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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Review: The Other Countess

Author: Eve Edwards
Release date: 1st July 2010
Genre: Historical / YA Historical Romance
Target audience: 12+

Summary from Goodreads:
It's 1582 and eighteen-year-old Will Lacey's family is in trouble. After years of wasteful spending, his late father has run Lacey Hall to near ruin. Tasked with marrying his family back into fortune, the new Earl of Dorset is all set for a season at court to woo not just the Queen but potential brides with his jousting skills. But when Ellie – a strong-willed girl with nothing to her name but a worthless Spanish title – catches Will's eye, he faces a bigger battle than he could ever have anticipated.

Review:
After reviewing two rather mediocre books, I was so delighted to read The Other Countess and find that it was so completely unputdownable! I am rather in love with a story which is about just that: Love against all the odds. When you add in the historical setting (complete with knights jousting), how can you not fail to swoon? Okay perhaps if you're a feminist you're thinking this is a princess story but actually it isn't!

The characters are very cleverly casted. Ellie -- our heroine -- is a headstrong girl with a sharp tongue. She is not afraid to act outside of the social and cultural bevavioural expectations of women. She is well-educated and translates works in Latin and even Greek. She is a young woman burdened with an obsessed father. She also happens to be destitute and at the mercy of male benefactors.

William is a young man who is carrying his own burden in the form of family duty. His father wasted the family fortune and now he is left with the responsibility of finding a way to restore their fortunes. He is a handsome earl with a prejudice against the man who led his father into his obsession with alchemy. That man happens to be Ellie's father. Their two stories are intertwined from the very beginning. William is rather foolish at times but his relationships with his brothers was wholly endearing and showed an adorable softness beneath an angry and arrogant persona.

The plot is expertly paced with great cliffhanger chapter endings that just kept me wanting more. The dialogue is both endearing and amusing and I loved the way that Edwards gave this historical book a contemporary feel without it becoming absurd. I admire her skill.

In addition to the romantic theme of the novel, Edwards explored the issues of religion and alchemy. William is employed to ensure that Catholicism is kept out of his lands. There is a fear of an attempt on Queen Elizabeth's life by the Pope's spies and staunchest supporters. I liked the way the author remained unbiased to both religion and alchemy. As the reader, you could interpret the consequences of extremism where both belief systems were concerned.

Overall, this is a story that swept me away with its majesty of courtly drama, family politics and love across a social divide. I am completely enamoured of The Other Countess and the Earl of Dorset. This book has a timeless will they? won't they? appeal. Fans of The Luxe series will love this novel. Eve Edwards' debut stole my heart. I just did not want to put down. More please!

Thank you to Penguin Books for sending me the book to review.

18 comments:

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I am so excited to read this now! Great review!

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

This is a great review! I have this book on my TBR list and I can't wait to get it in my hands. Thanks for sharing!

Becky said...

Sophie, you will not be disappointed. It is soooo good!

Irena, yay! Can't wait to hear you say how brilliant it is.

Library Mice said...

I loved the Luxe series!
I could really do with a "sweep you away" book at the moment and this is in my pile of books to read. In fact it might jump up a few places to make its way to the top of the pile :0)

Caroline said...

*jaw dropping on the floor*
Love against all odds? Historical setting? Knights jousting? Headstrong heroine with a sharp tongue? Alchemy?
This is already one of my favorite books in the world!! Can't wait to read it!

Ellie seems like an amazing main character, strong, yet facing big pressures (gender, wealth...). Yay for strong heroines!

I liked particularly your comments on the author being unbiased on the religious issue and how it makes the reader understand the whole debate better.
As always, I love your reviews :)

I Want To Read That said...

Brilliant review! I so want to read this one now! And Yay! Glad you enjoyed this one:)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

OMG
Sorry!
I posted the wrong comment.

I love this review. This sounds awesome. I like historical fiction.

Megan Hoover-Swicegood said...

This sounds great. I love it when someone says they can't put a book down. The last few books I've read have been good, but just haven't sucked me in. This book is going on my TBR pile. Thanks!

Christina/Book Addict said...

I have been dying to read this one and it looks like I'll have to get it through book depository. As I was reading your review, I thought.....courtly drama? cliffhanger chapter endings? Fans of Luxe-- Yes! I definitely need to order this one. Thanks for the exciting review!

Book Whisperer said...

Great review... I so want to get my hands on this one..

Becky said...

Library Mice, yay! Move it right to the top. It is such a feel good book.

Caroline, I love your comments. They always make me smile. Yes, this is a book that has everything my heart could possibly desire. When I say Knights, I really mean Lords but same difference. Enjoy!

Sammee, isn't it great that I found a book to love after two dodgy ones?! Hope you buy a copy. This is a keeper for sure.

Juju, do not worry my dear. It could have happened to anyone. If you like historical fiction, this one is definitely for you.

Megan, yay! That unputdownable feeling is like the elixir of books isn't it?! I always want it but it takes many rare and magical ingredients.

Christina, you will love it! Trust me! This is just your type of book!

Book Whisperer, I suggest you treat yourself. You'll want to read this one again and again. It is out in the UK tomorrow!

Sasha said...

Great review! I've good things about the one from most people. Good to know as I'm not really a historical fan. The Fool's Girl was not my favourite and I'm halfway through Montacute House and it's a bit blaah. Can't wait to read this one :)

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Oops, how I have not stopped by in forever?! Amazing review. I am a huge historical romance fan, and this one sounds perfect. Though I actually haven't read The Luxe because it sounds a little more... superficial? I don't know. I'll definitely have to see what this Earl is all about! :)

Carla said...

I kind of didnt read this because I am *just* starting it today, but I shall come back and have a real read once i'm done. Am hoping its going to be fantastic!

Josette said...

I love YA historical fiction ever since I read Libba Bray's books! This one is on my wishlist now. :)

TheBookMogul said...

I've got this one to read, I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

Becky said...

Sasha, this one will definitely appeal to readers who aren't normally into historical. It transcends genre. Enjoy!

Jenn, hello!!! Thanks for stopping by. You must get to know the Earl. He is so adorable.

Carla, that's cool. Just hope you do enjoy it beacuse this is fab.

Josette, yay! Wish list. Wish list.

Book Mogul, enjoy!