REVIEW: How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth BoyleThursday, July 22, 2010 13:00
Lawson’s review of How I Met My Countess (Bachelor Chronicles, Book 6) by Elizabeth Boyle
Historical Romance released by Avon 29 Dec 09
The Bachelor Chronicles continue . . . well, sort of . . . in this book. In Love Letters From a Duke, it’s discovered there are three widowed Lady Standons that married the previous heirs before the events in Duke happen. They are all apparently young and now living off the good graces of the Hollindrake family. The first of the Lady Standons to fall is Lucy, formerly Lucy Ellyson, who has a very interesting past.
A good part of the start of this book is a flashback. Lucy is the daughter of George Ellyson, master spy and the last point many see in England before being sent in the field. Most of the men that come through the Ellyson household are infatuated with Lucy and her sister, including the newest recruits to the War Office, Justin Grey, Earl of Clifton and his brother Malcolm.
After time spent learning the tricks of the trade from all the Ellysons, Justin (called Gilby from by Malcolm from his earlier courtesy title) and Malcolm realize how much danger they could really be in. And both brothers begin to fall for the Ellyson sisters. With many promises made by Gilby to Lucy (Goosie, which was a bit too cute), the brothers are called to Lisbon to work for the good of England.
Seven years later Lucy is a widow and one of the three Lady Standons. Justin is back in England and told by Malcolms solicitor that his wealth is left to Lady Standon. Justin goes looking for Lady Standon (though he doesn’t know the one he wants is Lucy) and the two former lovers must put some of the past behind them, before finding out why they didn’t reconcile before that point.
As honorable as Justin was, he’s a bit of a stick in the mud. After spending time seeing the worst of humanity working for the War Office, he doesn’t really have a lot of understanding of human emotion. He expects a perfect woman to be his countess, but falls for Lucy instead. When he meets her again he lets the years and silence on her end cloud his judgment when Lucy would need him the most.
Lucy is a bit of a contradiction. She’s practical but apparently prone to clumsiness and scandal because of some of her antics. Most of that is in the second half of the novel, when she goes from her country life to a different life in London among society. It’s understandable why she doesn’t get along with the other Lady Standons, as she has many secrets as well as a desire to leave London and go back to the country where she feels life makes more sense.
The conflicts in the story seemed plausible, but overblown. I suppose that’s the point when many of the characters have had something to do with the War Office and espionage has been a way of life. As nice as it was to see Clifton get his story, and as much as I enjoy Boyle’s writing, the more books in the series make it seem like it’s just an excuse to keep seeing what Temple, Jack and Felicity are up to more than anything. I’ll keep reading Boyle’s books, and I’m interested to see what the next book brings, with Elinor’s story with Jack’s brother, the Duke of Parkerton. It’d be nice to see what happens next in Boyle’s Marlowe series though, and let the spies live in peace.
The Earl of Clifton intended one day to find the perfect countess…
…until he met Lucy. The improper and impetuous daughter of an infamous spy, Lucy Ellyson saved Clifton’s life and taught him everything he needed to know about serving his country in the dangerous shoals of the war torn Continent… even how to fall in love. He vowed he would come back to her, he would make her his unconventional and unlikely countess, but the war and duty kept them apart for too long and when he finally returned, she was gone.
Lucy’s father had told her that the Earl of Clifton would never return for her, warned her that she would never find a place in a society that would scorn her birth. And he was right. For when Clifton returns, it isn’t to reconquer her heart, but merely to ask for her help in finding an elusive dowager, never realizing that the Marchioness of Standon—the woman who holds the keys to his family fortune—is none other than Lucy herself. It doesn’t take Clifton long to realize that his greatest mission yet may be to face the tragic secrets of their past and rediscover the passionate love that once ignited them both…
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: