Review: The Reluctant Countess

Review: The Reluctant CountessThe Reluctant Countess (Would-Be Wallflowers, #2) by Eloisa James
Series: Would-Be Wallflowers #2
Published by Avon on November 29, 2022
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384

FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this book because Yasmin is so resilient, and I loved how she stands up for herself despite the approbation of society and even Giles at times. I loved how Giles’s love for Yasmin transforms him and how he struggles with his societal expectations. This book manages to be sweet and hot at the same time.

THE STORY: Giles Renwick, Earl of Lilford, is undone by Lady Yasmin R├ęgnier. Yasmin is everything he could want in a wife, except that her dress and her behavior, and her history are not what he sees as proper. That makes her ineligible for consideration as his countess, but he can’t stop wanting to spend time with her. Yasmin has a past and is determined to be strong in the face of the disapproval of British society and Giles. Giles is too stuffy and judgemental, yet Yasmin finds that Giles constantly exceeds her expectations.

OPINION: This book is so much more serious than the initial setup appeared to portend. Yasmin and Giles have to learn to speak to one another about their fears and dreams. There was so much I loved about this book, but I really couldn’t stand Gile’s sister, who just drove me crazy for the entire book. I understand that she is hurting as well, but being hurt doesn’t give one the privilege of hurting others.

Despite this, however, I really did love the characters as they worked out their relationship with one another. There was something incredibly romantic about how Giles is completely undone by Yasmin and realizes that he has to change to have what he wants. He begins so judgmental but realizes that he is wrong. So rarely does a hero contemplate his own actions and realize that he was wrong without having an extremely dramatic situation. I ended up loving Giles because he is willing to change to be worthy of Yasmin. Those changes are about mindset and attitude and about his judgments rather than something external to himself. While the reader understands why Giles is the way he is, it is understanding rather than justification.

I really loved Yasmin, who has taken the roughest part of life and made something sparkling and joyful for herself. That is why Giles falls for her and why I like her as well. So much in life could have struck her down and destroyed her, and yet she remains positive about so much.

I think I really have a thing for the grumpy hero and the ray of sunshine. This book has some of that and yet upends all expectations of that trope. Giles is not as grumpy and reserved as he appears, and Yasmin has depth and real pain in her life.

WORTH MENTIONING: I can’t wait to read Silvester’s book. He is adorable in this one.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE RELUCTANT COUNTESS is the second book in the Would-Be Wallflowers series. The romance here is self-contained, and there is no overarching storyline, so that this book can be read as a standalone. There are appearances, however, by characters from the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.


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