As a fan of historical fiction, I was looking forward to reading The Other Countess, by Eve Edwards. Two pages in, I began to get worried.... here was an Oxford educated author, falling prey to one of my grammar pet-peeves: "Though only two years older than her..." (than SHE, geez!), and I feared more of the same going forth.
As I ventured further, though, the alluring world of Elizabethan England pulled me in, allowing me to overlook the few other similar stumbles. With each page filled with speeches as flowery as the dresses, I was soon swept up in the pageantry, and the romance that bloomed as the story progressed.
Following a favorite theme of many classics set in times gone by (Jane Eyre, Tess of the D'Ubervilles), The Other Countess introduces us to a heroine who is immediately appealing, but has the world's weight upon her shoulders, and the cards stacked against her. In a time when love means little, and marriage is merely a contract, being a penniless beauty, with brains, no less, means being at the mercy of the Crown and all those who play Queen Elizabeth's courtly game.
Rich with period detail and not shying away from the religious conflicts that overwhelmed Elizabethan England, The Other Countess was a pleasure to read, once I forgave the few grammatical blunders. The romance between Ellie and the young earl, Will, was sweet and believable, unlike many obligatory love stories that have been cropping up in books lately. There was conflict, excitement, tenderness, and a thorough understanding of the historical period, proof that Eve Edwards learned something while at Oxford.
If you enjoy period stories, give this one a try.