This is a fairly steamy romance, and one can track the progression of the relationship in part through the love scenes. The author does a good job of using these scenes to advance the story and to show the couple's emotions. There is one scene in particular that takes place at a time when it seems as though Eliza and Will's worlds are hopelessly at odds, and it is breathtakingly poignant. When they aren't having passionate interludes, Will and Eliza are one of those seemingly rare couples who actually talk to each other. Because of that, they don't need artificial contrivances to cause conflict, probably a good thing since there are enough outside forces at play in their world to test any two people. As you may be able to tell from this review, Countess of Scandal has a strong sense of time and place. Laurel McKee, who also writes as Amanda McCabe, has used a wide variety of settings in her romances (and I hope she keeps it up) and this story of Ireland does justice to both the setting and the characters. From the hope of change in the early days of the uprising, to the fears of Anglo-Irish landowners faced with revolt, to the tragedies of the uprising itself, the story covers a wide range of emotions in very moving ways. There are a few anachronisms in there, including reference to a novel first published in 1859, but the author manages to make the time and place of this novel feel authentic. I loved the story told in this book, and I hope to see more from this author.
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Grade: A-Check Review