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Posted December 16, 2006
Barbara Dawson Smith does it again with a delightful story of seduction and mystery. Everyone is not who they appear to be in this search for a countess and a thief. Claire Hollybrooke's mother Lady Emily Warrington married a scholar years ago and was shunned by her family and the ton. She died never reuniting with her family. Claire's father is arrested for the theft of jewels stolen from the Warrington household by a thief called 'The Wraith.' After his arrest Claire is determined to prove her father's innocence. She impersonates a widow and hires on as a companion to her cousin Lady Rosabel. Simon Croft, the Earl of Rockford, and the undercover Bow Street Runner who arrested Claire's father, has decided he needs a wife. On a wager he decides he will marry the first woman he meets at a ball. Claire runs into his arms in the garden, but since he cannot marry her because she is a companion, he pursues her cousin Rosabel. But it is Claire he wants to seduce and the more he sees her, the more he desires her. The tension builds as Claire works to discover the secrets to clear her father, while yearning to know her family that does not know her. Claire does not know who the thief is, the family and Simon do not know who Claire is, and Claire does not know who Simon is. All of this, together with seduction and mystery keeps the reader captivated to the very end. A book difficult to put down. A truly enjoyable historical romance suspense!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2006
Fast-paced, exciting - I love Barbara Dawson Smith
I last read Barbara Dawson Smith's The Duchess Diaries in November, and that book garnered a Romantic Times nomination for Best Historical Romantic Mystery. Barbara has captured the same elements in Countess Confidential that drew me in and kept me reading the first time ¿ including compelling, true-to-life characters and intense conflict. Barbara did an excellent job in Countess Confidential of pitting the characters against each other at their core. Simon Croft, the Earl of Rockford, has just made an arrogant wager ¿ that he will court and marry the first eligible woman he meets at the ball. It doesn't matter how young or empty-headed she is, because he could train anyone to be his countess. One thing most people don't know about Simon is that he works undercover as an investigator and he has just put a high profile jewel thief in prison. As you've probably guessed, the first woman Simon meets at the ball is our heroine Claire Hollybrooke, whose father has just been wrongfully imprisoned as a jewel thief. Claire is nothing like the Earl expected ¿ she's a servant instead of a lady, she's sharp-tongued, and she hates the arrogant nobility. They've got quite a bit of pride and prejudice between them. Claire believes her father is being framed by a noble family ¿ her mother's family who disowned her mother years ago for eloping with a poor professor. Claire's posing as an impoverished widow and serving as a lady's companion to her very own cousin, trying to find clues to her father's innocence before he's convicted. Even though Simon has turned his marrying intentions on her cousin, he's much more interested in persuading Claire to become his mistress. He's also having second thoughts about the identity of the jewel thief and continues his secret investigation to prove her father's guilt. When another robbery happens, there's a scramble to determine who's lying, who's telling the truth, and to find out once and for all if love truly can overcome a multitude of sins. This is a fast-paced novel, with an exciting touch of mystery, suspense and sensuality. I loved it and I predict many awards in the future for Barbara Dawson Smith and Countess Confidential.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
A tremendous Regency romantic amateur sleuth tale
In 1817, aristocratic detective Simon Croft arrests Shakespearean scholar Gilbert Hollybrooke as the notorious jewel thief the Wraith, who leaves behind quotes from the Bard at his crime scenes. Gilbert¿s daughter, Claire, a teacher at a girls¿ boarding school, knows her dad is too busy with his studies to purloin jewelry though the diamond brooch found in his home is difficult to explain. Claire believes someone from her late mother¿s estranged family found a means to punish the tutor for marrying their daughter. She vows to learn the truth so taking a leave of absence from her job Claire obtains a position as a servant at the home of the Marquess Warrington.----- Her plan to be an invisible servant falls apart from the start because Simon sees her as a desirable woman with a secret that he plans to uncover one kiss at a time. To her chagrin Claire is attracted to the male justice aside why she wonders of all the men in England does Simon make her love. Still in spite of her cheating heart, Claire continues to seek evidence that her father is not the Wraith.----- COUNTESS CONFIDENTIAL is a tremendous Regency romantic amateur sleuth tale. The exhilarating story line smoothly combines the undercover initially ineffective inquiries of the invisible granddaughter with the romance by the one aristocrat who notices her. Claire is a delight as she tries to stay focused while avoiding sleeping with the enemy. Fans will wonder who the Wraith is with even Claire becoming increasingly convinced that her dad did the dastardly deed. Barbara Dawson Smith provides a fun historical that deserves a sequel investigation starring the sleuthing combo.----- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.