The Countess and the Baron*
Dark Topics Explored in Historical Romance
This is a very dark historical story. While it does have a romance at its core, this feels greatly overshadowed by the darkness of the heroine’s past and present. In fact, about 25% of the book is spent detailing this, and we don’t even meet the hero until about the quarter mark. Even after they meet, I don’t feel like much time was spent in the development of their relationship. The story seems tightly focused on the heroine and her struggles. I felt like I wanted to know the hero better. He was definitely a good and decent man, but like the villains in this story, he felt two dimensional. I like my books to resemble life in that no person is wholly good or wholly evil, and unfortunately, this book has failed in this characterization aspect. The villains in this story are truly evil, not just bad people, especially the heroine’s abusive husband whom we get to know quite a bit about.
The author did handle the difficult topics that this book addresses with delicacy. We don’t see abuse happening, but we do see its effects as well as snippets of memory. I really do think authors that deal with topics like incest, rape, and domestic violence should have trigger warnings at the bottom of their book blurbs. A reader should not have to infer from the blurb that such things are an integral part of a book. Saying that a character’s husband is worse than her father, a monster, doesn’t give enough detail for those who need for their own personal comfort and safety to stay away from such topics.
There were a few odd problems with grammar, punctuation, and usage. Commas in particular seem problematic, with extra ones thrown in and others missing. There was one time when the heroine’s maiden name was misspelled as Barrington instead of Baggington.
Personally, I don’t like historical romances to be so dark, so I can’t say that I enjoyed this book.