I’ve been away for a few days, but I did take the chance to get caught up on some reading, so it’s time to get some reviews sorted. First up, The Cinderella Countess – I’ve got in the habit of picking up new Mills and Boon Historicals whenever they hit NetGalley, and this is a great one!
Book: The Cinderella Countess by Sophia James
Read before: No
Ownership: E-ARC provided free of charge by NetGalley for review. All opinions my own.
I was really interested to read this one because of the heroine, who is a herbal healer in Whitechapel. I love herbalism, and was interested to see how her lifestyle was going to fit into that of the ton (because let’s be real, we know how this one’s going to end from the title). And Belle was great! She’s a really fierce, caring woman who constantly puts her practice above her personal happiness, and it was lovely to see things work out in a way that never dimmed her light – falling in love doesn’t change her need to help people, it just allows her to see that occasionally she can let people help her back. This is exactly the kind of heroine I like in romance.
Thorn, the hero (properly Lytton Staines, Earl of Thornton, which is perhaps the world’s least romantic name), is cast of your fairly standard Earl-ish stuff. He’s sweet, but trapped by his responsibilities to his family and estate, and it takes Belle’s freer outlook on life to get him to warm up and rediscover fun. I really liked that he had some great friendships – you don’t always see male bonding in romance, so that was nice, and it made me keen to look up the earlier books in this series to read the stories of his friends. There is a sense of continuity in this book, with references to the marriages of two of Thorn’s friends, but it never impeded the storyline.
The chemistry between the two main characters is a little more subdued than I was expecting – though they clearly fancy the pants off each other on first meeting, they are both determined not to do anything about it, and their first kiss comes very late in the game. This allows space for both of them to fall in love with each other’s personality and mind, and you get the impression that this is going to be a really strong, supportive, and emotionally frank relationship, rather than one based around lust. I can really imagine Belle and Thorn being happy together! Though there is an element of rags-to-riches, we really don’t follow the Cinderella storyline to a T (not a shoe or stepsister in sight!), so there’s plenty of originality in the story. It’s a really lovely, fluffy read, and one I recommend to fans of the genre. Four out of five cats!