4.5 stars for a different type of historical romance!,
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This review is from: Romancing the Countess (Signet Eclipse) (Mass Market Paperback)
I enjoyed this book because it was a different take on a typical historical romance - contains SPOILERS!
This story is split into 2 parts really, the before the wedding & after the wedding.
Briefly, this story starts wth the hero & the heroine married to their respective spouses; the husbands are best friends. Both marriages are shattered when a carriage accident kills both spouses. Sebastian is deeply in love with his wife, while Leah loved her husband until she found out he was having an affair over a year ago with Sebastian's wife! After the carriage accident, Sebastian realises that he was being cuckolded by his best friend, & approaches Leah to comfort her in her grief and ask her to avoid a scandal so that he can protect his son.
But Leah needs no comforting; she realises that her husband's death releases her from the restrictions and lie that she has been living for the last year.
In short, Leah decides to host a house party (terribly scandalous) so Sebastian attends to try & lessen the scandal. As the plot and house party develop, Sebastian fights with his increasing feelings for Leah and his grief for his wife, while Leah is enjoying her new found freedom whilst ignoring her feelings for Sebastian. Ultimately, Leah steps too far & she is then "ousted" by polite society and Sebastian leaves her to her own devices.
But Sebastian reaslises he can't let her face her scandal alone and so offers her marriage to repair her reputation - as he is an Earl & therefore she would become a Countess! Leah accepts because he proposes for practical reasons & says it has nothing to do with love; but, obviously, they rather satisfactorily fall in love.
I loved the way the relationship between Sebastian & Leah developed. This book was full of tension, frustration, grief and ultimately love. I read another review on this book and that reviewer stated that you witness Sebastian's grief but not Leah's; I don't think that's right, I think they both grief but in completely different ways, & although Leah believes she grieved for her husband & marriage when she found out about the affair, once she marries Sebastian you witness how much she has bottled herself up and how much damage her husband's infidelity caused her. Sebastian really has to coax her out of her insecurities and I think the way he is with her is so lovely :)
All in all a great book & I would definitely recommend it. I took 1/2 a star off because at times Leah pushed it a little too far for me, but a great attempt & I look forward to further works by Ashley March! :)