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To Charm a Naughty Countess

(The Matchmaker Trilogy #2)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  704 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Can a reclusive duke...

Brilliant but rumored mad, Michael Layward, the impoverished Duke of Wyverne, has no success courting heiresses until widowed Lady Stratton takes up his cause—after first refusing his suit.

Win London's most powerful countess?

Caroline Graves, the popular Countess of Stratton, sits alone at the pinnacle of London society and has vowed never to/>Win
Mass Market Paperback, 356 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
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Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  704 ratings  ·  146 reviews

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Mary - Buried Under Romance
With a set of sublimely crafted characters, magnificently plotted story and an intensely poignant romance set in a Regency England filled with rich historical details, Theresa Romain has gained a perpetual place on my auto-buy list with To Charm a Naughty Countess. None of my praises are given lightly, and even those are insufficient for the amount of depth, feeling, and wit in this story, not in the least between our protagonists, Caroline and Michael.

The widowed Countess of Stratton, Caroli
Alexis Hall
I enjoyed this a lot - essentially you have a mature, independent heroine and a nerdy, virgin Duke. What's not to love here?

I think what I was most drawn to was ... and I'm not super sure how to express this ... but the maturity of the characters? I mean, it's a difficult word because 'mature' is often a euphemism for either edgy or old, and neither those things are relevant in this instance. But with the heroine in particular she felt like a woman who had a strong sense of herself and her need
I've given this an A- at AAR, so 4.5 stars

Theresa Romain has followed up her wonderful It Takes Two to Tangle with another, equally well-written and strongly characterised romance which pairs Caroline, the widowed Countess of Stratton, (a secondary character from the earlier book), with a rather unusual ducal hero.

Caroline is beautiful, wealthy, and is - even nearing thirty - one of the foremost beauties of the ton. As we saw in the previous book, she is never without a coterie of admirers

3.5 stars

Enjoyable and different.

I'm not up for writing a long review so I will just get to the meat.

I loved the hero, but then I'm partial to odd, quirky tormented betas (this one was also a victim of panic attacks). The heroine was likable enough, though there were many times I wanted to throttle her, but she always seemed to redeem herself. She was strong, kind, intelligent and independant. She had a natural knack for diffusing uncomfortable si
May 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
I'm really sorry to rate this book so low, but I had several problems with it...

I jumped into this story with high expectations: I love tortured heroes and poor Michael fit the role perfectly... almost too much!

Actually I couldn't get involved with both Michael and Caroline.

Michael is obviously a have a mental health issue (and the author explains what it is in the afterword), but, in my opinion, it was too exacerbated. He came out like a heavy case of Savant
Jul 09, 2014 added it
Shelves: unfinished
Like the concept but not the execution. I had two main problems:

1) I did not see what the attraction of the protagonists was for one another (aside from looks), nor did I care about them. We're told they had some brief encounter 11 years ago but as of page 212 (where I stopped reading) no indication of why this was so important to either of them.

2) The author did not seem to have a very grounded understanding of autism, falling back on the "no empathy" generalization. Autistic peopl
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
24 hours ago, I'd never heard of this particular author. After reading this book, though, she's now near the very top of my increasingly selective "auto-buy" list.

I'd been going through a book slump for months and even starting to question whether I wanted to keep reading historical romances. I can very honestly claim that this book singlehandedly helped to restore my faith in the genre. I place a really heavy emphasis on writing style, and Theresa Romain's is sublime. The book is infused with
Lady Wesley
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy Theresa Romain's books, and this one was no exception. She creates fascinating characters and plots that do not follow the standard Regency-romance trope. I haven't yet read all of her books, but she is an author whose backlist is on my Kindle.
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
What a darling, darling book! I had high hopes for this going in, as I really enjoyed the only other novel by Romain that I’ve read, Season for Scandal. And it didn’t disappoint.

Michael, Duke of Wyverne, is a bit of a tech-geek who finds spends his time on expensive and innovative improvements to his lands that, unfortunately, drain his wealth mercilessly, given that the novel is set in 1816, the Year Without a Summer, and there is no income coming into his estate. So he turns his no
Rosario (
Theresa Romain has been on my radar for a while. Her plots sound interesting, and especially the description she posted of her upcoming book in the Dear Author promo thread: "A Pygmalion story with a virgin hero and a rakish heroine." A few of us on twitter have decided to try and read and review at least a classic historical romance a month, trying to rekindle our love for the genre. It hasn't been going great, but this seemed like a good candidate.

