Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee

Back of the book:
As children, Eliza Blacknall and William Denton ran wild over the fields of southern Ireland and swore they would be friends forever. Then fate took Will away to England, while Eliza stayed behind to become a proper Irish countess. Years later, Will finally makes his way home-as an English soldier sent to crush the Irish uprising. When he spies the lovely Eliza, he is captivated by the passionate woman she has become. But Eliza’s passions have led her to join the Irish rebel cause, and Will and Eliza now find themselves on opposite sides of a dangerous conflict. When Ireland explodes in bloody rebellion, Will’s regiment is ordered to the front lines, and he is forced to choose between his duty to the English king and his love for Eliza and their Irish homeland.

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Countess of Scandal takes place in 1790s Ireland. There is strife between the landowners and the Irish people. Will is torn between his love of Eliza and his duty to “family, to England, to our estate“. Eliza, also part of the aristocracy, has always been proud of Ireland. She was born there and considers herself Irish, not British. She will do anything to help the Irish people – even if it puts her in danger.

I thought there was a good balance of romance and conflict. Eliza is a strong heroine and Will, a good hero. I liked how Will’s inner conflict was resolved. I wasn’t sure how this British soldier would find a way to be with his seditious Countess but Laurel McKee made it happen.

This is the first book in The Daughters of Erin trilogy. I look forward to the next: Duchess of Sin (December, 2010).

Review copy from Hachette Book Group