Gosh, I love a good historical romance. I have a confession to make... Ok, here goes. I used to be a historical romance novel junkie. It was a phase I went through in high school and well into a college. At the time, I felt like I was too grown up to read YA (silly me!) and I wanted something light and lovey-dovey. It’s still something I enjoy every now and then, but as you all know, I am happy now to admit that I will never grow up (points to her URL) and will forever love young adult fiction.
Anyways, back on topic. Pure historical romance is hard to find in the young adult genre, so when my Authors are ROCKSTARS! co-host, Allison, chose this book as her pick of the month for our July podcast. I *knew* it was something I had to read right away. I’ve been craving some juicy, mushy-gushiness and “The Other Countess” was just what the doctor ordered.
“The Other Countess” takes place during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. At the start of the book, William Lacey, Earl of Dorset, has just become earl after the death of his father. His father left his family in dire circumstances after wasting their fortune working with an alchemist trying to change common elements to gold. William sends the alchemist and his young daughter out on their bottoms in a rage, hoping to never see them again. The book then advances a few years to William attending court for the first time, hoping to obtain the favor of the Queen or a rich wife to save his family from poverty. It is at court that he meets Lady Eleanor and is instantly smitten with the sassy and educated young woman (a rarity for the time period). When he finds out that Lady Eleanor is actually the daughter of the alchemist who ruined his family in his quest for gold, he shuns her and turns back to his quest for a rich wife. Unfortunately for his family’s fortunes, Eleanor has touched his soul and when their paths cross once more, he finds he may not be able to ever let her go again.
“The Other Countess” is what it is. It’s not full of epic adventure, action, or saving the world like other historical/paranormal romances of late. It’s a classic historical romance, set in the Tudor time period. It’s full of lush descriptions though of lovely countryside, the court of Elizabeth, lavish dinners, parties, gowns, you name it. The romance moves quickly (after all, women & men didn’t exactly have the time we have nowadays for courtship, especially when in secret), but it’s sweet and deliciously satisfying. I loved it so much that I will definitely be re-reading it again soon. It made me feel all warm and gooey, the perfect pick-me-up book. Once you start, you won’t want to put it down.
“The Other Countess” is published in the USA by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Random House) and was released last week (July 12, 2011). The second book in the series, “The Queen’s Lady” will be released in the US in April 2012. Allison at Reading Everywhere shared her ARC with me.