Michael, duke of Wyverne, has alwa
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Emotional, romantic, and absolutely fantastic, To Charm a Naughty Countess was a wonderful historical romance. I loved this book! It was deep, sensuous, and a truly enjoyable read. Loved it!

My favorite part of this book was undoubtedly the portrayal of emotion. I've read a few of Theresa Romain's books, and I've found that she has a gift for showing deep emotions and doing it subtly, so it doesn't become overdramatic. I really like that about her books and this one is no exception. ...more
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Honestly, I found it boring. I was never that interested in either the hero or the heroine, or invested in them as a couple. Two-thirds of the way through the book, I still couldn't see why they belonged together or why I should care about their relationship. They seemed to have some version of the same conversation over and over, which was frustrating. It felt like nothing was happening and the story was going in circles.

The hero, who had social anxiety disorder and also seemed to b
My favourite part of the book is most definitely Michael, Duke of Wyverne. He was such a lovely and refreshing change from so, so, so many of the male protagonists that I've seen in these books. I found him to be completely adorable and endearing and found myself cringing--yet also enjoying--his societal flubs and awkwardness. Although I liked Caroline well enough, it was Michael's POVs that I looked forward to because of how he read as a character and that he had to work out every single nuance - ...more
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this, unusually for me, straight after reading the first in this trilogy because I like an awful lot about Romain's writing. Her characters are multi-layered and interesting and expertly crafted. I loved the socially awkward, anxiety ridden Michael. There is a scene when a chair squeaks and he up-ends it in the middle of a social gathering over tea to try and fix it: completely oblivious to how such actions might be perceived. It was perfection. Then there's Caroline, easily my favourite ...more
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is basically the regency version of a romance between Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper and Penny. Wyverne is a brilliant (or possibly just inquisitive) mind with what the author describes in the notes as social anxiety. His disability reads more like high functioning autism. Not everyone who suffers from social anxiety does so because they have trouble picking up on body language and the subtleties of social convention (as does Wyverne).

So...make of that what you will. It was decently
Sonya Heaney
Originally posted HERE .

I loved this book.

After a chain of historical romance reads that weren’t thrilling me – too anachronistic, too I’ve read this a hundred times before – I thought maybe I was just tiring of the genre. To Charm a Naughty Countess was so charming and endearing and heartbreaking and sometimes embarrassing and so incredibly original that I dropped the other books I was reading as soon as I started this one.

The tables are turned in this book, with a widowed he
Blodeuedd Finland
First of all, it works perfect as a stand alone.

Caroline is a merry young widow, she likes her freedom, and who wouldn't like freedom in an age when women were property of men? She has money, she can do what she wants, she can even take lovers, discretely of course.

Michael was different, I could diagnose him but will not, he is the author's invention. So we will just say he is shy, he likes to think, get his hands dirty on his estate, does not really know social codes and
I was disappointed in this one. Maybe my expectations were too high. I like Theresa Romain, and I love the virgin hero trope. However, I didn't much care for Caroline Graves, the popular Countess of Statton, or mad, Michael Layward, the impoverished Duke of Wyverne. She sleeps around too much and is not honest with her feelings. He has anxiety and is not open or honest with his true motivations either. Overall, it was okay, but these characters didn't really redeem themselves for me. There were ...more
Rachel- Goodbye Borders
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
I thought Caro and Michael fit each other perfectly. Sometimes slow-burn romances are nice and this one was. But, the journey to get there was slow at times. Both have issues. Said issues could have been dealt with much easier and faster had they just talked. Instead, assumptions were made. And you know how that goes.
One thing I really enjoyed: a beta, virgin hero! Michael also has an anxiety disorder that complicates things for him. Caro was experienced and that was also refreshing. The a
Adele Buck
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, re-reads
I just love this book so much. First read...whenever. Two, three years ago? Decided to re-read recently and love it as much as I did before. Romain does such a GREAT job with disability (in this case, panic attacks and social anxiety). While society may label Michael “mad,” Caro always faces him as a person who’s going through something. Even when she doesn’t understand him, she recognizes that it’s not his behavior but her understanding that is lacking.

And the writing is just luscious. Anyway.
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Many of the stories I read are told from the third-person omniscient point-of-view, but it was only when I read Theresa Romain's To Charm a Naughty Countess that I realised the value of a story told from this perspective. It has to do with the hero, Michael, Duke of Wyverne and the very quirky way his mind works. We are told that Michael suffers from social anxiety, and we are given a privileged view into his thought processes.

