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The Countess and the King: A Novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James II

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,035 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Katherine Sedley lived by her own rules and loved who she pleased- until she became the infamous mistress of King James II...

London, 1675: Born to wealth and privilege, Katherine is introduced to the decadent court of King Charles II, and quickly becomes a favorite from the palace to the bawdy playhouses. She gleefully snubs respectable marriage to become the Duke of York'
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Berkley Books (first published July 29th 2010)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  1,035 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Start your review of The Countess and the King: A Novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James II
Restoration England and the reign of King Charles II were bursting at the seams with scandal, intrigue, and mistresses in the King’s royal bed. Yet, it wasn’t just the King passing his time with these wanton women- it was most men, including his brother and heir to the throne, James. One of James’s leading ladies was Katherine Sedley (daughter of poet and playwright, Charles Sedley). Susan Holloway Scott presents a novel interpretation of this relationship in, “The Countess and the King: A Novel ...more
Elis Madison
James II's first wife, Anne Hyde, was a love match.

(Is it me or is his facial expression kind of hilarious? You might need to view a larger version.)

When Anne died, his brother (Charles II) married him to the beautiful Mary of Modena.

It was not a love match. James, it seems, liked his women plainer (my kinda guy).

James's first mistress (while he was married to Anne AND Mary) was Arabella Churchill.

And after she was pensioned off, he turned to Katherine Sedley, our heroine.

Katherine was the da
Amy Bruno
In my historical fiction reading experience there are a handful of authors that you just know automatically that you’re going to love whatever they put out and each new book becomes the new favorite….well, Susan Holloway Scott is one of them for me!

In The Countess and the King, Kate Sedley is not your typical heroine…and I LOVE that! She’s not beautiful and a little too skinny, but what she does possess is a sense and humor, and a quick, sharp mind and an ever sharper (and quicker) tongue. I fe
Sep 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Countess and the King by Susan Holloway Scott
Historical Romance- Sept 7th, 2010
4 1/2 stars

Katherine Sedley, the daughter of a mere baronet, was not blessed with either beauty or charms. But what she lacks in appearance, she makes up with her razor-sharp wit. Set in the decadent yet wildly dangerous royal court of King Charles II, Katherine captures the attention of the King’s brother, James Stuart, the Duke of York. Refusing to marry, she instead becomes the Duke’s mistress, sacrificing res
Rio (Lynne)
I was in the mood to return to Charles II's court and I was not really familiar with Ms Sedley. I enjoyed reading about someone new and returning to familiar characters. On the other hand the book dragged at times as Scott's novels can do. Ms. Sedley was a witty, non-conformist, which to me summed up Charles II's reign (free spending, no responsibility age.) I enjoyed it. It just wasn't a page turner. ...more
Della Tingle
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
When historical figures are as intriguing as those found within the covers of this book, who needs fantasy? Politics always has been, and always will be, a game, regardless of country of origin. It makes me think of the Hunger Games quote, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” Katherine Sedley is certainly a name to know if you love all things British, and I assure you, she will not disappoint!
Thoroughly enjoyed reading about a time period and people that I don't know much about. Katherine Sedley was definitely a strong woman that you didn't want to mess with. ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Want to read a book that reveals 17th c history set in Charles II's English Court, filled with illustrious details of court life filled with historical precision along with love and the times (not to mention the glorious descriptions of setting and costume)- then RUN to get this!

By now most of you know how much I adore reading anything that has to do with Charles II, so imagine my thrill when I began reading the story of Katherine Sedley, James II' mistress. I never really heard much about her u
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is rich in period detail and is well researched. Still, I found the book somewhat tedious, as it seemed to try too hard to be clever. So, though I enjoyed it I often found myself to be disengaged from it. Those who like historical fiction and tales of Restoration English, however, will find something to enjoy in this book.
Heather C
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Unlike all of Scott’s recent releases about the mistresses of Charles II, this book is about the mistress of Charles’ brother, James II. While still remaining in a world that is entirely familiar and comfortable to me, I was able to explore another side to the world that I loved. Charles is still a frequent visitor to the story without being the center of attention. There was one scene in the novel where all of the mistresses of Charles II, as well as the Katherine Sedley and I think James II, w ...more
Feb 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Although admittedly I did enjoy The French Mistress more than The Countess and the King, I was not entirely unsatisfied with this novel. The main gripes I might have would be that at times it did get a bit dull and the politics of the age seemed to bog down the story more often than not. Also, Katherine's relationship with the Duke of York did not surface until about halfway through the book and sometimes I felt like the novel focused less on her and James and more on her and her father. Which i ...more
Sep 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I saw this book on a display table in Barnes and Noble. I thought the cover was lovely and I'm a sucker for historical fiction, so I decided to get it despite having never heard of the author. And boy was I in for a treat! The heroine is likable, sassy, and a far cry from perfect. There are a lot of thorough and interesting details about the turbulent political climate during the reigns of Charles II and James II, but they were explained well and in such a way as to not go over the heads of read ...more
The writing wasn't bad, but a little dry sometimes, and I never really could connect to the characters. I am sure this novel was well-researched, but there were times when I really wanted to quit reading cause it got a bit boring, and, well, too political. I finished it, though. I'm just not sure if I ever want to read another book by this author. ...more
Rebecca Huston
Enjoyed this one very much. Katherine is very different than most historical heroines, and she was a breath of fresh air to this series. Very much recommended.

