I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.
Cordelia was left to be raised at a convent, the Fountain Abbey School after her mother died in childbirth. Her father, The Earl of Swanstone pays for her board, but is otherwise unattached to Cordelia until she is old enough to be married off for her father's profit. When Cordelia's father does marry her off, it is to the elderly Earl of Middleton Park, Lord Cromwell. Cromwell is suffering from syphilis and threatens to give Cordelia the disease if she does not do as he says. After Cromwell dies, Cordelia is left with the title of Countess and a strong aversion to men, but little else. Through her years of enduring the Earl and getting to know the ton, Cordelia has found a talent for seeing people who they really are and who they would fit best with. Along with her partners, Emelia and Rodrigo, Cordelia turns her past struggles into a profitable matchmaking business for the nobility. After years of matching others, Cordelia still prefers to be alone; however, Lord Rhys Drayson, the brother of one of her clients will challenge Cordelia's views on men, relationships and her sexual desires.
The Countess is an erotic regency romance. This is exactly what I was expecting for this book, so it was a little bit of a shock for me. I did immediately feel a connection to Cordelia's character, she is level headed and tries to find the good in her situation. Cordelia's inner strength constantly shines through. Several time hops happen in the book that made me feel like important moments were missed in Cordelia's growth. For example, the story begins with Cordelia at the Convent and then we jump three years forward to where Cordelia's father marries her to the Earl, another two years to when the Earl dies and then yet another two years till when Cordelia is established in her matchmaking business. Within these time hops there are great characters that are introduced who are never seen again. There is also a lot of growth on Cordelia's end that must be assumed instead of seen. I think there was a real missed opportunity in the last time hop to see Cordelia grow in confidence and character as she struck out on her own and began her own matchmaking business. Once Rhys enters the picture, the heat index rises quickly, if you like regency romance with a lot of steam, the last half of the book will keep you warm and tingly. Cordelia and Rhys' relationship became hot and heavy very quickly with talk of love after two days. I do wish the tones of the relationship weren't forceful on Rhys' part, however I am happy with how everything turned out for Cordelia.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.