Let me start by saying what a fan I am of Courtney Milan. Just about any time I pick up something of hers, I feel like it’s a given I am going to love it. Unfortunately, this book proved the exception to the rule.
This is the third book in the Brothers Sinister series and it focuses on Sebastian and Violet. You may remember Sebastian from the previous books as the controversial scientist who had society aghast with his lectures on reproduction and inherited traits. What we learn here is that none of those ideas actually belonged to him. In fact, all the theories came from Violet. Sebastian agreed to present them because no one would take the ideas seriously from a woman.
All the lies are wearing on Sebastian, however. And as the book begins, he has reached his breaking point. Despite the fact he has been in love with Violet all of his life, he ends their arrangement, refusing to keep up the charade any longer. He also decides to stop hiding his feelings for his long-time best friend.
I was good with the premise and I liked Sebastian fairly well. He is an affable guy whose charm has always hidden a sharp mind. He enjoys women, but he is no heartbreaker. He is kind and giving and has always held his heart aside for Violet. I liked his earnestness and devotion. Even more, I appreciated his patience and acceptance of Violet –and even his jerk of a brother.
Violet is where the story lost me. She has been through a lot, no doubt. I won’t spoil the particulars of it, but I will concede the point. However, her coping mechanisms got in the way of any ability I had to relate to her. I couldn’t stand how she belabored her unlovableness; how she thought so low of herself; how she pushed everyone away; how she treated Sebastian. Granted, these things improve as the story progresses, but frankly, I just didn’t like her. I wasn’t sure why Sebastian loved her so. Yes, she is brilliant, but she has been a shell of herself for years, and not even an outwardly sympathetic one. Perhaps other readers will be able see past this to her wounded soul, but until nearly the very end, I just didn’t see how she was good enough for all he put up with.
It wasn’t all bad. Like I said, I liked the hero and was pleasantly surprised in liking Violet’s mother. I liked the shout out to the pioneering women of discovery who never got their just desserts; and that Courtney Milan didn’t try to make a child for Violet the happy ending. But it was hard to love a romance where I didn’t like the heroine.
*ARC provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Countess Conspiracy
by Courtney Milan
Release Date: December 17, 2013