A Scandalous Countess by Jo Beverley

Title: A Scandalous Countess

Series: Malloren #12

Author: Jo Beverley

Genre: Historical, Georgian England

Lady May is back. And so is the scandal that sent her tumbling from her position as the toast of London, when her husband, the Earl of Maybury, was killed in a duel. Even a year of mourning hasn’t quieted the rumors of her infidelity. Georgia Maybury is determined to regain her position in the beau monde, but a scarred ex-naval officer threatens her plans…
Although A SCANDALOUS COUNTESS is the twelfth book in Jo Beverley’s Malloren world novels, this is my first book of hers to read.
Georgia Maybury happily cultivated a scandalous reputation while her husband was alive. (It should be noted that they married very young, were better friends than lovers–although they did love each other–and he seemed to encourage this reputation which was really more of an amusement to both of them than anything truly damaging.) However, after her husband dies Georgia–or Lady May, as she is called–is no longer the darling of society and instead is suspected of causing her husband’s death and truly living up to her scandalous name.
She goes into proper mourning but still, because she is young and loves the society world, she yearns to return to the carefree lifestyle she once had. It soon becomes obvious, however, that this is out of her reach, and she must now deal with the consequences of being a widow scorned by the ton.
I really enjoyed this book. I’m not sure why–perhaps because I know how much of a history buff Jo Beverley is (which isn’t a bad thing!) or perhaps because I’m not very familiar with the Georgian time period–but I was expecting to be inundated with setting and historical details which would slow the pacing of the story. Fortunately, this didn’t happen for me. Instead, it was a book to be savored.
The writing was fresh, the hero was delectable, and if I loved Georgia Maybury, it might be because she reminded me so much of one of my favorite heroines of all time, Scarlett O’Hara (although, to be honest, Georgia turned out to be much more sympathetic than Scarlett ever was). I also enjoyed the plot. Although it was subtle, I never felt it was predictable, and I kept telling myself “just another chapter” again and again, which is always a good sign.
I did find the ending to be somewhat forced and out of line with the tone of the rest of the book, but overall A SCANDALOUS COUNTESS was a great introduction to the Malloren world, in my opinion, and I am now anxious to read more.

Grade: A-

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