The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister)
Author: Courtney Milan
Date of Publication: December 17, 2013
Sebastian Malheur is the most dangerous sort of rake: an educated one. When he’s not scandalizing ladies in the bedchamber, he’s outraging proper society with his scientific theories. He’s desired, reviled, acclaimed, and despised—and he laughs through it all.
Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, on the other hand, is entirely respectable, and she’d like to stay that way. But Violet has a secret that is beyond ruinous, one that ties her irrevocably to England’s most infamous scoundrel: Sebastian’s theories aren’t his. They’re hers.
So when Sebastian threatens to dissolve their years-long conspiracy, she’ll do anything to save their partnership…even if it means opening her vulnerable heart to the rake who could destroy it for good.
For about the first 40% of this book, I wasn’t sure if I would actually end up liking it because I felt very distant from Violet, but then her big secret was revealed (not the scientist aspect) as to why she didn’t feel worthy of being loved and why she didn’t want to be intimate with anyone and my heart absolutely broke for her. I’ve only experienced (and I do mean this – read the book and you’ll understand) 1/19th of what she suffered, but what a nightmare for the character. Poor, poor Violet.
There was a great sense of romantic growth between Sebastian and Violet – I loved the way these two have been friends for so long, and even that Sebastian has loved her for so long without ever pushing for more (until the story of course, and he only does it because the time seems to call for it).
It’s great to see a 19th century heroine be a truly revolutionary scientist and I loved the discovery Violet, with some inspiration from Sebastian, makes toward the end of the book. I’d love to give Violet’s mother, despite initially thinking the woman was a cold-hearted snake, a huge hug for what she does in support of Violet’s discovery. Violet’s sister, on the other hand…
These two both have family issues, and I like that. Neither of them have relatives waiting in the wings to kill them (a common plot in historicals). No, they have realistic families, with different angsts and issues. Ms. Milan did a fabulous job of creating the Malheur family, even though I wanted to smack Sebastian’s brother a few times for being a jerk.
It was nice seeing one of the prior Brothers Sinister as he prepared for his wedding and it provided a great opportunity for showing Sebastian as so much more than simply the jokester he portrays himself as most of the time. In case you can’t tell, I adored Sebastian.
So – overall, I really liked this book and I’m so excited each time I read a Courtney Milan book. I definitely am eager to see where she goes next with this series! Thank you so much, Ms. Milan, for letting me read this book!
Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.