July 8, 2015
Ms. Boyle has once again employed her pen to the use of a flashback to tell a story. Only this
time the flashbacks in How I Met My Countess work. The type of flashback makes all the difference. This time there was no interruption of storyline. In fact, the first part of the story is one big flashback, and that's what makes it work.
We also have what appears to be a series within a series. The Bachelor Chronicles is still getting passed around, but we have the beginning of the three Lady Standon's stories. The three Lady Standons were introduced in Love Letters from a Duke and they were just one of many problems which Aubrey Sterling inherited. The Lady Standons are: Lady Minerva Hartley, Miss Lucy Ellyson, Miss Elinor Wraxton - all at one time a Lady Standon - and they don't get along together very well. In fact, you could say they fight, bicker, squabble and seem to spend all of the new Duke's money. Well, the new Duke has a new wife. Remember the very forceful Felicity Langley? The three Lady Standons have met their match in her; she's putting her foot down.
She forces the three women into a house, the one she borrowed, and gives them the Bachelor Chronicles and an ultimatum: find a husband and get out of my husband's hair.
First off is Miss Lucy Ellyson's book, How I Met My Countess, and our hero is Justin Gray, Earl of Clifton. The book begins with Lucy, Lady Standon running into Justin, the Earl of Clifton, literally. Almost immediately we travel back in time to when these two first meet. Justin and his illegitimate brother, Malcolm, have been sent to Lucy’s father to be trained in the rudiments of spying, sneaking, code breaking, covert operations, and the saving of England. Unbeknownst to the two men, Ellyson's two daughters also participate in the training of spy recruits.
Justin and Lucy do not get off to a good start. In fact, they rub each other the wrong way almost from the beginning. He thinks she is just a silly woman and she thinks he is a worthless aristocrat. She plays numerous tricks on him in the beginning, but soon learns that she was wrong in her estimation of his character. As she falls more and more under his spell, she realizes that she could lose him when he starts doing espionage for real, so she decides to make him into the best spy ever. Then he goes off and is not heard of for seven years. Lucy has tried to wait for his return, but due to circumstances beyond her control, she is unable to wait any longer and she marries.
There are lies, deceits, and misunderstanding galore in this story. There are also a few surprises, some I saw coming and some I didn't. Overall, this was a satisfactory book, it fits into the series pretty well and Justin and Lucy were a delight. It seemed to slow down a little toward the end and I had to push myself to continue. There was more energy involved in knocking down the wall that keeps this couple apart than in actually seeing them fall in love, but still it is a pleasant read. It's not the best one of the series, but it's adequate. We have one and 1/2 books to go in this series.
Time/Place: Regency England