To Catch a Countess by Patricia Grasso
Series: Douglas Trilogy (# 3)
Re-release Date: December 22, 2013 (Original June 2004)
Publisher: Lachesis Publishing
Source: book purchased by reviewer
The most outrageous and reckless of the Douglas sisters, Victoria marries Alexander Emerson, the Earl of Winchester. She curbs her wild ways and tries to be a devoted wife. Everything would be perfect if not for her shameful secret. Victoria cannot read or write. She is determined to overcome her disability because she fears her sophisticated husband’s former mistresses will lure him away.
Alexander agreed to marry Victoria to right a grievous wrong that his late father perpetrated on the Douglas family. He soon realizes Victoria will make the perfect wife. Her sensual beauty and bright spirit captivate him. Could their marriage be a love match after all?
Ugly rumors and a malicious plot threaten to tear them apart. Can their marriage withstand the vicious ton? Will their love survive the scandal?
Review: I first read this book years ago and when asked what my favorite romance novel is, this title often came to mind. I recently picked up the first book in the Douglas Trilogy as a free read and once I was done with it, I knew I had to revisit To Catch a Countess to see if it was as good as I remembered… and it was.
I absolutely adored Victoria. She’s the youngest of three and after watching both her older sisters find love, she’s ready for her turn. But she’s afraid it’s not going to happen if anyone outside her family learns her secret. She’s dyslexic, but of course in at the time of this story, it’s mostly unknown, so Victoria feels she’s stupid. She can’t read or do math, she can’t tell left from right. My heart broke for her throughout the book as she tried to navigate society and a new marriage without spilling secrets. But unfortunately, because of her marriage, she’s made a couple enemies determined to bring her down.
Alexander ran hot and cold for me. One minute he’s super loving and tender with young Victoria. Then he’s all of the sudden “obey me, you’re my property”. As the story unfolds, the reader learns why he’s untrusting and afraid to give his heart, which does explain a lot. He’s a very flawed man and turns out he’s easily manipulated. Alexander was a little harder for me to really like. BUT, this book wouldn’t have been the same if he was any different.
This book touched all my emotions. I laughed out loud when Victoria was trying to prove she was well-read and up to date on current events and was talking about Napoleon being “banished to Elbow” or when playing croquet and after being teased about starting the wrong direction, she nails Alexander in the leg with one of the balls. But I also shed a lot of tears. I was touched whenever Victoria talked about being “stupid” and could barely read the last couple chapters through my tears.
I love that Ms Grasso took a chance to tackle dyslexia in 1814. And while on the ride, she took some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming (obviously the first time I read the book). She brought back characters from the first two books in the series, which was nice to see. The book does stand alone, but having read those books do make the characters and their actions a little more understandable.
All in all, I’m glad that I had stumbled across book one to make me want to revisit this tale. I highly recommend this story to all historical romance fans.