Eloisa James (How to Be a Wallflower; Wilde Child; Three Weeks with Lady X) returns to Regency England with The Reluctant Countess, the deeply romantic and emotionally intense second entry in the Would-Be Wallflowers series. Giles Renwick, Earl of Lilford, can't deny his intense attraction to Lady Yasmin Régnier, granddaughter of a duke. Unfortunately, Giles requires a respectable wife, one without a hint of scandal. Yasmin is half-French, dampens her skirts to show her figure and is rumored to savor the occasional brandy--and her mother was once Bonaparte's mistress. Yes, Yasmin is a lady but completely unacceptable as Giles's countess. For her part, beneath her racy exterior, Yasmin is a woman with a strong moral compass, buttressed by a loyal and steadfast character. She, too, wants to marry but is looking for an older man with whom she can be comfortable and enjoy affection without passion.
Both Giles's and Yasmin's past experiences have taught them bitter life lessons. Following the adventures of these two unforgettable characters as they learn to trust and believe in love once again is an absolute delight. Yasmin's effervescent joy balances Giles's stern moodiness, and his unexpected stalwart support gives Yasmin the security she's never had but always craved. Glittering London ballrooms and the city's crowded streets provide a vivid background for a solid plot, which includes lush sex scenes and witty, amusingly bawdy dialogue. James deftly weaves intriguing historical details into the story at surprising junctures, and her well-drawn secondary characters will engage readers more deeply in this outstanding novel. --Lois Dyer, author and reviewer