Review: The Runaway Countess by Leigh Lavalle
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Love has a way of opening your eyes, even when you don’t want too…
For Trent Carthwick, Earl of Radford, justice and the rules of law have always come before emotions. He’s steadfast in his duty to parliament, and believes in truth and honor above all. So the presence of a highwayman running rampant through his village and preying on friends of his father is the last thing he wants to malign his character. The one person who can reveal the highwayman is a prisoner… err, guest in his home. Although it will take more than threats to loosen the lips of this beguiling beauty, Mazie Chetwyn, and Trent’s finding it hard not to fall into a trap.
Lavalle’s debut is delicious! There’s something to be said for a story of a woman on the run and an Earl crossing paths. Although, Mazie isn’t everything she appears to be and neither is Trent. From the get go, I was submerged in a story that had me turning the page’s with an urge to know more. The most captivating part is the emotions that plague and tie Trent and Mazie together. They’re both trying to protect something, and neither of them can see a solution that comes out in their favor. Add in a growing attraction, that they can’t expel, and it’s plain to see disaster sits on the horizon.
Trent is arrogant, and devoted to the rules. He’s determined to get his way—regardless of the cost, except what way that is he isn’t sure, as every turn and twist in discovering the highwayman opens the floodgates to problems he didn’t know he had. Mazie is running from previous abandonment, and desires to be free of anyone’s control. She refuses to yield to Trent’s requests for her honesty, hoping instead to lead him on a merry chase while she plots her escape.
As the days tick away Trent discovers more about Mazie, bringing a wave of additional attraction and sympathy to this wayward woman. Mazie on the other hand is shocked to discover that each assumption she has towards Trent is somewhat unfounded, though her hesitations toward disclosure remain. As the blurb describes it’s a constant battle of passion, wit, and deflecting the truth from one another as Mazie and Trent play out their dangerous dance.
My one caveat to this story is completely personal; the villains didn’t get their just reward! Oh, not that the villains weren’t evil. They were, despicably so. I just felt they didn’t receive the punishment they deserved. It made me angry to see Trent, a man so influenced by justice, refusing to exact more of a punishment. If it was possible, I’m not sure, but it would’ve been nice.
I will say Lavalle kept me on my toes, and created a real sense of doubt. I didn’t think the characters would get an HEA. I didn’t believe that enough growth had occurred, when in reality the growth was there. You just get the deliverance at the right time and right place! Overall, if you like a story where characters must question their own beliefs, and evaluate their scruples then this book is one to read. It’s a love story that reminds me of how love can form between different people, and even when it makes you question the very ideals you hold dear.
*Previously featured on The Season