Friends to Lovers
THE COUNTESS CONSPIRACY is the third novel in the Brothers Sinister series. It is the story of Sebastian Malheur and Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury. Sebastian and Violet have been friends almost all their lives. They share a secret but also have deep secrets from one another. The shared secret is that the scientific research that Sebastian is known for is actually Violet’s. In an age where women were not accepted for their intellectual gifts, the two created a way for her work to be accepted.
I absolutely loved this book. From the beginning Violet and Sebastian have an incredible relationship that is founded on respect. Sebastian has loved Violet for years and has always cared for her. I don’t think I have read a romance book with such a unique relationship. Both Sebastian and Violet present facades to the world but know one another. As they discover the secrets that they kept for one another, they discover how to make the transition to lovers.
This book was not a lighthearted read. Violet’s secret is heart wrenching and it makes the relationship between Sebastian and Violet complex and serious. I won’t give away her secret here since it is central to the story, but it and the entire storyline demonstrates how oppressed women were in that era. This book makes the point without being preachy or anachronistic.
I love the strong women that Milan creates. Violet is fallible and sometimes weak, but she is intelligent and strong and independent. The complexity of her characters is amazing.
A beautiful book that I immediately wanted to read again.