Review: The Mad Countess by Erica Monroe

Reviewed by Ronelle

Theodore Lockwood, Earl of Ashbrooke, has been in love with his best friend, Lady Claire Deering, for as long as he can remember… though he’s never had the courage to tell her. Claire, too, harbors feelings of desire for him–but a witch’s curse upon her family has her too terrified to act on them. But things come to a head when a will reading at a mysterious castle in Cornwall brings them both together on All Hallows Eve.

They say love conquers all, but is it strong enough to break a curse cast by an enraged witch?


This was a short, sweet little regency romance with enough plot to make it interesting. I enjoyed the characters of Claire and Teddy, and they showed a surprising amount of growth for such a quick journey. Ms. Monroe did an excellent job of sketching in just enough background to make Claire’s struggle feel very real and believable. She also managed to convey the horrors of regency-era mental health ‘care’ without going into excessive detail. In these cases, less was definitely more!

I absolutely loved Claire; while she came across as fragile and fearful of ending up like her mother and aunt, she was strong enough to conquer that fear to go after the man she loved. This was poignantly evident during the All Hallows Eve ritual and I’m not ashamed to admit that I teared up during her confessions. Teddy was sweet and supportive of her and his determination to do whatever he needed to do to help the love of his life was touching. (Also, despite the cover, he was described in such a way that I found myself picturing him as David Tennant. *swoon*) The romance between them wasn’t hot-and-heavy, in your face, or crammed down the reader’s throat at every opportunity, which is one of the things I seem to like about non-contemporary romances. Things between Teddy and Claire had been building for years and Ms. Monroe spooled it out at a rate that heightened the anticipation. When they finally gave into their desire for one another, it was perfectly written and so worth all the previous tension. It was also…classy in a way I find lacking in contemporary romances, with just the right balance between explicit description and letting my imagination do its job.

My only real disappointment with The Mad Countess was the setting: Keyvnor Castle was initially presented as this creepy, foreboding, haunted place…and then that aspect was all but cast aside. We got little hints (Teddy thinking he saw a ghost in the wee hours of the morning), but I found myself wanting more out of the paranormal aspects of this story. I guess the “gothic” part of the book description led me to expect something a little darker than what I got.

Bottom line: With believable characters, a sweet love story, and a satisfying HEA, The Mad Countess was a well written little jaunt into regency romance. I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys a friends-to-lovers story and is looking for a quick-but-satisfying read with a touch of magic. I’ll certainly be checking out Erica Monroe’s other stories!

Rating: A-

**I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Mad Countess
by Erica Monroe
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Quillfire Publishing

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