Secrets of a Proper Countess

( 40 )

Overview

Some secrets we take to the grave. Others we just take to bed . . .

Lady Isobel Maitland cannot afford to be caught doing anything even remotely scandalous, or she risks losing everything she holds dear. But one night, in a dark garden at a masquerade ball, Isobel gives in to temptation and lets an innocent flirtation with the notorious Marquess of Blackwood turn into passion.

The Marquess is no stranger to seduction or intrigue, and his ...

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Overview

Some secrets we take to the grave. Others we just take to bed . . .

Lady Isobel Maitland cannot afford to be caught doing anything even remotely scandalous, or she risks losing everything she holds dear. But one night, in a dark garden at a masquerade ball, Isobel gives in to temptation and lets an innocent flirtation with the notorious Marquess of Blackwood turn into passion.

The Marquess is no stranger to seduction or intrigue, and his rake's reputation disguises a deadly mission. When his mystery lover flees before he can learn her name, he knows he must find her. But all clues lead toward the prim and dowdy Isobel Maitland. It appears the lady has secrets of her own, secrets that Blackwood would dearly love to uncover . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cornwall's luscious Regency romance has just the right blend of mystery, manners, and passion. Isobel Maitland, the countess of Ashdown, is the epitome of a respectable widow, but at a masked ball, she takes the name Yasmina and allows herself to dally with Phineas Archer, the notorious marquess of Blackwood. A spy for the English crown, Phineas has perfected his reputation as a rogue, but soon he's seeking "Yasmina" as desperately as he seeks a smuggler with ties to Napoleon, while Isobel endures her wicked, social-climbing relatives and tries to control her passions. Once Phineas discovers Yasmina's identity, he resolves to find a way to convince her they must marry—unless she's conspiring with the smuggler. Though Isobel is at first frustratingly passive, she becomes a spirited leading lady. With truly nefarious villains, plenty of action, and a dash of glamour, this tome is a seductive read. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062018939
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/29/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 498,520
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lecia Cornwall lives and writes in Calgary, Canada, in the beautiful foothills of the Canadian Rockies, with five cats, two teenagers, a crazy chocolate Lab, and one very patient husband. She’s hard at work on her next book.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    We all hide behind masks and fear what will happen when I remove it?

    Isobel Maitland, the Countess of Ashdown hid behind drab clothing, the lifestyle of a respectable widow and a demure composure to protect everything she cared about. Her husband left her life in control of his family and their goal was to take it and her son away. Isobel did as she was commanded but on this one night she hid behind a mask at a costume ball feeling free for the first time and wanting to explore her passionate side. She always dressed respectable on the exterior but underneath was the passion Isobel trying to get out. Isobel was going to have an adventure on this night that would shock everyone if they knew and the person she was going to have this illicit time was Phineas Archer, The Marquess of Blackwood the perfect rake and rogue about London.

    She could not have a scandal of any kind but Phin was too tempting and just for one night she could let go and be free of commitment and burdens. Phineas was more than willing to let his reputation take over with the woman whose name he didn't know. One night was enough for Isobel but one night was not enough for him and as he searches for this woman that has caught his heart and soul he would never have suspected it could be plain, ordinary Isobel because she kept herself away from society and hidden from view.

    Phineas it turns out is also so much more than the lifestyle he carries on with. He is pretending to be a shiftless man only to fulfill his work for his country and never before has he doubted himself and what he was doing as correct but that woman must be found and not to solve a mystery but to lay beside him in a nice, comfortable bed with his arms around her. But will Phin be able to find out who his mystery woman is?

    Isobel does everything she can to prevent being discovered but a random friendship with Phin's sister creates another set of problems as it seems she now can't keep him out of her life or her house. If he does find out that she is his mystery woman what will happen to Isobel knowing that everything she cares about will be taken from her. Isobel also suspects there is more than one kind of trouble abounding in her home with her in-laws but she can't figure out what it is. They lied about her husband's death and the more secrets she reveals the more concerned she is for her son's safety.

    This debut book from Lecia Cornwall is a wonderful, romantic and compelling story. With strong characters built around a story that is reality based for women in this time period she showcases Isobel as she hides her passion behind the mask of a widow. Add to that Phineas and his rake behavior you have two amazing characters with so many stories to tell about their life after the book ends. Ms. Cornwall has done just that divinely.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2011

    A GREAT DEBUT READ WITH DANGER,SENSUALITY,ROMANCE AND ADVENTURE! SECRETS OF A PROPER COUNTESS BY LECA CORNWALL!!

    SECRETS OF A PROPER COUNTESS by Lecia Cornwall is an exciting historical Regency romance.It is full of danger,romance, sweet sensuality,betrayal,treason,secrets,love,family,intrigue,seduction,deadly missions, disguises,lies,and witty banter. The characters are unforgettable and will capture your hearts from the first page to the last.When seduction,danger and secrets pull Lady Isobel Maitland together with Phineas,The Marquess of Blackwood,not only does sparks fly,but thought long ago buried will be opened and love will blossom.Isobel is locked into widowhood by the will her late husband left,giving guardianship of her young son and her lands to his brother and mother and not to his wife.She is treated horribly by her in-laws,made to wear ugly,mourning clothes for three years,can do nothing with her 5 year old son and has no freedom,if she does; not only will lose her son,but her estates and both their lives. Isobel longs for freedom,love and happiness.Phineas,is not the rake everyone believes him to be,but has his own secrets that only his brother-in-law knows.He longs also for love and happiness,but doesn't realize it until is is nearly to late.This is a fast pace,page turning,story with moments of wit,that actually will have you laughing at loud.I enjoyed this story from beginning to end and am looking forward to the next installment.This is this author's debut book and an author to watch for,I know I will.This book was received for the purpose of review from the author and the publisher and details can be found at Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers and My Book Addiction and More.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    an entertaining nineteenth century tale

    Widow Isobel Maitland is very careful with how she behaves amidst the Ton especially with her in-laws watching her every move because they do not want a scandal to interfere with their covetous need to climb up the aristocratic system. However, the Countess decides to let herself go and enjoy a masquerade party she attends. She meets Marquess Phineas but introduces herself as Yasmina to the notorious rake.

