Type: Historical Romance
Publisher: Random House Digital, Inc
My Copy: NetGalley
Regal, poised, and elegant, Sophie, Countess of Monmouth, is everything that a highborn lady should be. But Sophie is hiding a past that is far from royal. When Patrick, Earl of Coulter, realizes that her story doesn’t add up, he resolves to find out the truth of what Sophie and her sister-in-law are concealing. Although Sophie has every reason to avoid him, the handsome and charismatic Patrick awakens something wicked deep within her soul . . . a powerful need that Sophie must stifle in order to protect her place in society.
Despite Sophie’s humble background, the raven-haired beauty has won Patrick’s heart. But what Sophie needs now is an ally. Viscount Myles Dumbly, the disgruntled former heir of Monmouth, is determined to expose Sophie as a fraud to recapture his lost inheritance. Soon Patrick is drawn into a fight for both their lives. Somehow he must find a way not only to rescue Sophie from poverty once and for all, but to keep her in his arms forever.
A sweet historical romance
As soon as he sees her, he is smitten, the Countess of Monmouth was breathtaking, and her quietness radiated the coldness she portrayed to others. He did not want to think about her, yet she occupied his waking thoughts. Usually Patrick, the Earl of Coulter had brief affairs that both parties were satisfied with, yet Patrick wanted to get to know her. And although Patrick was intrigued with her he also thought she was a fraud.
Lord Stephen Sumner has known Patrick since childhood, their properties bordered each other and they were always together. They also were part of the Foreign Office, and were quite good at spying for their country. They believe they can get to the bottom of the mystery since the last time they visited the Earl of Monmouth was a few weeks before he died and he was lucid and definitely did not have a wife or small child.
Sophie the Countess of Monmouth feels like everyone is watching her, that someone soon will call her a fraud. Only two people beside herself knew the truth about her, the Earl of Monmouth who is now dead and his sister, Letty. Sophie was the Earl’s maid and she became friends with the Earl, he would confide in her about his concerns for Letty after his death and his doubts that Myles would become a good Earl. When Sophie’s father became ill with fever her mother urged her to get Timmy (her brother) out of the house, Letty let her bring him with her. However both her mother and father died of the fever which left her the care of Timmy. By that time the Earl had grown weaker so he and Letty put their heads together and made a plan. Sophie and the Earl were married two hours before he died.
Sophie desperately wants to go back to Monmouth with her brother Timmy and Letty, back to a quiet existence but Letty wants her to finish the season and then she promises they will move back. However Sophie is being threatened, she has received two messages that say they know all about her. She believes it may be a man named Jack Spode, someone from her past. She believes she can take care of everything until the night he kidnaps Timmy and his maid. She is desperate and runs to find Patrick thinking he will be able to help.
As they search for Timmy, Sophie tells Patrick and Stephen her secrets not sure how they will react however they are surprisingly fine and have no plans to expose her. Believing danger and threats will continue to plague her until she leaves town, Patrick has made some decisions and he hopes she accepts.
I enjoyed this story; it was sweet without many areas of darkness, there was drama but not overly harsh. Patrick and Sophia worked well together and it seemed the chemistry was right, the romance was just nice, not earth shattering, just nice as they fell in love. I enjoyed the secondary characters also, Letty was fun and it was nice to see Sophia bring her good friend, Amelia out of looking dowdy to match a spirited personality. The story itself was interesting, a countess that did not want to be one, she just wanted to live with Letty and Timmy in the countryside minding her own business. Unfortunately society at the time was curious about her and others wanted to cause harm because they felt she was cheating. This is a nice warm feeling story that had some dangerous moments as well as several funny moments.
I give The Reluctant Countess by Wendy Vella 3.5 stars!