***eARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
Blurb for A NOTORIOUS COUNTESS CONFESSES:
She rose to spectacular heights…
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 never expected to fall so hard…
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?
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Evie Duggan has escaped to Pennyroyal Green in hopes that she may live a peaceful life without the scorn, whispering, and the gossip that surrounded her in London before and after her husband's untimely death. She quickly discovers that scandal can follow you anywhere.
Vicar Adam Sylvaine is still getting a handle on being a vicar and doing right by his parishioners when a woman arrives in Pennyroyal Green and proceeds to sleep through one of his sermons then later, shock him with her less than ladylike language. When he discovers that she is a notorious courtesan, who even his cousin is well acquainted with, she instantly becomes a person of interest to him but also one he is determined from whom he'll keep his distance - or try anyway.
When Evie implores Adam to assist her in making friends with the women of Pennyroyal Green, he balks at first then sees Evie as a special project. With his subtle influence, the ladies of Pennyroyal quickly put Evie through her tasks. All of which she passes and even endears herself to those who she's been tasked to help. It's only when one of her new friend's suitors comes to town that her past is once more flung in her face like mud on a pig. Even Adam begins to believe that the new gossip is true and is distraught to think it is. Will the Vicar continue to think the best of a person he knows to have a notorious past or will he, like the rest of Pennyroyal Green, turn his back on the woman who plagues both his heart and his morals?
A NOTORIOUS COUNTESS CONFESSES by Julie Anne Long is a delightful historical romance filled with saucy banter, innuendos, and characters that endear themselves to you quickly. Evie Duggan is incorrigible but didn't connect with me as well as some of the secondary characters such as Henny and Amy Pitney. Vicar Adam Sylvaine, while appealing, and at times very sexy, was not as appealing to me as his cousins, the Everseas. Perhaps this was because he is a vicar and intent on pushing his natural desires to the back in favor of what is good for his parishioners. Except he's a vicar - not a priest.
As a historical romance, A NOTORIOUS COUNTESS CONFESSES by Julie Anne Long hits the mark but as a romance that captures, scintillates and makes the reader sigh - I feel it fell flat. I would like to have seen a little less talk and a lot more action - or at least seen some of that teasing, sexual innuendo banter put to better use.
If you love the Pennyroyal Green series then you'll not want to miss A NOTORIOUS COUNTESS CONFESSES by Julie Anne Long. However, if you've not read any of this series yet - don't start with this one. Read some of the previous ones then come back and read this one.
Happy Reading Everyone!
A NOTORIOUS COUNTESS CONFESSES by Julie Anne Long, Avon Romance, release date, October 30, 2012, available in print and ebook formats.