Reviewed by JenJulie Anne Long continues to impress me with her Pennyroyal Green series. These books are charming, witty, and difficult to put down. And in this particular installment, it has a slightly inexperienced, yet thoroughly swoon-worthy vicar hero.
Adam Sylvaine is part of the Eversea extended family and has the requisite good looks of the bloodline. He takes his job as vicar very seriously, though it's often made more challenging by the number of young ladies who pursue his affections. He's not exactly an innocent, but he has thrown himself into his work and has really had no time or inclination to pursue any dalliance. He first lays eyes on our heroine when she falls asleep during one of his sermons.
Eve has moved to Pennyroyal Green, hoping to make a new life for herself. Her reputation in London is in tatters. Once a much sought-after actress, she was later mistress to two men, and after that, may have cut her new husband's life short by being too vigorous in the bedroom. Dubbed the "Black Widow" by the ton, she prays that the moniker won't follow her to her new home. In fact, she starts trying to recreate herself, by attending church. Of course, it was never her intention to drift off to the melody of the handsome vicar's rich voice.
Sadly, Eve cannot escape her past. She is essentially shunned before she ever really has a chance to make an impression in Pennyroyal Green. She reaches out to Adam for help. Adam, who seems immune to her beauty, her flirtations, and manipulations. Adam... who is honest, stoic, and frank. He reluctantly agrees and helps to lay the groundwork for her social acceptance in town. And somehow, they slowly make their marks on each other's hearts.
The romance is a really slow build here. Both Adam and Eve fight any real feelings of substance. Eve has pulled herself up from nothing and fears ceding control to a man. At the same time, Adam must think of his position as vicar and how precarious a relationship with a fallen woman could be. The sexual tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. By the time Adam finally put his mouth on her, I was ready to jump out of my seat. And once things started getting physical, it was smoking hot.
There's a great cast of secondary characters and a lot going on with the Pennyroyal Green community --and how they all interact with both Eve and Adam. Eve is a tough cookie and I liked her. But Adam really stole the show for me. I loved his quiet strength. He has all this tightly contained passion, that --when unleashed-- rocked my socks off.
There's also a little movement on the Olivia and Lyon arc. Good gravy, I want their book so much! Please, please, give it to me, Julie Anne Long. I need it.
*ARC Provided by Avon
Click to purchase: Amazon
A Notorious Countess Confessesby Julie Anne LongRelease Date: October 30, 2012Publisher: Avon