Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: The Other Countess

The Other Countess
By Eve Edwards
Publication date: July 12, 2011

My review:

Ellie Hutton may hold a grand title (Lady Eleanor Rodriguez, Countess of San Jaime) but it is worthless. She is also penniless thanks to her father's addiction to alchemy. It has led to his ruin as well as that of his patron, the late Earl of Dorset. After Dorset's death, Ellie and her father are thrown out on their ears by the new Earl of Dorset, William Lacey. Will hates Arthur Hutton and blames him for his father's death and the family's dire financial situation. He also doesn't think much of the alchemist's daughter. Years later they meet again when Ellie is at Queen Elizabeth's court. Will is there to find a wealthy bride to save his family but when he meets Ellie he is drawn to her without realizing her true identity. 

Ellie is a Cinderella-like character. She lost her mother at an early age and while her father isn't mean to her, he is rather neglectful. His addiction to alchemy comes before everything including Ellie's welfare. He is oblivious also to how others perceive him. Ellie has had to put up with a lot of heartache and things are made worse during her first encounter with Will Lacey as he is kicking them off his estate. Thankfully for Ellie, she may have horrid relatives but she is a smart and resourceful girl. She isn't perfect and she doesn't see her true worth but she is brave and determined. I also liked that she stays true to her time period. Sometimes historical characters are given modern sensibilities to the point that the story rings false. That was not the case here. Ellie's life is bound by the rules of 16th century England so she can't just leave her dad and provide for herself. 

Will is definitely a flawed hero. He has a serious issue with unforgiveness and he unfairly accuses Ellie of low morals among other things. At the same time he cares for the welfare of his mother and siblings. He is aware of his duty to provide for his family and save their estate. He believes this can only be accomplished by marrying a wealthy woman. It wouldn't be a problem if he hadn't fallen for the poverty stricken Ellie. Further complicating the situation is the identity of Ellie's father . Will's reluctant bride to be is Lady Jane Perceval, a wealthy pawn in her family's schemes. Jane could have been written as a horrible person but instead the author gives her redemptive qualities. 

 The Other Countess is a historical romance that would appeal to adults as well as teens. In some ways it reminds me of something Philippa Gregory or Robin Maxwell would write for the YA market. It is relatively clean but the innuendo and chemistry between the characters adds heat to the romance. There is historical detail about clothing, customs, life at court, historical figures, politics, and religion but it does not overwhelm the story. The romance takes center stage. Overall I was really pleased with The Other Countess. It is a good blend of historical fiction and romance with characters that readers could care about. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, The Queen's Lady. If you enjoy historical romance and Tudor fiction, consider adding The Other Countess to your TBR list.

Readalikes: Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa M. Klein, A Sweet Disorder by Jacqueline Kolosov, The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley, The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby

Note: I received an ARC from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review


  1. You have got me so excited for this one. I need to buy a copy, especially if you say fans of Gregory will enjoy it. I love this time period and I like that you said it's a good mix of historical details and romance. Perfect combination! Great review, Christina!

  2. I read the UK edition of this book last year and absolutely loved it!

  3. I haven't read Philippa Gregory but I've always wanted to, so it's interesting that you compare this book to something that she might have written. This book does sound interesting - Some of these Cinderella "adaptations" can be really well-done and realistic. This sounds like one such one.

  4. I'm glad that you enjoyed this book as much as I did :D I've recently finished reading "The Queen's Lady" and enjoyed it as well, looking forward to "The Rogue Princess


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