It isn't every author who can take a distressing and bloody period of time and turn it into a historical romance, but Amanda McCabe writing as Laurel McKee does an excellent job of it. By the time I was through with Countess of Scandal I knew a lot more about a bloody Irish Revolution, and had fallen in love with a soldier named William.
Will and Eliza were madly in love seven long years ago. But as a younger son Will had no choice but to join the English army to make his way in the world. Eliza was heart broken. Not only was Will leaving her, but as a strong supporter of a free Ireland Will wearing a red coat to fight for the English was a deep betrayal. Now the two have met once more and although they have been apart, their love and passion for one another hasn't diminished. Eliza is a rich widow with powerful Irish friends and equally powerful English enemies. William has moved up the English ranks and has been assigned to spy on and take out the Irish rebels. But those same rebels are his own family and country men. Both Eliza and Will are in danger of losing their lives and their hearts.
This book was extra special to me since I read it while on a trip to Ireland. I was in Dublin and Kildare where this book takes place. I heard about the bloody revolution (and the ones to come), and learned about the strife of the Irish people first hand with this book in my pocket. This experience made the book come alive for me even more, and made me appreciate the authors historical accuracy.
Unlike many books that have a lot of history in them, this book never lost track of the love story. In fact, the tension in the love story was heightened by the lovers being on opposite sides of the revolution. This book had a real North & South feel to it. We all know how many great romances have come out of the Civil War. War and romance seem to go hand in hand. I think it's a real testament to the authors storytelling ability that she was able to utilize a tragic time and still give me a happily ever after.
William and Eliza are wonderful characters. Eliza is smart and strong. She understands the danger she's in by supporting the Irish Rebels. She knows the power of her convictions can get her hung. She knows all this and still loves the man sent to spy on her. William knows in his heart that he can't stop Eliza, and If he honestly thinks about it he doesn't want to. He knows that her beliefs are one of the most sexy things about her, and he'll do anything to keep her safe without altering who she is. This made their love all the more beautiful, and had me on the edge of my seat. There were a few times where I had to skip ahead just to make sure everything was going to turn out okay.
Bottom Line: I look forward to the next book in The Daughter's of Erin series and so will you when you've finished this book.