The idea of appearances. If we go by outward appearances, Michael is just a typica/>The
RATING: 3.5 stars.

The title of this book is misleading, since there is little seducing and the characters and world development are a lot more nuanced than what you would normally find in these types of books.

The romance was cute but it's definitely not one of those sizzling reads, where the characters breathe and "sweat" chemistry and sparks and sensuality.

It was a good read, but it's not your typical romance novel. As such it will probably not be a good read
Originally reviewed for Bodice Rippers, Femme Fatales and Fantasy

In To Charm A Naughty Countess, author Theresa Romain offers us a bit of a switch. We have a worldly widow secure in her position in the ton and a socially awkward Duke who everyone thinks is mad and wants nothing to do with.

Caroline Graves, the Countess of Statton barely escaped social ruin her first season out. Fortunately, the aging Earl of Stratton decided he wanted her and she wisely accepted. Over a de
Aurian Booklover
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really did not enjoy the first book in this series, so I am very glad that I did like this one. Caroline Graves, Countess of Stratton, is a rich and independent widow, and determined to stay that way. Eight years ago she was a toasted debutante, and she fell in love with Michael Layward, the heir of the Duke of Wyverne. When they were found in a compromising situation, Michael left town without a word for her, and her reputation was ruined. So Caroline had no choice but to marry the Count of S ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was the second of Theresa Romain's "Matchmaker Trilogy" series. (speaking of which, I'm not sure I understand the series title. I'm not sure who the Matchmaker is in this series. There's a recurring character who is kind of there in both books so far, but she's not so much making matches or even helping them along. She doesn't actually impede them, so that's something, I guess.)

Anyway, as with the last, she's an unconventional heroine. She's older, a widow, and actually enjoying t
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful character-driven romance between a socially extremely awkward (borderline Asperger's, I'd say) but intelligent, honorable and virgin hero, and a supremely social but also kind and empathetic heroine. It passed the "two reads" test beautifully - some reviewers say that two readings of a book are required before you can really tell if it is any good or not (that's assuming that the book passes the "one read" test first). I was happy about it the first time I read it, but not really sure ...more
4 Stars

I continue to make my way through Theresa Romain's backlist and, again, I find myself impressed with how beautiful her writing is. She takes common tropes and makes them come alive with descriptions and unique character development. What I enjoyed the most about To Charm a Naughty Countess was the character of Caroline. She is an example of an alpha heroine and I am always excited to see them used in historical romance. I really admired her confidence and her determination to live life the wa
Kate McMurray
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, romance
A virgin duke with severe social anxiety is enough in the hole financially due to a bad winter that his steward suggests finding a wealthy woman to marry so that her dowry might pay off his debts. So he's off to London, where he runs into a woman he kissed once and still harbors some feelings for, though now she is a wealthy widowed countess. The countess has grown accustomed to having control over her own life and has no desire to let a man control her again, so she's sworn off marriage but dec ...more
Jul 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Before anyone gets too excited, you should know that the countess isn't all that naughty. She is the one giving charm lessons to a socially inept duke (he suffers from social anxiety, but he exhibits some autism spectrum behaviors as well) who needs to find a wealthy wife to save his estate from ruin. As luck would have it, the not-so-naughty countess is herself wealthy, and she is in love with the duke, but unfortunately she believes he is incapable of love and only wants her for her money. (Th ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 25, 2015 08:15AM  

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Theresa Romain is the bestselling author of historical romances, including the Matchmaker trilogy, the Holiday Pleasures series, the Royal Rewards series, and the Romance of the Turf trilogy. Praised as “one of the rising stars of Regency historical romance” (Booklist), she has received starred reviews from Booklist and was a 2016 RITA® finalist. A member of Romance Writers of America® and its Reg ...more

Other books in the series

The Matchmaker Trilogy (3 books)
  • It Takes Two to Tangle (The Matchmaker Trilogy, #1)
  • Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress (The Matchmaker Trilogy, #3)
“The walls around her heart were weak now, indeed. “I want to believe you. So much. But I know your nature is solitary. How can I be sure you won’t tire of me and toss me aside like a Carcel lamp?”
“I would never toss aside a Carcel lamp.”
“I’ve dispatched Stratton,” she said.
His mouth curved. “You can’t mean you’ve killed him.”
She laughed. “Not this time, though I was tempted. I’ve installed him in a hotel under guard and made it quite clear that he was to return to London.”
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