Sunday, December 2, 2012

Review: A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long

When she first sees him, she thinks he is one of the most devilishly handsome men she's ever seen -- imagine her surprise when she finds out he's their vicar. When he first sees her, she's fallen asleep during his sermon.

Even though he's related to the Everseas, Adam Sylvaine's livelihood depends on the patronage of the people of Pennyroyal Green for his livelihood. He's the moral compass of Pennyroyal Green and in charge of safeguarding his flock's souls.

Evie Duggan has danced on stage, was someone's mistress and married a man who won her in a game of cards.

Evie sees Pennyroyal Green as a refuge -- All her life, she's done what she had to do to survive and to take care of her younger siblings -- but, now, finally -- she has a chance to change the course of her life, but a past as long (and as infamous) as Evie's is difficult to escape and it shadows her in Pennyroyal Green. Determined to make friends, she enlists the help of the parish vicar, whose job it is to tend to all of his flock (which now includes her).

Adam is initially reluctant but, the more he gets to know Evie, the more he appreciates the wonderfully warm and caring person that hides behind her reputation.

Could love exist in two people with such disparate backgrounds? Everyone around them says it cannot. It should not. It must not.

But does the heart ever listen?

Ah, Julie Anne Long, how is it that you've managed to leave me crying on congested during my children's nap time?

When I read the summary for this book, Evie reminded me of Cynthia Brightly and I pointed this out to a fellow Julie Anne Long fan (and my book buddy) who wisely showed me the difference: Cynthia was mercenary and had commercialistic intentions when she went to Pennyroyal Green (she was husband hunting).

Eve really just wanted to find peace and quiet -- a place where she could be herself.

I wonder if the author had intended for our hero and heroine to be Adam and Eve? And, throughout this story, we see threads of the original story: the temptation -- the fall, the banishment from paradise, etc. As with the original story, our hero and heroine also experience the soaring, headiness of love and the agony of falling as reality sinks in -- but also the very indomitable quality of love.

The juxtaposition between Adam and Eve and Olivia and Lyon's relationships also shows a poignant and painful aspect of the kind of love that can happen between two people -- but whose love is more tragic and more impossible? That between the fallen woman and the vicar? Or that of children of two rival families?

(As a side note: putting the spotlight on Olivia is making the anticipation of hers and Lyon's story so, so unbearable! >_<)

The whole book was entrancing from beginning to end -- the characters of Pennyroyal Green have endeared themselves and have marked themselves indelibly in my mind. After seven books, Julie Anne Long has shown how clearly she understands her characters and how she has given each one a unique voice.

I'm ending this review with my favorite quote from Mark Twain's retelling of Adam and Eve's story:

Wheresoever she was, THERE was Eden.
- Adam, The Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain

A Notorious Countess Confesses is the seventh installment in Julie Anne Long's amazing, amazing, amazing Pennyroyal Green series. Book 8, Jonathan Redmond's story, It Happened One Midnight, will be released in June 2013.

To find out more about Julie Anne Long and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.


  1. Good review! I LOVED this one. I've only read Genevieve's story, but I'm going to go through the whole Pennyroyal Green series (hopefully before Olivia's story). :)

  2. Hi, Jena!

    Thanks for dropping by!

    Genevieve's story was what got me interested in the Pennyroyal Green series (but I read How the Marquess first) --

    Enjoy the rest of the series!

    Have a great day!

  3. I've only read 2 books from the series and loved them both! I only wish the Kindle prices would come down. If they did, I'd snatch them all up because I really enjoyed them.
    I liked your comparison to Adam and Eve. Makes me curious to read.
    Cheers, Michelle

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