    Phineas actually uses the role of rogue to conceal he is an undercover agent working for the crown. He searches for his Yasmina as much as he seeks to expose a smuggler working for Napoleon. Once he figures out who Yasmina is and accepts the evidence that prim Isobel is her, Phineas wants to make her his wife, but fears she might be in cahoots with the smuggler.

    Lecia Cornwall provides historical romance fans with an entertaining nineteenth century tale starring two intriguing protagonists. The metamorphosis of Isabel from prim and proper to seductress (perhaps to easily done) makes for a fun time as readers will enjoy the havoc her change in deportment does to Phineas while he tries to focus on the case. Secrets of a Proper Countess is an enjoyable historical.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2011

    Highly recommend!!!

    This book was great. I was very impressed with this author. Usually I am bored or annoyed with the simpering heroines in this type of book, but I was hooked from the first chapter. I did not want to put it down. I am looking forward to more from this author. Very well done.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2013

    :)

    I just adored this book. It has mystery and romance. The twists were so-so. But the story itself was great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    Mekel

    I could not put this book down. Great story and very well written.

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    Awesome read!!

    Couldn't put down the book -- Cornwall is a romantic reader's dream come true - so well written.

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  • Posted February 22, 2013

    love this author

    lots of suspence nad good plot

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    In lust not in love

    Steamy romance between a, you guessed it, proper countess and a rakish duke. Isobel is seeking some fun in her otherwise cobstricting and dull life and she finds it in elicit rendezvous with a duke who doesnt recognize her by day. Never really got the feelig the two were in love so kuch as they both enjoy a good romp now and then. Still, Isobel is intriguing and her maudlin storyline kept me reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2012

    I almost gave up, but glad I didn't

    The first few chapters were difficult to get through. As some other reviewers lamented, Isobel is very much under her mother-in-law's thumb. I'm glad I stuck with the story, though, as she eventually took her pride and power back. The only thing I wish there had been more of was time for Phin and Isobel to talk and get to know each other. I enjoyed this book.

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  • Posted May 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Romance with Potential & Pitfalls

    Secrets of a Proper Countess is the debut historical romance by author Lecia Cornwall. The story revolves around a not so merry widow, Lady Isobel Maitland, who lives under the protection and dominance of her late husband's family who uses her son as emotional blackmail to keep her and her money under their absolute control. The story has a great set of characters, including the heroine and the numerous villains, whom you just love to hate. I especially thought that the character of Isobel was well written. You could feel her despair, her desire, and desperation to break free if only for a few stolen passionate moments. I just wish that I felt that I knew as much about the hero as I felt I knew about the heroine. A hero can make or break a romance for me and Phineas Archer was, in my opinion, a bit of a quandary. The reader is told that he is an agent of the crown and that he often plays a "role" while in the presence of the ton that is different than his own personality. However, I didn't feel that the persona that he presented to the Ton was any different than the person he was when he was with Isobel, whom he was supposedly himself with, which was a problem for me. Really, the whole agent of the Crown aspect of the story didn't really work for me. If this would have been a story about a Rake, a Widow, and a deviously and really vile controlling in-laws, I think I would have liked Secrets of a Proper Countess much much more than I did in the end. Not to say that I didn't like it, just that I felt it would have been a better story without the distraction of the plot involving the kidnapping of the French King. I mentioned earlier in the review that The Secrets of a Proper Countess has a great cast of villainous characters...and it does, almost too many of them, but in the end they all get what they deserve. Matter of fact their fate is all tied up in a pretty, almost over the top, bow. However, I do feel that a more fitting ending to her in-laws would have been public humiliation and the poverty that they feared that led to their greedy and possessive behavior, but that's just me and my vigilante justice :) I also feel though that this would have allowed Isobel to finally confront her mother in law with all of the terrible things that she did to suppress and manipulate Isobel all for her own gain and greed. Because Isobel didn't get her moment of glory and triumph in a face to face confrontation with her mother in law, in essence owning her passions and personality and claiming all that is hers, I felt she was shortchanged and that her mother-in-law's demise was too unsatisfying. Overall, I felt that The Secrets of a Proper Countess had amazing potential, and had a heroine that I absolutely loved. She was complex and presented with situations that seemed insurmountable. It had really vile villains that I thought were so deliciously bad you couldn't believe all that they went to the lengths that they did. But the hero usually makes or breaks the story for me, and in this book I didn't think Phineas was worthy of his task as an agent, nor was he worthy of Isobel and the chances she took to be with him. He was lackluster for me. However, it appears that I am in the minority with my criticisms of the story, because the book has received fairly positive reviews. This book was reviewed for Seductive Musings blog

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2011

    Could not finish

    Too disturbed by a female character who lets her mother in law read her mail, choose her clothes, dictate her social life, steal her invitations and encourage the servants to bully her. All for the best of causes (keeping her son) But why then have sex with a stranger outdoors, in a garden where other guests are, after having doused a couple of torches? Couldn't get over it. And didn't like that the hero so completely failed to recognize her.

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    Posted May 7, 2011

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    Posted May 16, 2011

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