Review: The Countess by Lynsay Sands

Sunday, January 17, 2016
Title: The Countess
Author: Lynsay Sands
Genre: romance
Series: Madison Sisters #1
Pages: 371
Published: January 25, 2011
Source: borrowed library
Rating: 5/5


Not until her husband dropped dead, that is. He had been horrible enough to Christiana during their short marriage, and she was not going to allow the traditional period of mourning to ruin her sisters' debuts as well. So she decides to put him on ice and go on as if nothing's happened ...

Until the real earl appears. Richard Fairgrave had every intention of confronting his villainous twin who had robbed him of his name and title ... only to discover that he had died. Quietly assuming his identity, Richard must now deal with a maddening desire for his ravishing inherited wife --- certainly a gold digger and possibly a murderess. And Christiana must deal with an unwanted new husband ... and they both must figure out what to do before the ice melts.
This is the Persistence of Memory of romance novels - a batshit masterpiece.

Less dick jokes in the painting, though.
Christiana's marriage to the Earl of Radnor has not gone precisely the way she intended. Mostly because after a year of abuse, he's dropped dead in his office. She can't go into mourning without dragging her sisters with her, which is unfortunate, because Suzette needs to marry in the next two weeks. So like any well bred lady of the ton, Chrissy decides to put the man on ice - literally - for a few days.

My favorite romance blog, Smart Bitches Trashy Books runs a feature called Help A Bitch Out, where readers submit half remembered plots so other readers can help reunite them with a lost book. So when I read, "what's the one where a trio of sisters covers up a murder but then the dead husband's twin shows up?" I thought, "my new favorite book, obviously." And I was right. Half drawing room farce, half smut extravaganza, The Countess is beyond all other Regency romances.

The plot is utterly insane. Evil twin assumes good twin's identity after shenanigans. Death, murder, mayhem, bodies falling out of windows. My only regret is there's no amnesia. It does very much take it's inspiration from soap operas and Victorian comedies, so there are a lot of villainous monologues, red herrings, and "duh duh DA" moments. 

There's also loads of sex.

It's not filthy, but I'd put the spice level about a 6. Sex scenes are well written with a minimum of bad euphemisms. There is a magical virginity-detecting penis and the first scene is a bit dubious, with the mistaken identities and a couple of whiskey drinks, but I didn't find either to detract much overall. For the most part, they're well integrated and serve the story, though the closet did feel a tiny bit ham-fisted. 

Chrissy and Richard-Dicky have good, not great, chemistry due to the fact that he's just a bit too perfect. I'm all for a hero accepting the heroine for who she is, but it has only been two days. It wouldn't be out of the question for him to have some kind of reservation. George-Dicky's also a little too evil, without enough reasoning behind it. Despite that, I don't care. This book is amazeballs. I stayed up all night with it. I'm buying the sequel as we speak. The sequel which tells the same time period from Suzette and Daniel's perspective. Twice the sneaking up on villains with meat forks! I literally don't care if it's this book with the names find and replaced, a'la Life and Death, I'm mad for it.

If you want a super funny yet sweet romance, you need to get on this today. It's not perfectly written, but I wouldn't trade it for a pile of illegally forged gambling marks.

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