Title: The Other Countess
Author: Eve Edwards
Publication Date: July 2010
ARC: 333 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 8/10 – Brilliant, couldn’t put it down!
It’s 1582 and eighteen-year-old Will Lacey’s family is in trouble. After years of wasteful spending, his late father has run Lacey Hall to near ruin. Tasked with marrying his family back into fortune, the new Earl of Dorset is all set for a season at court to woo not just the Queen but potential brides with his jousting skills. But when Ellie – a strong-willed girl with nothing to her name but a worthless Spanish title – catches Will’s eye, he faces a bigger battle than he could ever have anticipated.
The Other Countess is Edwards’ debut novel and I am really impressed. It’s such as sweet book with really likeable characters and superb dialogue. It’s never condescending to its target audience and passages of descriptive detail are done beautifully. I really got a sense of the time period and enjoyed it so much I wanted to learn more about Queen Elizabeth 1st and her reign.
I really liked Ellie, her full title being Lady Eleanor Rodrigues of San Jaime. She’s soft and gentle, and yet a feisty young lady and doesn’t take kindly to insults, regardless of the persons rank and is determined to stand her ground and defend herself as best she can. She’s unfortunate to have an alchemist for a father, who is more interested in trying to turn metals into gold instead of being a father to Ellie. They are pretty much penniless and spend many months and years sleeping in barns or a friends spare room.
Will, the Earl of Dorset, is an interesting character but I didn’t like him so much at the beginning as he’s rather cruel to Ellie, aged twelve, and her father. However, deep down it is because his father has just died, which he believes to be the fault of Ellie’s father and his alchemy practises, hence his hostility. He is also only fourteen and now head of his family’s estate and fortune, and all the burdens that come with such a responsibility.
What I enjoyed most about Will was seeing him grow as a person, watching him work things through in his mind and coming to realise that his words and actions are spiteful and how, against his pride, he eventually apologises to Ellie when they met again in the future.
When Ellie and Will meet again four years later he doesn’t recognise her, so they flirt and play and you get a real sense of their growing love for one another. Of course, things don’t run smoothly and Will eventually finds out who she is. I was hoping for more passion as the writing itself seems to be aimed at the higher age bracket in the young adult market, but the romance is so sweet that the lack of passion didn’t hinder me from finding this book an absolute treat.
I am very impressed with this debut. I loved Edwards writing style, and although everything happens at a fairly slow pace throughout The Other Countess, not once did I wish away the pages. The writing is beautiful and the characters are so vivid that I loved every word. I will definitely be reading the sequel, The Queen’s Legacy, which is to be released sometime in Spring 2011, but until then I urge any fan of historical fiction or romance to read The Other Countess!
Source: Thank you to Penguin for sending me this book for review
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Next up on ’10 Fun Days of YA Fiction’: Later today Eve Edwards is stopping by with a guest post and there’s a chance to win one of five copies of The Other Countess!