Friday, November 16, 2012

How to Capture a Countess

How to Capture a Countess by Karen Hawkins R

At 17, Rose Balfour, falls madly in love with Lord Alton Sinclair, known as Sin, across a ballroom floor and manages to snag his attention during a private moonlit dance. But her innocence is no match the practiced rake and when she panics and pushes him into a fountain he is humiliated and promises he will get revenge on the little tease who earned him the nickname "Lord Fin." Rose's family decides to hide her away in the countryside but it just so happens that Sin's grandmother is Rose's godmother. The Duchess of Roxburgh has decided that she needs to get her grandson married but since the incident with Rose he has been more debauched then ever so to rid him of this obsession with her she invites both Sin and Rose to a country house party where they are the only two under fifty. Rose is horrified to find that Lord Sin is at the party but believes this will finally be a way to earn her sister's a place in London society. Sin is just as attracted to Rose as he remembers and she is now even more alluringly womanly so he decides that he will seduce her, believing she is no longer an innocent.

It quickly becomes obvious to everyone that there is something between Rose and Sin and the Duchess wastes no time using all her skills to throw them together. Rose and Sin find that neither can resist a challenge and quickly make everything at the house party into an opportunity for the two of them to engage in their own secret activities. Sin challenges Rose to a series of competitions, behind the scenes, and it provides them with plenty of opportunities for some inappropriate behavior and for them to get to know each other. Sin realizes that the hatred he's been harboring is unwarranted and that both he and Rose were hurt. Sin knows he wants Rose but marriage is not something he sees in his future until he discovers, too late, that Rose is a virgin and he knows that he has a duty as a gentleman to marry her. But she has come to realize that she wants more from Sin than a marriage based on mere duty and it is up to him to prove that they can have a life full of love and laughter.

Rose was fun but she had obviously been beaten down by the circumstances of her life and the tremendous scandal she was engaged in. I enjoyed reading about her coming out of her shell and learning to enjoy being in others' company and have confidence in herself. Sin was a typical romance hero with lots of responsibilities that have apparently created a man who eschews marriage and enjoys carousing about town. I really liked how his ideas about Rose were so flexible and how he quickly realized, through time spent with her, that Rose was a wonderful person and that what had happened was not a true reflection of her character. That showed tremendous strength of character on his part and really set him apart from other romance heroes who can be far too stubborn. Their relationship moved fast, although it was hard to get a true sense of time in the novel, and while they did spend a lot of time together and did seem to have a lot in common to base a relationship on, I felt like there was too much competition between them and they didn't have enough "calm" time together.

Rose and Sin were apparently very attracted to each other but I don't think that really came across in the book very well, especially after reading When the Duchess Said Yes. There was very little sex between them and the one scene was almost at the very end of the book and was really not that excited. I think that a couple with that much of a competitive nature to their relationship should have had more excitement in the bedroom. I found parts of this book incredibly funny because the other members of the house party were just so hilarious; between the half blind woman and the other octogenarians there were just so many opportunities for mayhem and the results were quite funny. It was enough for me to overlook the controlling grandma with her own little ruminations on what was happening. I am not a fan of the older lady trying to get her male relative married off; it comes across as weird and manipulative while not providing much to the actual story and this case was no different.

Rating: A fun read with two great characters and no distracting side plot that was quite humorous but it could be rather slow at times.

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