Review: The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

Thursday, January 16

Title: The Countess Conspiracy*
Author: Courtney Milan
Series:  Brothers Sinister #3
Genre:  Historical Romance
Publisher: Self published
Format:   Ebook and trade paperback
Date/Year: December, 2013
Reviewed by: Blue

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

Sebastian Malheur is the most dangerous sort of rake: an educated one. When he’s not scandalizing ladies in the bedchamber, he’s outraging proper society with his scientific theories. He’s desired, reviled, acclaimed, and despised—and he laughs through it all.

Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, on the other hand, is entirely respectable, and she’d like to stay that way. But Violet has a secret that is beyond ruinous, one that ties her irrevocably to England’s most infamous scoundrel: Sebastian’s theories aren’t his. They’re hers.

So when Sebastian threatens to dissolve their years-long conspiracy, she’ll do anything to save their partnership...even if it means opening her vulnerable heart to the rake who could destroy it for good.

My Musings:

Sebastian Malheur is a fraud.  He has been both revered and reviled for the scientific work he presents, but  the work isn't his own, at least, not entirely.  His childhood friend, and secret love, Violet, is brilliant.  But when she attempted to present her own work, she was politely rebuffed.  She's a woman, you see, and can't be taken seriously.  So, in order to show the results of her extensive  experiments and theories about genetics, Sebastian agreed to present them as his own.  In fact, he has been helping her with her experiments and is very knowledgeable, though she is the genius.  After years of this deception, Sebastian feels he has had enough.  He lets Violet know that he is finished, and that she will have to find someone else.

Violet is now widowed.  She married fairly young, and her marriage, while not a real love match, at least started out civilly.  But circumstances changed, and the events that happened left Violet ill, with no sense of her own self worth, and walled off from emotions.  She directs all her passion to her work.

Sebastian has loved Violet since he was a teenager.  She is a little older than he, and married when he was sixteen.  Sebastian then became something of a rake as he grew older.  Even when Violet was widowed, he could tell that he had no chance with her.  While they worked closely together and were great friends, she froze up at any touch from him.  Sebastian's changing their status quo acted as a catalyst.  It shook up their relationship, and though it was a long and rocky road, little chinks started to appear in Violet's armor.

Violet broke my heart.  It was painful to learn the story of her marriage and her family, and to see such a bright woman get beat down by life and feel she truly has no value.  Sebastian, however, was true hero material.  He continues to love her and protect her, even while he is dealing with his own heartache over his dying brother, whose respect he can't  seem to earn.  Their happy ever after was hard won, but very satisfying.

Once again Courtney Milan has written an intelligent, yet emotionally fulfilling book.  She has become one of my must read authors.  This is book three of the Brothers Sinister series, and we do get glimpses of Oliver and Robert, cousins to Sebastian, and subjects of The Duchess War (book 1) and The Heiress Effect (book 2).  Highly recommended.


Overall:  4.5 stars
Sensuality level: 3

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Jamie Beck January 16, 2014 at 7:00 AM  

I don't think I've ever read a book by this author that I didn't enjoy! I recently read this one and really loved Sebastian. I had a little difficulty with Violet's extreme self-doubt/loathing (despite her reasons), but did like the storyline dealing with her professional aspirations...and I liked the way she kind of wanted to "save herself" toward the end (not take the easy way out).

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