“I’m not sure what to say about Wendy Vella’s The Reluctant Countess. From the synopsis it’s publicized as a Cinderella type plot and it has aspects of it, but Vella just falls short.
As for character development, there are some issues. The main problem for me is the villain. He’s introduced as hating Sophie and wanting to find out the truth behind her marriage to the late earl. Villains, especially those in a Regency romance do tend to be dastardly, but this one just was meek. A lot of things just don’t make sense. If the earl was dying and as the earl’s heir, wouldn’t he be there to protect his claim especially if there was talk of the earl’s apparent marriage? Speaking of marriage…Sophie married the earl on his deathbed and her son becomes the heir, hence displacing the villain. Here’s the thing… her son turns out to be her brother and of course her brother was already born when Sophie married the earl and therefore cannot be the heir! I understand being out in the country and away from London gossips, but here’s the thing- communities were small enough that people would be aware if the new mistress of the house was pregnant. Servants gossip and how in the world did the earl’s sister, Letty, manage to hush everyone up in the household is beyond me, unless they fired the lot and only retained a few in confidence. I can suspend disbelief, but in this situation it just doesn’t work for me. At one point the villain confronts Sophie and she says something to the effect of, “you got a title passed to you.” What title was that and why isn’t it attached with the others? You can’t just pick and chose with titles will pass just like you can’t pick out of a hat who your heir is going to be.
I didn’t find Sophie and Patrick’s romance all that convincing. It seemed to me she married him because she didn’t have a choice. Obviously marrying Patrick offers some protection (ahem from the possibility of the Ton finding out you weren’t married to your first husband), but I never got the impression Sophie loved Patrick. There wasn’t any indication of feelings of dislike and distrust turning into admiration and then love. It’s also never fully explained why Patrick was interested in knowing more about Sophie. It’s not like he had a claim on the title or was in any way a friend of the family. Yes, Vella writes he visited the earl a few days prior to his death, which again brings up the question of Sophie. Wouldn’t the earl have mentioned he’d married? Vella presents Sophie as a beautiful woman who pretty much keeps men at a distance. If Patrick was interested in her favors, I’d expect an author to describe his lust at seeing her for the first time or something to that effect, but we don’t. His sole purpose is to expose her as a charlatan, but then he changes his feelings regarding Sophie 25% in.
I do have to make note of the language because it sounded too modern. I know it is difficult to write a certain way, but for me when an author sets a novel in the past, I expect it to sound like a product of the time period or as close as possible.
I debated heavily with the rating. In the end, I gave it a two because Vella fails to execute the plot and problems regarding inheritance. I’ve read some well- written Cinderella plots in the past. Julie Ann Long’s To Love a Thief comes to mind as well as Pamela Britton’s Scandal.”
“The Reluctant Countess ........by Wendy Vella
This novel is an enjoyable Regency period, rags to riches story with moments
that will melt your heart, make you laugh out loud, and spike your pulse
with fear. We first meet Patrick Coulter (Earl of Coulter) and Stephen
Sumner (Lord Sumner) who have been best friends from childhood. They are
commenting on Sophie's, the Countess of Monmouth, recent arrival in London's society events. She is the widow of the Earl of Monmouth who passed away some two years ago. She has a young boy Timmy, who is very much a part of her life. She is accompanied around town by her sister-in-law Letty, who is well known in society.
There is an immediate spark between Patrick and Sophie, neither one understands it, nor welcomes it. Patrick was with the Earl a few days before his death, and did not see, or hear any evidence of Sophie. "Something about the Countess does not seem right, and if she's a charlatan I will expose her as one." That is Patrick's goal.
Patrick encounters Sophie at all the wrong moments for her peace of mind.
Once she was in a secluded area of the park and entertaining Timmy by
walking on her hands. Patrick comes upon the scene and sees her legs in the
air, knickers exposed, skirts over her head. A vision he knows will haunt
him on many a sleepless night.
