Sandy M's Reviews > The Countess

The Countess by Lynsay Sands
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's review
Jun 30, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical

Oh, my heavens, what a wonderful time I had with this book! Lynsay Sands, of course, is a fave of mine, love her historical romance novels with a passion. This book is all you expect from her and then some. That then some is the humor. Though the story is full of mystery and misery, the wittiness, fun, and romance interspersed throughout makes this book one of the best of the year. It’s only February, but I know that already.

We learn right off that Christiana is in a bad marriage, one full of verbal abuse. Her husband, the Earl of Rador, or Dicky as he likes to be called, has chipped away at her self-esteem over the year since their wedding. He’s basically imprisoned her, keeping her from family and friends, including highjacking correspondence to and from her sisters. Christiana now doubts her judgment in all things, mostly in people and their character. How could she have been so taken in by the charming earl who led her to believe she’d have her happily ever after? And what happened to that man after the vows were said?

When she learns of Dicky’s underhandedness concerning her letters to family, Christiana talks herself into the backbone she once had and decides to confront him, while also hoping he will once again help take care of her father’s recently acquired gambling problem, a problem that surfaced last year and prompted Christiana’s marriage to the earl. Unfortunately for Christiana, her taking control comes a tad too late - she finds her husband lying dead on the library floor. What to do now? Well, what any self-respecting countess would do - keep the body on ice until she and her sisters can resolve the impending scandal!

Their resolution is to find a suitable husband - one who needs money - for Suzette, a man who will agree to leave enough of her dowry to cover the outstanding gambling debts. So off they go to a ball that evening, ready to husband hunt, but Christiana is dumbfounded when who but the earl himself should walk into the room, alive and well! The ensuing comedy of errors is just delicious. She’s confused at the behavior change in Dicky since his resurrection. He’s kind and gentle with not a harsh word to her. What she doesn’t know is that this is the true Earl of Radnor, Richard, who has been believed dead in a fire, has just returned from America after a long illness and is ready to wreak revenge on his twin brother George for his hand in Richard’s supposed death and stealing his identity.

Richard’s not sure what to do with his sudden new wife, except protect her from scandal the best he can once he discovers George and his current situation. I don’t know how many times I laughed out loud once Richard and his close friend Daniel become involved in moving the iced corpse to stave off any future blackmail due to George’s behavior while he impersonated Richard and/or any repercussions once the entire duplicity is found out, which they’re hoping to avoid. Richard, of course, is the complete opposite of George, hero material to the max, and Christiana is not the only one to eventually fall in love with him. Daniel becomes more involved also when he’s the one Suzette chooses to marry, though she doesn’t know the whole truth about him. I enjoyed their growing relationship and look forward to their story in the next book.

The banter among all the characters, sister to sister, Richard with Christiana and Daniel, Daniel with Suzette, including others, is so much fun. You go from serious angst to lightheartedness and back quite a bit and it’s done seamlessly with Ms. Sands’ superb writing. In between all of that is the love Richard and Christiana find together, each having to overcome their personal issues to make the relationship work. They’re a very engaging couple and I enjoyed every minute with them.

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