Friday, January 28, 2011

An Unlikely Countess-Jo Beverley

An Unlikely Countess
Jo Beverley
Signet, Mar 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN 9780451232717

In 1765 in Yorkshire, Prudence Youlgrave lives in poverty. She knows her only hope to escape is to marry wealth above her social level. However, meeting someone with money is difficult for someone in her economic straits.

Catesby Burgoyne rescues Prudence from robbers. Shocking himself though he knows his intoxicated state keeps him from remaining logical, he asks her to marry him; shocking herself she accepts. When sober he regrets his fight with his brother the Earl of Malzrad and not because he has no money being cut off. Resigning from the military, he and Prudence are further shocked with what fate spins next. Cate's older brother dies unexpectedly, which makes the remorseful spare an Earl and his wife Prudence the Countess. As they fall in love, her former fiancé arrives to stake a prior claim on Prudence.

The class distinctions come across very powerful in this super Georgian romance as the support cast of aristocrats could make or break the new Countess. Although the ending with Prudence’s ratty fiancĂ© seems unnecessary and a bit weak, this fast-paced tale will thrill fans of Jo Beverly’s Malloren saga as the engaging historical romance contains combat on two fronts: gender and class warfare.

Harriet Klausner

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