- Title: A Notorious Countess Confesses
- Author: Julie Anne Long
- Series: Pennyroyal Green, Book 7
- Genre(s): Historical
- Publisher: Avon, October 2012
- Source: Edelweiss ($5.99 ebook)
- Length: 384 pages
- Trope(s): Hot Vicar, Soiled Dove, Widow, Small Town, Beta Hero, Smartass Heroine
- Quick blurb: A newly widowed former courtesan asks a handsome village vicar to help her make friends.
- Quick review: A worthy addition to the series, but not one of Long’s best.
- Grade: B
Yes…yes! He felt a twinge of something! It was coming now!
I kissed her I kissed her I kissed her
As a sermon, it was a failure, but his parishioners would doubtless find it edifying.
Notorious Countess worked much better for me than the previous book in the series. (Where in the hell did those people come from and why should I care? And I didn’t care, because I don’t remember anything about it beyond the cheesy title). This one is a bit more fairy tale-ish than her other books, but Long still manages to pull off the tricky balance of broad humor and intimate yearning.
Another romance novel art that Long consistently does really, really well is showing, not telling, how her hero and heroine fall in love. It might be insta-lust or even insta-love, but by the time the first kiss happens, we know why her characters are drawn to each other.
I also appreciated that both the vicar and the courtesan did a lot of self-reflection and said some very hurtful but honest things to each other. HOWEVER…I was disappointed in how their interactions with the rest of the village were perfectly scripted to make them always come out on top of the uncomfortable situations.
And despite my recently admitted weakness for Grand Gestures, this ending was WAY too Love, Actually, with shamefaced parisioners standing up and spouting Magical Bible Verses like the LA wedding guests with hidden trumpets and trombones.
The Summoning of the Siblings bit was good, though — enough to make up for the goats and bring this up from a B- to a solid B.
[NOTE: I read an ARC, so I forced myself to ignore the dreadful editing fails. If that kind of WTFery had shown up in a published version I paid for, the grade would have been much, MUCH lower. Even so, my respect for Avon Books is diminished once again.]