Genres: Historical, Romance, Victorian
Sebastian Malheur is the most dangerous sort of rake: an educated one. When he’s not scandalizing ladies in the bedchamber, he’s outraging proper society with his scientific theories. He’s desired, reviled, acclaimed, and despised—and he laughs through it all.
Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, on the other hand, is entirely respectable, and she’d like to stay that way. But Violet has a secret that is beyond ruinous, one that ties her irrevocably to England’s most infamous scoundrel: Sebastian’s theories aren’t his. They’re hers.
So when Sebastian threatens to dissolve their years-long conspiracy, she’ll do anything to save their partnership...even if it means opening her vulnerable heart to the rake who could destroy it for good.
Can I get a third reread?
Thoughts on The Countess Conspiracy
Courtney Milan and her characters continue to amaze and thrill me, even through rereads. I could read and reread her books forever. Approximately.
In some ways, Sebastian’s story starts before The Countess Conspiracy, with Oliver and Jane’s book. But although we know something’s up with him then, we don’t know what it is. Once we do, we see how much it’s as much Violet’s secret as it is Sebastian’s.
And Violet, man. She’s smart and amazing, but her late husband was awful. Truly awful and he deserved exactly what he got. But she’s so broken inside because of that experience, and she hides it. She hides it so well no one can see. Not even Sebastian, even though he knows her better than anyone else.
As Sebastian chips away at Violet’s walls, his own life is unraveling, both through the secrets he’s carried for Violet and through his brother’s sickness and all those implications. Sebastian’s character arc is so, so good. And, in some ways, has similarities with Violet.
Because of Violet’s insecurities and… issues (THINGS that I’ll let you discover for yourself)… the romance between Violet and Sebastian, even though he’s loved her for years and they’ve been friends, is slow. It’s slow and sweet and I already want to reread it.