They have a difficult journey to their happily ever after, dangers and
obstacles seem to be around every corner. Once Patrick discovers Sophie's secretive past, and the reason for it, he strives to help her conceal it , and keep her safe and in his arms.
This is a wonderful story of England society, heartwarming friendships, and a beautiful love story with plenty of HEAT! I highly recommend this delightful novel.
“Sophie, Countess of Monmouth, is referred to as an ice princess because of her seemingly cold demeanor. She uses her frigid attitude to keep her past a secret and protect the ones she loves. She comes into the society scene with her sister in law, who became her sister in law by way of a sketchy death bed marriage. Patrick, Earl of Coulter, suspects that Sophie is a charlatan, and he vows to uncover her secrets. He sees beyond the mask she keeps in place for the noble people she circulates with and the ice princess begins to thaw. The two share quite an attraction, and while Patrick learns her secrets, he also falls in love with her. Her secrets become his to protect and he wants to make Sophie his forever.
The story was good, the romance spicy, and there was an added splash of adventure as Sophie fought for her life more than once. Patrick wanted to protect and save her, but Sophie was quite able to take care of herself. She helped rescue a family member, and even fought and escaped a band of kidnappers. There was also a romantic storm brewing between Sophie's best friend and Patrick's best friend that was entertaining as well. I enjoyed this novel.
I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.”
“"The Reluctant Countess" is from the upcoming new Author, Wendy Vella, who definitely makes a great and memorable entrance into the regency historical romance genre . I fell in love with her writing style and the characters she wrote in "The Reluctant Countess". Wendy actually made me feel like I was back in that time frame and how I wish some guys from this era would take notes from how men should treat women. (*just saying*)
Sophie, Countess of Monmouth, is trying everything to keep her secret from coming out, but it is kind of hard when you have the sexy Earl of Coulter, Patrick, always there asking questions and making her feel flustered. Sophie has a deep secret and with the help of her sister-in-law, she is trying everything to have it from coming out during the season. The Earl knows something is up with the Countess and it is up to him to find out what it is....although in the meantime, he is finding it is hard to resist Sophie and when the truth finally comes out, he wants to be there for her and protect her.
Sophie is not only dealing with keeping her secret from coming out, but trying to keep her brother and herself safe from her past. She also has the Viscount to worry about, who he feels he was tricked out of getting what he deserved.
"The Reluctant Countess" takes you into the world of where romance can overcome anything, especially when two characters come from different classes. Wendy gives you a different kind of Cinderella story that will have you wanting that happily ever after for the characters and wanting to find out who wants Sophie killed.
I loved Patrick for his determinedness to win over Sophie even when he found out the truth. He definitely loved her from the beginning, but just took him a minute to find it out for himself. Sophie had a little trouble trusting Patrick, but she had her reasons for what she went through.
I also enjoyed Wendy's secondary characters who kept a very interesting storyline for themselves as well.
I look forward to reading more books from Wendy Vella in the near future. This regency romance will have you wanting your own Earl of Coulter...at least I know I do now. =)
I received a complimentary copy of "The Reluctant Countess" from Netgalley (courtesy of the publisher) in exchange for an honest review. ”
“Sophie, Countess of Monmouth, is so cool and collected that she’s nicknamed the Ice Maiden by the members of the ton. What they don’t know is she’s anything but! Her calm exterior is just a mask to hide her terror of having her secret exposed. Patrick, Earl of Coulter, became suspicious of her the moment he heard she was the widow of his good friend who recently died. He’d never met or heard of her and he’d visited the elderly earl of Monmouth three days before his passing. Even though he’s determined to get to the truth, Patrick is also troubled by the feelings Sophie seems to stir in him.
