The trick to a great love story is having a really good reason why the characters can’t fall in love. Maybe it’s feuding families, maybe it’s scheming stepmothers, maybe it’s pride and/or prejudice. In Sophie Jordan’s The Scandalous Ladies of London: The Countess, it’s that the man of Lady Gertrude’s dreams is courting her daughter.
Gertrude, the Countess of Chatham (Tru to her friends), gave up on any notions of contentment or satisfaction in her married life within weeks of her wedding. Tru’s never going to have a happy ending—and she’s made her peace with that. But now that it’s her daughter’s first season, Tru will do whatever it takes to make sure Delia has a chance at something better. She wants her daughter to have a love match, a husband who will cherish and respect her. But Tru’s callous wastrel of a husband decides that Delia’s debut is his chance to select a suitor with deep pockets to fund his debauched lifestyle. Things get even worse when he reveals that his hand-picked selection for their new son-in-law is Jasper Thorne, a man Tru has met just once before—during a brief encounter that was more sensual, more intense than anything she has experienced in the entirety of her marriage.
A self-made man with no reverence for class or station, Jasper has no respect for a disgusting cad like Tru’s husband. He wants an aristocratic wife purely to ensure that his daughter has every possible privilege and advantage. But what he wants most is Tru, rather desperately, and has from the moment he laid eyes on her. If pretending to court Delia gives him an excuse to be around Tru, he’ll take it. It’s a match that can’t possibly happen—but their attraction can’t be denied.
Jordan knows how to deliver the heat, and the chemistry between Jasper and Tru is scorching. At the same time, The Countess doesn’t shy away from the difficulties of their situation, or the difficulties of other women within Tru’s circle. This book is an intriguing introduction to a series that will explore the love lives of these strong, fierce and compelling women, all of whom resigned themselves to unsatisfying marriages because that’s what the strictures of high society demanded. Jasper and Tru have to fight against those strictures to get their happily ever after, and that makes The Countess a compelling read. If love came easily, watching a couple fight to win it wouldn’t be nearly as fun.