Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Julie Anne Long - A Notorious Countess Confesses

From Covent Garden to courtesan to countess, beautiful, fearless, shamelessly ambitious Evie Duggan has riveted London in every role she plays. But the ton never could forgive her scandalous—if shockingly short—marriage, and when her star plummets amid gleefully vicious gossip, the countess escapes to the only legacy left to her: a manor house in Pennyroyal Green.
He has the face of a fallen angel and a smolder the devil would envy, but Vicar Adam Sylvaine walks a precarious line: resisting temptation…and the wild Eversea blood in his veins. Adam’s strength is tested when scandal, aka the countess, moves to Sussex. But when a woman who fiercely guards her heart and a man entrusted with the souls of an entire town surrender to a forbidden desire, will the sweetest sin lead them to Heaven...or make outcasts of them forever?

Comment: This is the 7th installment in the Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long. A it became obvious to anyone who follows my humble blog, I'm a fan of the author by now. The second book in particular was amazing. The ones after have been good but not quite there. Until this one.

In this new title, we have reverend Adam Sylvaine's story. He's the nephew of Jacob Eversea and was granted the vicarage in Pennyroyal Green. Most residents have learned to love him, not only because of his warm and caring nature but also because of his gorgeous face.In fact, most ladies will like nothing better than to marry the reverend but he seems indifferent to all...
The countess Evie Duggan inherited a house in Pennyroyal Green after the death of her husband but the main reason she actually traveled there is because her presence in London seemed to have reached its end in society. Her life isn't as glamorous as other may thing, though and Evie wants friends. Asking the reverend's help is one thing but to fall for him is another...

I'm going to say it right now: this book is very good and will have the same grade as my favorite of the series but it has a few less perfect details. Meaning, I liked it a lot but the other is still better.
The best compliment one can give to this author and this series is how each story is so different from the previous one but the community we see, weather focused on the Everseas or the Redmonds is still there, still a comfortable part of the setting background and it's always so good to read a romance between two characters that aren't islands, that are isolated from everyone or worse! that only interact with cliché characters.

Anyway, thankfully, this installment proves as good as the others in terms of romance development. I think there's a certain treatment by the author on how to present a couple's potential and how to best enhance the beauty of a relationship between them that not many have. The way the couple falls in love isn't too quick or void, we have the privilege to understand what the characters are thinking and feeling even when they don't speak about it or even if they don't act accordingly to those feelings. The author has a talent to portray this in her novels and in this title's case, it seemed it was even better, I don't know if based on the character's personality or the whole environment, but it did work.

I liked Adam and Evie together. Adam's past we sort of glimpse more than get actual scenes, but we o get an impression of how he grew up and how he is beautiful inside and out. He's not perfect but I found his character to be noble and truthful. I wanted him to be happy.
Evie is more complex. I also took more to like her despite the good deeds she does and the more than justified reasons for things I wish she hadn't done. It's not that I wanted her to be more "pure" for him in terms of social behavior and personal choices (although that would be better for my personal taste), but I felt she had reached a point where her attitudes would be hard to change, even if - reasonably - she didn't have to so she could match his own gentler and lighter burdened heart.
I get the whys and hows of what made them different and then a sort of complement. I think the only way this would be absolute perfection would be for her past to be shady for a reason I might prefer.

Their romance is unique and not without its setbacks and human reactions to usual human things. All normal but used in the right amount and without exaggerations. The secondary characters provided help enough and had presence enough to support what was happening in a believable way without being "more" than the main romance taking place.
The end was very romantic and sweet and I did spend some time imagining if they were real how their life would be like and so on...

In the end, a very good romance once more, especially a main hero that I really liked and wanted to see happy. 
I do hope the other titles keep surprising me for their consistency.
As for this one, recommended.
Grade: 9/10

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