Jill's Reviews > The Runaway Countess

The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle
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's review
Mar 14, 12

bookshelves: historical-romance-european, 2012-debuts
Read in March, 2012

3.5 stars

Mazie Chetwyn known as Miss Mazie to the local villagers, has been caught with stolen goods from the highwayman known as the Midnight Rider. Mazie is in fact Lady Margaret Chetwyn. Alone and impoverished after the deaths of her parents five years earlier, she has survived by working and gaining the respect and admiration of the local villagers. Now under house arrest, locked away in Lord Radford’s attic, she awaits his arrival, to begin questioning her on the role she plays as the accomplice of the Midnight Rider.

Trent Carthwick, Earl of Radford and Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, has been forced to leave London and his responsibilities in Parliament to hunt down the outlaw. So far the only hope of tracking down the man is the link between him and Mazie. Having spent most of the past eight years in London, Trent’s standing with the locals is tenuous. His own father was reviled, and he is unaware of the abuse of power by the local authorities in his absence. The villagers have no reason to trust him. He has his work cut out for him gaining their confidence and help in bringing down the highwayman.

Mazie strikes a bargain with Trent. She will tell him everything she knows about the Midnight Rider, and help him gain the trust of the villagers, if he no longer locks her in her chamber but allows her freedom to move within his home and grounds. And he will let her go free once the Midnight Rider is caught.

Based obviously on the tale of Robin Hood, with the Midnight Rider as Robin and Lord Radford cast as the Sheriff of Nottingham. But with a twist. Trent, Lord Radford is of course the hero and not an evil tyrant. Trent is controlling and proud, yet dutiful and honorable. The protagonists, Trent and Mazie, are fundamentally different in their morals. Trent with his unswerving devotion to duty, believing justice must be levelled or anarchy will ensue. Mazie who believes that you can bend the rules and the truth as a means to an end.

The characterisations of the hero Trent and the heroine Mazie, are particularly well-done. Written with a deft mixture of romance, mystery and action. The Runaway Countess is a lovely debut, solidly written and well worth reading.

Steam: 3

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by KatLynne (new)

KatLynne Great review Jill. This sounds like another good debut.

Jill Thanks KatLynne! So many really good historical debut authors, it's amazing. Just wish there were more debut contemporaries.

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