For the complete review, please go here:
Oct 28, 2010 rated it liked it
I think I read too many royal mistress books too close together which tempered my feelings about this book.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A solid, if average, historical novel, elevated by the personality and wit of its protagonist, Katherine Sedley, the Countess of Dorchester. Despite the constricted era in which she lives, Katherine's unusual upbringing - with a "mad" mother, and "libertine" (drunken adulterer) father - grants her a greater sense of personal freedom than many women of her station in Restoration England. The majority of the book consists of Katherine's life at Court as she observes the politics of the day, refuse ...more
Christine Cazeneuve
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it but I have read better novels by her. Try as I might I just couldn't really like Katherine Sedley. I mean I wanted to - here was a very plain girl (who knew it) full of wit (which I love) but I just wasn't buying what the author was selling. In the author's note she stated that Katherine was bothered by her lack of good looks, however, it was rarely shown in the book and I would have liked to have felt that with her more. In an era when women were mostly judged by their looks it HAD ...more
Bree T
Katherine Sedley was born to wealthy parents. Unfortunately her mother suffered from a form of mental illness that resulted in delusions and thinking that she was actually Queen Catherine, barren Queen of England, a myth that is perpetuated by her doctor, who humours and fawns over her. Often Katherine’s visits to her mother upset her so she has little to do with her – her upbringing is mostly done by governesses but her father also takes a large hand in her raising as well.

Sir Charles Sedley is
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I always enjoy Susan Holloway Scott's novels, and this one was no exception. However, it didn't have the same sort of sparkle as some of her previous novels-- maybe I just find James II a dour and boring monarch in the shadow of his more gregarious brother Charles. While this book was still interesting and engaging, I didn't find it nearly as fun as Scott's novels about Nell Gwyn or Louise de Keroualle. Still, a solid 3 to 3.5 stars. ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a good book; the first I have read on James II. However, I could not get attached to, or care about, any of the characters. I would love to find another story about these two, to see if it may have just been the writing. However,I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for some historical fiction prior to Henry VIII.
Taylor Crenshaw
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I hadn't read any historical fiction novels about Restoration England before this. It's very different than my Tudor habit, but still very good! I look forward to reading more of Holloway Scott as I enjoyed her characters very much! ...more
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
You did that hungry!! I loved it, every twist and turn caught me by surprise!! I can’t wait to read more of your books....
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it
This was my first book set during Restoration England. Heeding the voice of the English people was still a very new concept and it must have been a very dynamic time to live. Both Charles and James (I wonder what they would do to knowing a measly American is calling them by their Christian names ) never really grasped the concept of actually listening to the people rather than just hearing the words they were saying. While a lot of The Countess and the King: A novel of the Countess of Dorcheste ...more
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
3 words: Fab-U-lous!

Ok not technically three words, but I can't help it. This book was fabulous; there are just no other words. This is my first historical fiction in the 17th century, and it did not disappoint! The story revolves around a young girl named Katherine Sedley. Her mother is sent away for being a little on the crazy side, so she is sent to live with her father at the age of 10. Her father surrounds her with the company of his friends who are less then desirable characters. She was b
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Historical fiction author Susan Holloway Scott returns to the world she knows best: the racy Stuart court with yet another novel of a Stuart monarch's mistress. Straying somewhat from her Charles II plus mistress formula, Scott instead explores the life and relationship of Lady Katherine Sedley, the long-time mistress of King James II, Charles' brother and successor. By now I've read all of Scott's other novels, and have grown to enjoy them (I wouldn't say they would appeal to everyone, but defi ...more
Kelly A.

Before I say anything else, a BIG thank you to Historically Obsessed (one of my favorite blogs) for the giveaway that I won this book in! It was my very first time winning something like this! Also a thanks to the author, Susan Holloway Scott, for providing copies of the book! :)

If you read my somewhat recent-ish review of The Secret Bride, you'll know that I've been wanting to read a book about a less than perfect heroine, particularly one whose beauty wa
I haven't read as much on the Stuarts as I have most of the other royal families of England, so I was looking forward to being enlightened on this Countess of whom I had not heard. I will readily admit that I am far more interested in the people, places & events of any period of history than I am in what took place in someone's bedroom, but this book had a surfeit of clandestine couplings and pillow talk. Although the author was not as lurid in the details of the physical relationships and indiv ...more
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I reviewed this book for Romance Reader At Heart website.

This year I've decided to venture out of my comfort zone and read some historical fiction. I always thought them a bit of too much history and not enough action, plot or romance. Since the plot is summarized by the blurb, let me jump in and tell you that this book has proven me wrong.

I wasn't really familiar with this time period, having only read one book set in it a couple of years ago. I did see couple of movies, notably "The Libertin
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have read every book written by Ms. Scott, and I have loved every one of them. 'The Countess and the King' was no exception. I won't re-hash the story since it's already been done here a few times, but I absolutely recommend this if you're interested.

Ms. Scott is a master at making you completely forget where you are and sending you off onto the wild and crazy court of King Charles II. Her descriptions of clothes and events are incredible. She gives you enough information to make you see it al
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Mar 17, 2015 11:02AM  

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Susan Holloway Scott is the author of over fifty historical novels and historical romances. Writing under several pen names, she has received numerous awards and honors for her bestselling books. With more than three million copies of her books in print, she has been published in nineteen foreign countries around the world and translated into fourteen differ

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