Romancing the Countess
Ashley March

Publisher: Penguin Group
Line: Signet Eclipse
Release Date: Sep 6, 2011
Pages: 320
Retail Price: $ 7.99

Genre: Historical
Heat Level: Hot

Sebastian Madinger, the Earl of Wriothesly, thought he'd married the perfect woman-until a fatal accident revealed her betrayal with his best friend. After their deaths, Sebastian is determined to avoid a scandal for the sake of his son. But his best friend's widow is just as determined to cast her mourning veil aside by hosting a party that will surely destroy both their reputations and expose all of his carefully kept secrets...

Leah George has carried the painful knowledge of her husband's affair for almost a year. All she wants now is to enjoy her independence and make a new life for herself-even if that means being ostracized by the Society whose rules she was raised to obey. Now that the rumors are flying, there's only one thing left for Sebastian to do: silence the scandal by enticing the improper widow into becoming a proper wife. But when it comes to matters of the heart, neither Sebastian nor Leah is prepared for the passion they discover in each other's arms....

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1.Too Wicked To Wed
2. Because You're Mine
3. Season For Temptation
4. His Mistress by Christmas
5. The Sinner
6. Unclaimed
7. What a Duke Wants
8. Scandalous Desires
9. Mistress by Marriage
10. The Dark Earl


When Leah George walks in on her husband and Lady Wriothesly in the scandalous act of sex, she is devastated.  After keeping the knowledge of the affair to herself for the past year, and enduring routine sex with her husband, in hopes of conceiving an heir, Leah is somewhat relieved when the news of her husband’s sudden death arrives.  Determined to grieve no longer, Leah breaks the rules society expects her to follow and risk being ostracized in an effort to enjoy her independence and make a new life for herself.

Sebastian, Earl of Wriothesly was married to the perfect woman.  As an adoring wife, mother and lady of the ton, Angela was perfect in every way.   Or so he thought.  After her sudden death, Sebastian learns of the illicit affair between his wife and best friend, Ian George.  To make matters worse, Sebastian discovers Leah’s knowledge of the affair as well as her determination to be free of her painful past.  Afraid of their secret becoming scandal to gossipmongers, fear of his son’s legitimacy and the repercussion of Leah’s actions, Sebastian attempts to control his best friends’ widow while grieving his loss and the betrayal of the two people he loved most.

When the inevitable rumors start to fly, Sebastian’s only hope to silence them is to make Leah his bride, if he can entice her.  Neither Sebastian nor Leah is expecting the passion they discover together.  In the midst of turmoil both characters find peace and comfort in the wake of betrayal, loss and scandal.  The last place they expect to find it is in each other’s arms.
Romancing the Countess has a heart breaking backdrop to a delicious storyline.  I felt horrible for Leah and Sebastian, who dealt with the affair between Ian and Angela at different times and in different ways, while at the same time dealing with their deaths and the repercussions of the affair at the same time.  Ashley March kept me hooked to this story with the relationship between Leah and Sebastian.  I couldn’t help but wish they would find happiness again and leave the horrible past behind them.  In addition to this, Ms. March kept me smiling and entertained with the banter between the supporting characters as they observe Sebastian and Leah.

“I’ve never shot a bow and arrow before,” Miss Petigrew confessed.

“Oh, it’s quite fun,” said Lady Elliot. “Simply imagine the bull’s-eye as someone you dislike.  I’ve had the greatest accuracy that way.”

Mrs. Meyer grinned and nudged Lady Elliot’s shoulder.  “It also makes living with one’s husband tolerable again, once you’ve imagined an arrow shot through his forehead.”

“My, aren’t we a bloodthirsty group?” Leah murmured, smiling. “Who shall you imagine on the target, Mrs. Thompson?”

Though she couldn’t have been more than ten years Leah’s senior, the severity of her expression often made the other widow appear nearly as old as Mrs. Meyer and Lady Elliot.  For a moment she remained quiet, and Leah turned to Miss Pettigrew to save Mrs. Thompson undue embarrassment.  But then she spoke…or, rather, spat: “Lord Massey.”

Leah exchanged curious glances with Mrs. Meyer and Lady Elliot.

But when Mrs. Thompson offered nothing further, Lady Elliot turned to Leah. “And you, Mrs. George?  Who will you be shooting today?”

“Unlike the rest of you, I’m quite civilized, thank you,” Leah answered. “I merely enjoy archery for the sake of the game.”

“Well done,” Miss Pettigrew murmured.

“Nonsense,” Lady Elliot declared, her brow rising slyly. “What of the earl?”
“I believe she means Lord Wriothesly,” Mrs. Meyer said.

Lady Elliot shifted her parasol to her other shoulder.  “Yes, there seems to be some sort of enmity brewing between the two of you.”

Apparently she hadn’t been as discreet in avoiding the earl as she’d thought, or a subtle in speech….
I enjoyed this novel, its characters and its unique storyline.  The idea of two people falling in love due to their spouse’s affair was interesting and fun to explore.  Though I didn’t quite fall in love with the characters personalities they were still enjoyable to read about.  I would recommend this title.

Reviewed by Tiffany


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