Title: The Countess
Author: Lynsay Sands
Genre: Historical Romance
Christiana could not help but agree to marry Dicky after their whirlwind courtship. He was courteous, charming, and quite frankly treated her like a princess. But that all changed after their "I Do's". Instead of the fairytale marriage she expected, Dicky became cruel, mentally abusive and alienated her from her friends and family. When Dicky suddenly drops dead she is definitely no heartbroken widow. Instead she and her sisters hide the body away and attend a ball. Needless to say it is quite the surprise when shortly after their arrival at the ball they encounter Dicky... alive and well.
Richard Fairgrave - the real (and much alive) Earl of Radnor has come back to London to confront his twin brother who has stolen not only his identity but his life. But before finding his brother, he runs into his "wife". A wife who is staring at him with nothing short of horror. Now what is a respectable man to do - make known the fact that his brother usurped his life... or find a way to save this woman, her sisters and himself from scandal...
I loved this story! Ms. Sands expertly weaves a tale full of mystery and adventure but also full of laughter and romance. I absolutely loved all the characters in this story... well, everyone except that despicable Dicky (whom thankfully dies right at the start). Their interactions were downright hilarious. From Christiana's efforts at trying to catch a glimpse of Richard's bum, to the dead body that keeps popping up at the most inopportune moments. I loved it! I found myself laughing out loud constantly. Christiana and her sisters (whom are very interactive in this story) were a hoot. I loved how they dealt with Dicky's death, their father's gambling and eventually with their own beau's in the story. The gentlemen - Richard, his close friend Daniel, and Robert (the girls' childhood friend) were also just as entertaining. The romance between Christiana and Richard sizzles. Their chemistry (even that one time with the whiskey) was spot on. I loved their interludes, their push and pull, the private conversations in the "closet", etc.
This was such an unexpected treat. It was light-hearted, romantic and insanely funny. A great beginning to the series and a fabulous introduction to this author - since this is my first Lynsay Sands book.
Title: The Heiress
Author: Lynsay Sands
Genre: Historical Romance
Suzette needs to find a husband quickly. Preferably a gentlemen who is down on his luck and in need of a wealthy wife. She has no other way of getting her dowry - which is much needed in order to pay off her father's gambling debts and save the family from scandal and ultimately ruin.
Daniel Woodrow seems the perfect candidate. He has a title, he's single, he's handsome and he's broke. Or so he says. For Daniel hasn't been completely honest with Suzette. He tells a white lie about his lack of fortune thinking Suzette would react like all the other fortune-hunting mama's of the ton. But instead she's delighted by his poverty... so delighted in fact that she proposes matrimony. Now all he has to do in order to keep Suzette is to continue his penniless charade and thwart the villain who will do anything to keep them apart.
You originally meet Suzette and Daniel in The Countess. Actually most of their story takes place simultaneously as that of Christiana and Richard. So, I found The Heiress to be a bit redundant. I must make note that I did read both books only a few weeks apart so this may be the reasoning behind why I found them to be so redundant, but for half the book I was reading its predecessor told through a different couple's perspective. While I did enjoy the second half of the book, where Suzette and Daniel finally begin their own story, I could not get over the lackluster of its start.
Since this story is mostly a rehash of The Countess, new readers can't read this book without reading its predecessor and those that have read The Countess will find this one excruciatingly redundant. It's a shame really, because those moments that were exclusively Suzette and Daniel were wonderful. Suzette was bold, brazen and not your average blushing lady. Daniel was charming and the perfect gentleman. I loved how they ruffled each others feathers. They were perfect together. Their more romantic scenes were a joy to read - very sensual and steamy. Their first kiss was unforgettable. I believe it may be the sexiest first kiss I've ever read. I know, I was blushing over a first kiss... don't judge.
All in all, I can't say that I was a big fan of this book. I did enjoy the story, the characters and I am definitely reading the next book in the series... but I will keep my fingers crossed that we don't have to read about Dicky, his murder and the mystery surrounding it once again. I hope that Lisa and Robert have their own storyline, preferably one that starts after Suzette and Daniel's ends.