|AMAZON | KINDLE|
Heroine: Violet Waterfield – Countess, Widow
Hero: Sebastian Malheur – Rake, Loyal
Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, is a brilliant woman with a quick mind. A scientific mind. But she's also socially awkward and afraid of emotions. She’s afraid that she has no emotions and is thus utterly unlovable. And no one in her life has proved to her otherwise.
Except Sebastian Malheur. He has tried, for many years and in many ways, to show her how he feels. Violet is the only one in his life who truly sees him. Sees him for more than a happy go lucky rake. And he wants to show Violet that she isn't a cold, unlovable thing. She's a wonderful, beautiful woman.
And, oh, Sebastian does a wonderful job. The man is so much more than a rake. To call him a rake doesn't even seem right or deserved. He's staunchly devoted and loyal. His gentleness is utterly swoon-worthy. All it would take is one glance from Violet, one hint of returned feelings, and any rakish behavior would go poof.
But Violet is a tough nut to crack. That outer shell of hers is so thick because it’s protecting a seriously soft heart within. I cried for her nearly every page, till almost halfway in. I can't even describe the pain her situation caused me to feel. So many people who should of shown her love... didn’t. And it broke my heart over and over.
Actually, both Violet and Sebastian were let down by those closest to them. Underestimated. Overlooked. Left out. If I could reach in my kindle and strangle certain characters for the things they said to them... And did to them... I so would. Violet and Sebastian are both the kind of characters you fall in love with immediately and want to protect.
As for their relationship... it has a very slow build. It takes quite some time for Violet and Sebastian's chemistry to develop. I appreciate that they're friends, first and foremost, but Violet is so closed off that it really did hinder their romance. It felt one-sided for most of the book. And even when she started to open up, the romance took a back seat to science. It held the story back a little for me, as our two main characters falling in love is supposed to be, in the end, the main focus of a romance novel.
Since the epilogue of The Governess Affair I’ve wanted Sebastian's story the most. Something about him always drew me in. And getting to know him in this story, he is more than worth the wait. Also, I love how Milan writes smart heroines. Brilliant heroines. Heroines who don't have only marriage on their minds. The kind who have a hard time finding love for one reason or another. I just wish it didn't come at the expense of the romance in this one. Still, this was a wonderful story that I thought about for days after. The Countess Conspiracy has smart writing infused with heart and passion. Violet’s forbidden passion for science and Sebastian’s unrequited passion for Violet made for a unique dynamic.