in fact hurt those who were innocent. I loved his initial reaction to Christiana and how it changed throughout the book as he got to know her and experience the passion she kindled in him. He was so thoughtful and considerate of her and what she’d gone through and did everything he could to show her he wasn’t a tyrant and that he saw their marriage as a partnership. He cherished her, valued her and I was so happy for Christiana because Richard was the perfect man for her. It wasn’t hard for me to feel that even though the story had finished, the two of them would go on to have a loving, passionate life together. *SIGH* In the midst of all the intrigue, there was still room for love.
The author really does write an amazing romance and I loved every moment of the experience. I don’t think I’ve found any of her books that I haven’t instantly connected with and I wouldn’t hesitate in buying any of her future releases. This was a definite feel good story and readers would be crazy to pass by any opportunity they have to grab themselves a copy. *SIGH* I think that says it all right there. Happy reading!
What Kind Of Review Can You Expect?
If I could describe what kind of reader I am, I would hands down say I was an emotional one. When I read I want to fully experience the book, from the emotions coursing through the characters to reacting to the twist and turns of the storyline. I'm looking for those books that fire up my imagination and leave me breathless when it's over. It's for this reason why the reviews I write aren't so much what I think and are more on how I feel. My hopes in sharing my review in this way is that something will spark an interest and have you wanting to have the same experiences. This isn't to say I don't have issues with grammar, word choices etc. Trust me I do and most times all it takes is waiting for the story to grab hold for it not to matter. When I do include things about what I thought about the book (for example I've included comments about word choices and being too descriptive), I only do so because it directly affected how I felt. I hope this helps. Enjoy!