The Reluctant Countess: A Would-Be Wallflowers Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James returns to the Would-Be Wallflowers series with an enemies-to-lovers romance between a proper earl and an entirely improper lady—whom he can’t stop thinking about.
Giles Renwick, Earl of Lilford, has never made a fool of himself over a woman—until he meets Lady Yasmin Régnier. Yasmin is ineligible for his attentions in every way: not as a wife, certainly not as a mistress (she is a lady!), nor even as a friend, since they vehemently dislike each other. Her gowns are too low, and her skirts are dampened to cling to admittedly lovely thighs. She loves to gossip—and giggle.
She isn’t dignified, or polite, or even truly British, given that her father’s French ancestry clearly predominated. Not to mention the fact that her mother had been one of Napoleon’s mistresses, a fact she makes no effort to hide.
So what—in heaven’s name—possesses him to propose?
And what will he do if she says yes?
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 13 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||November 29, 2022|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #15,627 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#61 in Regency Romance
#677 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,450 in Regency Romances
Reviewed in the United States on December 3, 2022
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THE STORY: Giles Renwick, Earl of Lilford, is undone by Lady Yasmin Régnier. 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.
Giles Renwick, the Earl of Lilford hates that he is attracted to Lady Yasmin, she is completely wrong for him, but she makes him burn in a way that no woman ever has. He allows himself only one dance with her but seethes watching the other men dance and flirt with her, all the while telling himself that she could never be his countess. After the scandals created by his parents, Giles sets himself to a higher standard and would never do anything to tarnish his family name or endanger his younger sister’s reputation. And though she is beautiful, connected, and rich, Lady Yasmin’s reputation and manner are all wrong for him, not to mention his sister, Lady Lydia, clearly despises her and has repeatedly warned Giles to stay away from her. But even knowing all that, Giles can’t seem to walk away and soon finds himself trying to convince a reluctant Yasmin to marry him.
As always, Eloisa James delivers another well-written, nicely-paced story populated by wonderful characters. After reading the reviews for this title, I really didn’t expect to like it, but personally, I didn’t find Giles as nasty as he was portrayed in the reviews, that is not to say he wasn’t a first-class jerk to Yasmin, but neither was he the anti-hero I was expecting. Yes, he was condescending. Yes, he was rude and insulting at times. Yes, he allowed himself to be manipulated by his vile sister. But he does see the error of his ways and while he didn’t really grovel, he does apologize. So while it was not perfect, this story kept me turning pages and was filled with emotion, steamyish love scenes – that don’t all end with a satisfied heroine LOL, great secondary characters, a bit of drama, and finally a HEA with TWO epilogues. In the end, I enjoyed the story, but I was left wishing there had been a bit more follow-up with his sister and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a HEA for Silvester, the Duke of Huntington. This is the second book in the series and has ties to “The American Duchess”, but it can absolutely be read as a standalone title.
Yasmin is pure delight and sunshine. She walks through the wagging gaggle of society with her head held high, even if her blindingly beautiful smile is pasted on. I couldn't wait for her happily-ever-after to take shape. Her grandfather is humorous but allows things to happen that didn't feel quite true to that age.
Our hero, Giles, is proud and reserved. He's carried uncompromising standards for himself and his future wife all of his life. It's rather sad to see him push his desires and needs down time after time. He likes and even falls for Yasmin against his better judgment. While reading, I kept picturing him as Mr. Darcy. However, I so wished he had put his sister in her place and demanded that she stop demeaning the lady. In not doing so, he was complacent in the events following and lost some of that stunning heroesque quality.
Now there's a side character that we never see get their comeuppance and that disappointmented me a bit. They deserved to be held accountable and we readers deserved a good scene or two to lay the matter to rest.
I love how this talented author creates these passionate scenes with very little detail. The kisses are clean for the most part.
I'm excited to see where the next book in the series takes us.