The Countess Confessions
A Boscastle Affairs Novel
by Jillian Hunter
Penguin Group/Signet Select 4 Feb 2014
18 – AND UP
Mass Market Paperbook/Ebook 352 pages
Disclosure: uncorrected Galley provided by publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own, unless otherwise noted.
All Emily Selwick wanted was to convince the man she had adored for years that she was the woman he ought to marry. She never expected that her ill-fated deception at a party would uncover a scheme against the Crown and ensnare her in the sensual trap of an enigmatic stranger.
Damien Boscastle, the Earl of Shalcross, knows he must marry Emily to defend her honor and keep his mission secret. But, by saving her reputation, he will draw her into his arms as well as a dangerous intrigue.
After a whirlwind courtship that leaves her breathless, Emily finds herself wed to a husband who vows not only to protect her from his menacing world—but to train his wife in the pleasures of passion. Penguin/Signet
I was very restless reading this book. It didn’t capture my attention and I think it was both my mental state and that the book felt like it was written with restraint. The hero is restrained and noble, the heroine is quiet, intelligent, polite and the sex is okay and fairly realistic.
Ah, while it lacked the titillating thrill of other romance novels, I liked that the heroine doesn’t go from virgin to wanton in one night. Although she enjoys her newlywed conjugal encounters, she is still shy and a bit embarrassed and often keeps her eyes shut.
The language is accessible without fancy accents and words you will need to look up. That’s not to say it has been dumbed-down; it just hasn’t put on a veneer of pseudo-intellect.
The title arises from a period of less than ten percent of the book where they meet and are welcomed into the family about whom I suspect the other books in the series are written. It feels forced into a naming scheme for the series (The Mistress Memoirs, The Duchess Diaries). This also forces a rapid, and shallow, relationship with the other women in the hero’s family that I doubt would have been included otherwise. I am silly perhaps in thinking the title should really have meaning within the tale.
I am amused by the role the tarot plays in the story; lending a comic element and a tender moment as well. I don’t really believe in fortune telling, but do you?
It is not an disengaging romp; there’s nothing terribly off-putting. There just wasn’t anything all that compelling. Split between two romance subgenres: historic and suspense, the restraint I mentioned earlier dampens the excitement or thrill one should find in either. It’s not romantic enough to be hot, nor based in an historical espionage event I could discover (although there was a period of unrest causing an uprising which ended in 1820), and it’s not very suspenseful. The one briefly exciting minute occurs at the very end.
It’s a shame because Damien sounds every bit as dashing as our contemporary equivalents, and she could be quite the partner in espionage. However, the two are blind to the two very obvious clues cast in front of them.
Now, remember, I like my romance very steamy, so what I see as tepid you might find just the right temperature. Not a bad read just not my favorite. The cover is gorgeous!
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