Countess of Scandal
As a child of English nobility, Eliza Blacknall claimed the heritage of the land where she lived - Ireland. Her best friend and first crush was William Denton, from another English landowner family in Ireland. He understood her feelings but also knew he had a responsibility to England. When Eliza was 15 Will joined the British army and left Ireland.
Now, eight years later Countess Eliza Blacknall Clare is a widow living in Dublin in 1798. She freely mixes with Dublin's society and secretly sympathizes with and helps the United Irish cause. She shelters refugees, writes inflammatory pamphlets, and occasionally spies for the cause if the circumstances allow it. She knows she's walking a fine line but her convictions keep her going.
Major Will Denton and his regiment is assigned to Dublin to help keep the rebellion in Ireland down. As soon as Will and Eliza meet again, both know their youthful romantic feelings are still inside them. But now they are both adults and their feelings go deeper. Unfortunately, Will is an English officer and Eliza is an Irish rebel. He is certain she is involved in the Irish underground but can't prove it. He even follows her but only sees her sneaking into neighborhoods that are shady at best.
Eliza and Will can't deny their feelings for each other. They also each have their deep loyalties. Their relationship is going to fall apart as the fighting in Ireland increases. Will has to fight with his regiment although he has some sympathies for the rebels. Eliza claims her Irish roots and protects the natives. How can this be resolved?
Countess of Scandal is a romance. The reader knows that Will and Eliza will get together in the end. But Laurel McKee has taken an explosive period in history for her background and put the lovers on opposite sides. The middle ground for them is elusive. I know that the British "won" during this uprising. But no one really won. Ireland is still split by these same emotions and loyalties today.
I have never studied this segment of history and only knew the most basic facts before I started this book. The romance is enjoyable, explosive, and sexy, yet is not the strength of this novel. The uprising, the humans, the conflicts, and the loyalties are the main characters of Countess of Scandal. Laurel McKee has two more novels in the Daughters of Erin series (Eliza's two sisters). I expect the readers will learn more about this rebellion by the time she has finished.
Notice: Explicit sexual content, Graphic violence
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