Historical unrest may be the focal point in the first book of The Daughters of Erin series, but the love story between its brave hero and spirited heroine is just as compelling. The expert entwining of actual facts with vividly thought out fiction is superbly handled by Laurel McKee, making the story absolutely enthralling.
When William Denton purchased a commission with an English regiment, he shattered the idealistic hopes of Eliza Blacknall for them to marry one day. She has always cherished Ireland, the country where they grew up as neighbors, and she sees his becoming a soldier for the country which is oppressing her beloved homeland as a betrayal. During the time Will is gone, Eliza marries a man chosen by her family, someone she does not love. When she becomes a widow, she is able to pursue her politically defiant ideas with funds from her inheritance. Also, her status as a countess helps to keep others from questioning her too closely, though there is much speculation as to whether she is secretly helping Ireland fight for its freedom.
When Will returns to Ireland in late 1797, Eliza is attracted to the man he has become but is wary of the motives behind his many questions. It quickly becomes evident these two still have extremely dissimilar viewpoints when it comes to the political side of their country, and he greatly fears for her safety if any of her actions are discovered. As Will and Eliza set their own course for what part they will play during the mounting revolts, battles over obligations to their opposing countries are internally fought while also trying to sort out their potent feelings for the other.
Laurel McKee deftly brings the past to life with realistic scenarios and interestingly genuine characters. From the very first page of COUNTESS OF SCANDAL, the reader will be transported to another time when happiness is often fleeting and duty to family frequently takes precedence over all else. Ms. McKee takes an actual historical event, one not normally used in stories, and then uses real places plus people to make her novel seem as though it might possibly have occurred. There are stirring descriptions of the locale, and there are also affective images of the anguish suffered by those who lived through these troubling times. This rebellious period in Irish history is portrayed with much emotion, as desires of the heart constantly war with political beliefs and future hopes. I became totally involved in the lives of Will and Eliza as insight into their inner dreams was disclosed. These two repeatedly show their daring natures by how they respond to the numerous complicated situations which crop up in their lives, and most of these incidents are made even more difficult because of their conflicting feelings for each other. Their opposing views for achieving peace in Ireland leads to countless disagreements, and each of these verbal discussions is fueled by impassioned sentiments. The one area in which Will and Eliza do not have any problem is when they have sex, as they are able to express their true feelings with much fiery passion and sincerity. Ms. McKee makes the reader realize what individuals will go through to see their aspirations come true, and I am eager to see what all happens in the next two books of the series. COUNTESS OF SCANDAL is an exceptionally rewarding story which will stay with you long after the last word is finished.
Page Count: 368
Price: $ 6.99
Reviewer: Amelia Richard
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Star Rating: 4.5 Stars
Author's Website: http://ammandamccabe.com/mckee/