Review: The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle

Thursday, April 12

Title:  The Runaway Countess*
Author: Leigh LaValle
Series: N/A
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher:Samhain Publishing
Format: E-Book
Date/Year:  March 2012
Reviewed by: Andrea

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the author in exchange for an honest

Summary from the publisher:

Once the darling of high society, Mazie Chetwyn knows firsthand how quickly the rich and powerful turn their backs on the less fortunate. Orphaned, penniless and determined to defy their ruthless whims, she joins forces with a local highwayman who steals from the rich to give to the poor.

Then the pawn broker snitches, and Mazie is captured by the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. A man who is far too handsome, far too observant…and surely as corrupt as his father once was.

Sensible, rule-driven Trent Carthwick, twelfth Earl of Radford, is certain the threat of the gallows will prompt the villagers’ beloved Angel of Kindness to reveal the highwayman’s identity. But his bewitching captive volunteers nothing—except a sultry, bewildering kiss.

And so the games begin. Trent feints, Mazie parries. He threatens, she pretends nonchalance. He cajoles, she rebuffs. Thwarted at every turn, Trent probes deep into her one vulnerability—her past. There he finds the leverage he needs and a searing truth that challenges all he believes about right and wrong.

My Musings:

Mazie and her highwayman accomplice are attempting their own vigilante justice, Robin Hood-style.  Trent is responsible for capturing the highwayman stealing from the aristocracy.   Mazie’s world is turned upside down when she is captured by Trent.  She knows everything about the mysterious highwayman threatening Trent’s domain but she refuses to reveal it no matter what Trent threatens.  This leads to many encounters with deception and game play all while fighting the overwhelming attraction they have for each other.

As the reader, I was left in the dark as to Mazie’s secrets and motives. That brought on some frustration and confusion at times.  The games and deception Mazie orchestrated fell flat for me, they weren’t witty or intriguing.  I wish they had been more interesting because that would have added another layer to the beginning of the novel.  The games got monotonous at times and I kept thinking that her big secret had better be good, or I would be angry about being kept in the dark.

All of the deceptions were accompanied by the developing attraction between Mazie and Trent.  I did enjoy that part.  The progress of their relationship was a little slow but completely understandable given their circumstances.  All of this leads them into a hot, intense and consuming transition from lust to love which felt genuine.  When I read a romance I want to feel the emotions of the characters.  I felt the pain of betrayal and the joy of acceptance with them.  The romance was perfect and a complete success for me.

Other aspects of the story did not work quite so well.  I never got to know and love the characters as individuals.  Even at the end, I still cannot say that I really know Trent or Mazie.  Some of Mazie’s reactions to situations were strange, I can’t imagine a real person reacting the way she did.  The final reveal of Mazie’s big secret was enough to satisfy my curiosity, but it was a little rushed and I wanted more details. 

While there were some problems with the execution of the story, it was still quite good.  Not very many authors can write a romance which I feel this emotionally connected to.  That alone is enough to impress me and make me come back for more.  I guarantee I will read another book by Ms. LaVelle and if it is Roane’s story I will be thrilled.


Overall: 3.25 (Loved the romance but too many issues with the execution to love the entire novel)
Sensuality level: 3

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erin April 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM  

Thanks for the review! I've been reading mixed reviews about this book... hmmm... might have to wait for a sale or a splurge ;)

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