Review: The Reluctant Countess (Would-Be Wallflowers #2) by Eloisa James


Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher:  Avon Books (November 29, 2022)

From Giles Renwick, Earl of Lilford, has never made a fool of himself over a woman--until he meets Lady Yasmin. Yasmin is ineligible for his attention in every way: not as a wife, certainly not as a mistress (she is a lady!), nor even as a friend, since they vehemently dislike each other. Her gowns are too low, and her skirts are dampened to cling to admittedly lovely thighs. She loves to gossip--and giggle.

She isn't dignified, or polite, or even truly British, given that her father's French ancestry clearly predominated. Not to mention the fact that her mother had been one of Napoleon's mistresses, a fact she makes no effort to hide.

So what--in heaven's name--possesses him to propose?

And what will he do if she says yes?


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

I have been sitting here for a few days trying to put into words just what a disaster this novel turned out to be. But since it would be a disservice to my readers if I skipped reviewing this simply so I could forget I had ever read it, I am going to try and get my thoughts out. 

To begin with, even though it was a historical ROMANCE, this novel featured THREE main characters; Yasmin, Giles, and Giles' sister Lydia. Sadly, absolutely none of them were tolerable in the slightest. 

First, let us talk about our Heroine. Yasmin flaunts the fact that she's different from the other women around her. She seemed to be the kind of character I could enjoy, until she let Giles browbeat her into attempting to be something she wasn't. It was also annoying how she was constantly back and forth with Giles. Yes I will marry you, no I won't, no wait I changed my mind. It was too over the top even for me. Also I'm still trying to figure out how having "dampened" skirts could be even remotely comfortable. And I'm not talking about them being dampened from arousal, no I mean she purposely uses water to wetten her skirts to make them cling to her legs. Nothing like walking around in wet skirts, am I right, ladies? I also wish she had stood up for herself more than she did. I get it; you're used to being called names, so you don't let it bother you, but for heaven's sake, start putting people in their places, and maybe they won't be so nasty to you in the first place. 

Then we have our supposed Hero. Giles lusts after Yasmin. He isn't in love with her. He doesn't even particularly seem to like her (a fact she points out more than once), but that doesn't stop him from bedding her. Then for whatever reason, he decides that he wants to marry her because he loves everything about her. Except again, he doesn't. In fact, even though it was his idea to keep their betrothal a secret as to not anger his sister, he becomes enraged at the fact that men still flock to Yasmin. The same way they always have. He demands she act "like a dignified countess" and stop wearing the clothing she preferred, then takes it out of her when she does what he asks of her, and men still flock to her proving her point that it's not how she dresses, it's just who she is. Oh, and whenever anyone says anything bad about her (you know, the woman he supposedly loves), he doesn't defend her. At all. 

And finally, we have Lydia. She was easily the most dislikeable of the bunch. She gossips maliciously about Yasmin without even knowing her, nearly outs herself as having been caught in a compromising position to the man's mother, then blames Yasmin for "tattling." And to top it off,  Lydia goes out of her way to sabotage her brother's relationship (while being engaged to someone herself, nonetheless). In fact, you end up feeling bad for her fiance, who eventually comes to understand just how vile his wife really is (but not before she does something so scandalous that she would never be welcomed back into polite society). I think it is worth mentioning that their family was the subject of malicious and cruel gossip most of their lives, so the fact that she would do the same to someone else makes it even more abhorrent. 

In fact, the only remotely likable ones were Yasmin's grandfather and one of her "suitors" (and I use that term loosely as they were really more friends than anything else). 

Sadly, the characters are the main reason that I couldn't get into this book. At every turn, I wanted just to delete this mess and be done with it, but I kept hoping it would improve. I also expected there to be, at some point, a moment when Lydia is held accountable for any of her many actions, but not only does this not happen, we are expected to believe that by the epilogue, she has become friendly with Yasmin? Huh? How? These are the kinds of things we need to see happening on the page instead of just being told about them later. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                    The Reluctant Countess is available on

Post a Comment