ARC-Review: THE DESIRES OF A COUNTESS by Jenna Petersen

After Ginny Blanchard’s abusive husband died, she looked forward to a more independent life where she could raise her young son as she pleased. But when Simon Webber is assigned as trustee to her estate and her son’s fortune, she feels she must come up with a plan to force him from her life. But she doesn’t count on sensual Simon’s insistence that he not only take a role in her son’s life but in her own.

But Ginny has dark and terrible secrets that she must hide. Even from the man she loves. And even if it puts her own life in terrible danger.

Author: Jenna Petersen
Series: The Jordans, book 3
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Year of release: 2011, October 25
Format: eBook
Source: Received an e-ARC from author for review

First line:
“If he comes here, I’ll run him out myself!”

Memorable Scenes:
– Simon and Jack on the stables with the horses > very endearing
– Simon giving Ginny lilacs after their first night together in London > oh so very romantic *sigh* and *melt*
– The reunion scene with Ginny, her sister and her mother > moved me to tears

Virginia ‘Ginny’ Blanchard is Lady Westdale, widow of Henry Blanchard, a drunkard and unfaithful abuser. The only good thing that came from her marriage is her son Jack. Ginny is outspoken, defiant and spirited even though her late husband tried to break her. She is sharp-minded, and guarded but can also be icy and prickly.

Simon Webber is Henry’s cousin and trustee of Jack’s inheritance. He is commanding and occasionally rigid but he can also be patient and he’s big on honor and responsibility.

The chemistry between Ginny and Simon is there instantly yet starts off hesitantly from both sides. Though Ginny tries to conceal her attraction by being hostile and untrusting, she’s drawn to his quiet and kind manner. Simon at first doesn’t know what to think of Ginny and doesn’t understand where her hostility is coming from yet he is drawn to her fiery personality. The romance is built up slowly but in a great way. I was anticipating the moment they would give in to the attraction. Once they did, the sparks came off the pages.

I was wondering when I would get to see more of the Jordans as I had grown fond of the entire family over the first two books and at that moment the plot took me and Ginny to London and to her estranged family. I liked this development in the story and loved seeing the former couples again. Also, just as I was wondering where Jenna Petersen’s trademark heinous family members would enter the secondary cast, she presented me with Cordelia, Simon’s aunt from hell and Ginny’s horrible mother-in-law.

The book focuses mainly on the romance between Ginny and Simon but there a tiny plot of exactly what happened when Ginny’s late husband died. Subtle hints led me to a certain strain of thought and I was curious to see if I was right. Well I was close but no cigar… As subtle as the suspense was woven throughout the majority of the book, the culmination and wrap-up was surprising and riddled with twists that had me reading with bated breath. Well done, Ms. Petersen!

I think historical romance readers who prefer their romances without a spy or suspense plot will definitely like this third installment in the trilogy the best. It was wonderfully written and I loved the focus on the romance even if I did miss the thrill of a more elaborate suspense or spy plot, which are there in both previous two books, a bit.

THE DESIRES OF A COUNTESS is an emotion- and character-driven historical romance with a hint of suspense that was wrapped up in an exciting and satisfying way. I loved the recurring themes of family and duty and love pitted against each other as much as I love Jenna Petersen’s writing style, which is easy and fluent, filled with great dialogue, intriguing characterization and light on extensive descriptions. In short, an author with a style that is very much to my liking and I look forward to more of her work in the future.

Favorite Quotes:
Where was this venom coming from? And how could it exist in the guise of such loveliness? He‘d come to Westdale with an open mind, ready to do his duty and assist in any way he could. He‘d expected a brokenhearted widow to greet him. Instead he found this… this…

He rubbed his thumb along her palm and little tingles shot through her body. Like waves they grew from the source until her whole body sang with pleasure.

Cordelia sputtered as she always did when her poison was met with civility. It was a tactic Ginny had to bite her tongue to use, but it served her well. Later she would be free to ponder all the nasty things she wanted to say to the witch.

She caught her breath at the tingles created by his mouth. ―Y-yes.‖
How was she able to talk when she could barely breathe? And what was he doing that was making her vision blur like that?

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