A Scandalous Countess

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A Scandalous Countess

A Novel of the Malloren World

Lady May returns!

Falling from her position as the “toast” of Georgian society because of her husband’s death has been hard for Georgia, the Countess of Maybury. Even a year of mourning hasn’t silenced the rumors that her infidelity led to her husband’s death in a duel. It’s a scandal that doesn’t want to go away.

While Georgia has plans to regain her footing in the beau monde, Lord Dracy has plans to restore Dracy Manor to its former glory. While Lord Dracy wasn’t looking for a wife, and his financial footing isn’t what she’s accustomed to, he can’t deny the beauty of Lady May or her charm. The only thing he has to offer is passion like she’s never experienced before…….

When new scandals threaten Lady May, both their plans and their lives are suddenly at risk.

“A Scandalous Countess” by Jo Beverley is the dazzling second story in the Three Countesses Trilogy, a part of the Malloren World series. Having read the previous book in the trilogy, An Unlikely Countess, I was once again drawn into Ms. Beverley’s Georgian world filled with lively characters, a touch of intrigue and witty conversation. While this is a historical series and while I do generally recommend reading the other books, this book can easily be read on its own. Be prepared though, once you get started, you never want Ms. Beverley’s book to end.

Georgia, the Countess of Maybury, seems to live a charmed life, the “toast” of society at only twenty years old, she’s beautiful, married to a man who indulges her desires and she has plenty of friends. All of that changes when her husband, Dickon, gets killed in a duel. A duel she knew nothing about. While the reason for the duel is allegedly over a horse race, soon the rumor begins that the reason for the duel was Georgia’s alleged affair with Sir Charnley Vance, the man who killed her husband. Since Georgia is known to be a flirt, it’s easy for many to believe the rumors.

While Georgia not only has to deal with the loss of her husband, she also has to deal with the loss of their home, as a woman she can’t inherit the estate. Everything goes to her husband’s male cousin; she only gets to keep her clothes and the small nick-knacks her husband bought her. Giving in to her parents, Georgia agrees to spend her mourning period at their estate in the country. Her plans are to let the scandal die down, and then return to society to find her next husband. I really liked how Ms. Beverley developed Georgia’s character throughout this story, at first she does appear to be somewhat flighty and spoiled, but once you begin to get to know her, she’s really so much more. She’s loving, loyal and quite bright. As the story progresses, her quick wit and charm really grew on me.

Lord Dracy has just inherited his family’s estate due to his cousin’s death. Coming back from years in the navy, he’s not prepared for how rundown Dracy Manor has become. Determined to restore his childhood home, he suffers from a lack of funds; his cousin spent all of the family money while living in London. He does have one hope, a horse he plans to race to raise money. When the Earl of Hernescroft, Georgia’s father, challenges his horse to a race, Dracy accepts. He knows his horse will win and has plans for the prize, the Earl’s prize horse. He didn’t plan on getting outwitted by the wily Earl, who never planned to give up his horse but has plans to talk Dracy into marrying his widowed daughter. While Dracy may not be his financial equal, the Earl knows he’s the perfect man for his daughter. He’ll tame her and keep her out of trouble. They just have to convince her to overlook Dracy’s flaws, his poor wallet and the scar on his face. A scar he received in service to his country.

I really enjoyed the scenes between Georgia and Dracy. They are lively, charming and engage in witty conversation. While it does seem like an odd match, they are perfect for each other. While Georgia’s beauty can’t be ignored, Dracy admires her latent wit and realizes she’s everything he wants in life. While at first shocked at Dracy’s scar, Georgia’s good manners and the discovery that it was a result of the war, she sees a man she can admire. As they spend time together they learn each other’s weaknesses and strengths. While Georgia’s family encourages their union, there is still the issue of Georgia’s maturity and of the scandal that won’t die down. Just as they make progress on one item, something else just seems to pop up. I really enjoyed how Ms. Beverley showed us Georgia’s progression as she goes flighty society girl to becoming a woman of substance. She also did a great job managing the mystery of the scandal, who was behind the rumors and why it came up.

I enjoyed meeting the secondary characters especially Georgia’s family, which is an interesting bunch, and her friends. While most are supportive, like any family there are some conflicts. I especially enjoyed getting to know Georgia’s brother, Peregrine Perriam, who secretly works for the home office (think MI-6). He and Lord Dracy worked well together resolving the scandal and discovering the source. The villain of the story is also well done, and when the mystery is solved and everything falls into place, it’s nice to see justice take place.

When it becomes apparent Georgia’s life is in danger, will Dracy be able to keep her safe? And will Georgia recognize that a future with Dracy is what she’s been looking for all along? You’ll have to read A Scandalous Countess to find out. I loved this installment in this series and can’t wait to see what will come next.

Book Blurb for A Scandalous Countess

Lady May is back. And so is the scandal that sent her tumbling from her position as the toast of London, when her husband, the Earl of Maybury, was killed in a duel. Even a year of mourning hasn't quieted the rumors of her infidelity.

Georgia Maybury is determined to regain her position in the beau monde, but a scarred ex-naval officer threatens her plans...

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2012 4.75