Title: The Countess’s Groom
Author: Emily Larkin
Genre: historical romance, fiction
What it’s about: Rose, a young girl of nineteen was forced to marry Henry Quayle, the Count of Malmstoke, in order to pay for her father’s debts. It is a marriage of hell, where Rose is constantly beaten by Quayle prior to sex. Quayle leaves his estate for a trip to the Indies, leaving Rose under the careful watch of Boyle, a headmaid hired by Quayle to spy on Rose so that she would run away again.
During Quayle’s trip to the Indies, Rose goes out on rides on her horse, Dancer, alongside the groom, Will. She falls in love with Will as they spend time together, and learns to trust him. As they get closer, their relationship turns to love and exploration of each other. Rose begins to write a second journal about the love she shares with Will and hides it in a secret cabinet of her room in Creed Hall.
Their moment of bliss is interrupted by a letter from Quayle, who notifies his wife that he will be returning from his trip earlier than expected. Afraid and unwilling to deal with the cruelty of Quayle, Rose confides in Will about wanting to leave. On the other hand, Will is angry at Quayle for the cruelty that he subjects Rose to. Together, they concoct a plan to escape Quayle and Creed Hall, which involves faking Rose’s death and disappearing to the Colonies, where they buy land to have a horse farm.
Upon his return, and discovering his wife dead, Quayle suffers a heart attack and dies in her room, gripping Rose’s suicide letter. Creed Hall is then sold by Quayle’s successor to another family, the Stricklands.
My Verdict: I read this book after reading the other book, so it’s kind of in reverse order. I enjoyed seeing the story behind the journal that inspired Mattie’s foray into being Cherie in the book “The Spinster’s Secret.”It is a very simple, but fast-paced story that gets to the point of what occurred with the countess–Rose; however, it leaves out a lot of the details that occurred in the journal Mattie utilized.
It was a hard story to get into, but once I read past a certain point, it became easier to stay interested in the story. I just wish that it had a lot more details of what happened between Will and Rose, and shared some of the journal entries, or had some of the events that Mattie uses from the journal entries, depicted.
Over all, it’s good as a quick intro to the first book, but nothing more nor anything less.