There are themes of the classic fairy tale Cinderella threaded through this story and that’s a good thing. Sophie is incredibly sweet but has steel for a spine. Her motives for hiding her past and the truth around her marriage to the earl of Monmouth aren’t self serving and her sister-in-law is her co-conspirator and benefactor. Patrick is ultra sexy and brooding, the kind of alpha male you just want a piece of. He has his own baggage but Sophie’s the woman who brings out his best. Anytime these two interact, they literally cannot keep their hands off of each other, providing some pretty sexy moments.
Sophie’s secret and the truth about her past aren’t hard to figure out but it does provide a level of intrigue as she tries to remain elusive from the doggedly determined Patrick. They made an interesting couple, passionate, fiery and sometimes stormy.
An added bonus was the underlying suspense connected to Sophie as someone is trying to harm her. The suspect is pretty obvious, even though the motives are murkier. It adds excitement without the romance having to bear the burden of conflict. Sophie’s friend, Amelia, and Patrick’s best friend, Stephen, provide some light moments and another background romance.
I really liked this Regency romance and its likeable and charismatic characters. The exciting climax and incredibly happy ending (though a bit rushed) all help make this an enjoyable reading experience.
(I received an ARC from NetGalley)
“No need for smelling salts for this fresh Regency Romance! Wendy Vella has taken her paintbrush to a popular, often-done genre and colored it hot, fresh, amazing!
Sophie, Countess of Monmouth, a young widow with a toddler takes London by storm with her beautiful face, cool demeanor and the mystery surrounding her background. Patrick, Earl of Coulter, is instantly attracted, yet repelled by this woman who no one has ever heard of.
The electricity is sharp between these two strong personalities, neither willing to give an inch in their battle of wills. Sophie has much to lose if her secrets are ever discovered. Patrick wants to know everything about the first woman to truly steal his heart.
Unlike so many Regency Romances, the heroine is not running willy-nilly, muddling things in an effort to be independent. Sophie faces everyone and everything head on with dignity and strength, well, all but anything regarding Patrick! Patrick, in turn, is not a wild rake running amok until he rushes headlong into Sophie. His conquests are not legion, and although he feels the need to protect Sophie, he doesn't go overboard.
This is probably going to be one of my all time favorite historical romances, especially since 'the love stuff' was resolved before the last page, leaving time for the 'bad stuff' to play out in great detail and surprise! I absolutely loved the side story involving Sophie and Patrick's best friends, too!
This ARC copy of The Reluctant Countess was given to me by NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Bantam Dell in exchange for an honest review. Publish Date January 14, 2013.”
“The Countess of Monmouth, Sophie, is known for being somewhat of an ice princess. Perfectly proper, never letting emotions show, she has been the talk of the season. Incredibly beautiful, she has captured the eye of many possible suitors but when the Earl of Coulter, Patrick, takes an interest in Sophie the ice begins to crack.
Patrick, the Earl of Coulter is captivated by the widowed Countess of Monmout...but something deep inside tells him her story isn’t everything that it seems. Determined to discover Sophie’s secret he is relentless as he pursues the Countess. During his hunt, he discovers he’d much rather win her affections.
Sophie soon discovers that her secrets may be crumbling around her and she must trust everything including her secrets to Patrick. Without Patrick’s help, Sophie might not only find herself in social ruin but her very life may be at stake.
What a wonderful, beautifully written historical romance. Melting with the chemistry between Patrick and Sophie, I was pulled right into their story. Watching the struggles Sophie faces every day, makes your heart hurt for her desire to give her family a better life. Patrick is an amazing hero to have come to your rescue, from a difficult past you route for him all the way. With a spectacular core group of friends that surround them you can’t hope that we see more of these fabulous characters. The Reluctant Countess gets 5 Stars for this charming historical romance.
Don’t miss a chance to win an e-book copy of The Reluctant Countess and Wendy Vella author interview during The Reluctant Countess Blog Tour @ Tome Tender on January 7, 2013.
This ARC copy of The Reluctant Countess was given to me by Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group - Bantam Dell in exchange for an honest review. Publish Date January 14, 2013.”