ARC Review: The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

Format: E-bookthecountessconspiracy
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Brothers Sinister, #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Sebastian Malheur
Heroine: Violet Marie Waterfield
Sensuality: 2.9
Date of Publication: December 16, 2013
Started On: December 22, 2013
Finished On: December 24, 2013

Why do books that you have been anticipating for so much so that you stalk the author’s website on regular basis just to find out whether the release date of the book you are coveting for has drawn any nearer always tends to disappoint you the most? The Countess Conspiracy has been THE book that I have been waiting for ever since I read and fell in love with The Duchess War, the first book in the Brothers Sinister series. Each book had drawn out my fascination with Sebastian, the rake with the scandalous scientific theories that had society in titters. And then there was Violet, the countess of Cambury who seemed to be the object of Sebastian’s affection, and oh how I used to rub my hands in glee waiting for the day that Sebastian would fall flat on his face with want, desire and need for Violet.

Instead of the storyline that I had been rooting for, Courtney veered the story in a direction totally unexpected; even that I could have worked with if not for the fact that both Sebastian and Violet’s characters did a complete about turn that had me dumbfounded to say the least. The Countess Conspiracy is based on the fact that Violet had been living a lie for the past couple of years, making use of Sebastian to hide who she really is, until Sebastian puts his foot down and tells Violet in no uncertain terms that continuing as they had been would be an impossibility for him.

Violet though feels that keen sense of loss from losing her closest friend, the only person in the world who sees her for who she is and understands her, doesn’t know what to do in the face of all that emotion. If not for Sebastian who kept on doggedly coming after her, steady in his determination to win over the affections of the woman he has loved more than half of his life, I bet Violet would just have continued on as she is, thinking, that just like everyone else, Sebastian too had had his fill of her.

As one reviewer on Goodreads pointed out, as a pioneer of science, Violet totally earns 5 stars and beyond. As a romance hero, she somehow fell flat and didn’t stir much of an interest in me. In all the other books in which I encountered Violet’s character, never did I come to see her as someone who is prickly, indifferent and cold. But that is exactly what Violet thinks herself to be and the image that she tries to live up to, always expecting that when it comes to her, no one would truly understand or love her the way she is. There is a psychological factor to it all of course, behind how Violet actually turns out to be the way she is.

Sebastian turned out to be the biggest surprise in one aspect because he used to be the character that completely stirred things up, always said the very thing that would rouse wicked thoughts and brought every scene he stepped into life. But his character is not what it was portrayed to be then, perhaps that was what Courtney was going for when she made him into the patient man who would wait by Violet’s side, even if it takes forever for her to look up and notice him, really notice him for all that he is.

The note tucked at the end of the story was a moving one, one of the main reasons that I believe Courtney wrote this story as it is. She wanted to give a voice to all those women who had been shunned by society for being more intelligent than men, she wanted to give women silenced eons ago who had to hide behind men who took credit for their work a voice because simply put it just wasn’t acceptable for a woman to think and come up with complex theories that could change the world. And in that regard, Courtney did a stupendous job at the cost of the romantic elements in the story which left me totally unmoved which turned out to be the most heartbreaking aspect of it all.

But perhaps, fans of romances featuring tender, patient heroes would fall in love with Sebastian and Violet’s love story. Though The Countess Conspiracy did not work for me, I still look forward to the next book and hopefully it will fulfill me and my thirst for a good romance along with a great storyline altogether in one. Recommended for fans of the series!

Favorite Quotes

“Sebastian,” she whispered.
“At your service.”
She kissed him. She’d kissed him once before in fury and anguish. But this was different. This was a kiss that came from every ventricle of her heart, every last valve. All four chambers of her heart pumped for him. And it was a damned good thing he didn’t know what she was thinking, or he’d realize that she had gone mad.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords


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