Dual Review: The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle

Filed in 4 1/2 Stars , Dual Review , featured , Leigh LaValle , The Coffee Lover , The HEA Lover Posted on April 17, 2012 @ 3:00 pm 9 comments

Format Read:e-book provided courtesy of the author
Number of Pages:408 pages
Release Date:March 6th 2012
Formats Available: e-book, Kindle Edition
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s website, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo

Book Blurb:

Her heart longs for justice, but her body clamors for sin.

Once the darling of high society, Mazie Chetwyn knows firsthand how quickly the rich and powerful turn their backs on the less fortunate. Orphaned, penniless and determined to defy their ruthless whims, she joins forces with a local highwayman who steals from the rich to give to the poor.

Then the pawn broker snitches, and Mazie is captured by the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. A man who is far too handsome, far too observant…and surely as corrupt as his father once was.

Sensible, rule-driven Trent Carthwick, twelfth Earl of Radford, is certain the threat of the gallows will prompt the villagers’ beloved Angel of Kindness to reveal the highwayman’s identity. But his bewitching captive volunteers nothing—except a sultry, bewildering kiss.

And so the games begin. Trent feints, Mazie parries. He threatens, she pretends nonchalance. He cajoles, she rebuffs. Thwarted at every turn, Trent probes deep into her one vulnerability—her past. There he finds the leverage he needs and a searing truth that challenges all he believes about right and wrong.

Our Thoughts:
Anna: I think we should start this review by talking about the main heroine. I kind of feel that the main couple is one of the most crucial parts of a story 🙂
So, Mazie is a rather well built character, one I could really connect to. I liked her sense of duty and justice and how she did whatever was within her power to protect those she loved. The way she was ready to sacrifice everything for her beliefs endeared her even more to me. Honestly, I pretty much loved everything about Mazie 🙂

Caro: Mazie is a great character. I really like her feisty attitude. She’s not a victim, she escaped the ties of society and she’s her own woman. I love that she didn’t whine and never gave up. She is very loyal and even though she’s a bit stubborn , she’s not so much that she wouldn’t accept when she was wrong. As you can see I really liked her!

Anna: And what about Trent??? I loved him so much that I don’t know what I can possibly say about Trent to do him justice! A hero right down my alley! Strong, clever and honestly, my favorite part about him was the grace with which he accepted some world shattering truths. He is sensual, but not overly so and that is always a plus for me in a romantic story.

Caro: *squeee* Trent makes my heart beat faster. Yes I’m a total fangirl. Wow he rocked the book from the first few pages. He’s highly intelligent and he doesn’t think himself better than the rest of the world. I loved how he took control of the situation and of his estate. I just loved him from start to end. His every moves had me fascinated.He is the star of the book.

Anna: And the chemistry between them? I have to admit, that for a debut novel, Leigh LaValle does a splendid job with the way she chooses to bring her heroes together. The chemistry between Mazie and Trent was evident from the very first pages and the way their story progresses, just grabbed my interest and never let it go until I reached the last page. The sex scenes between them were sexy and hot but not over the top.

Caro: I agree that this was very well handled. I really loved how they met and the sexual tension between them. I love the “from enemies to lovers” trope. What’s even better is that ‘in-between’ state when they are both attracted to each other against their will. To be honest I loved the sex scenes in this book (well apart from one of my pet peeves the infamous ‘cock milking’), the chemistry between them sent sparks everywhere. It was sensual and sexy and never felt forced or staged. 2 thumbs up!

Anna: But what makes the difference between a good story and a mediocre one is always for me the way the author presents and develops the secondary characters of his/her story and I’m glad to say that LaValle did a really good job with her secondary characters.
They were there, but not just standing and observing the goings on of the story. They were developed, but not in a manner that would overshadow the main ones.
Only a slight complain here, I’d like some more info about Roane. He was a crucial character in the story and although we got to know a lot irrelevant info about him, that granted, added to the whole story, his motives for his actions were a bit shady. We knew why Mazie helped him. She had her motive. But Roane seemed that acted that way inspired from Robin Hood’s story more than anything else. That small detail didn’t spoil the fun of the story in any way, but you know me, I always like to complain about something 😛

Caro: There were secondary characters? LOL Sorry but Trent and Mazie stole the show and I was blind to the rest ;). I agree that it would have been fun to learn more about Roane but not knowing much about him added to the whole mystery around him. I can only hope that maybe there will be a book about Roane and Trent’s sister (not necessary together LOL). I’d love to know more about Cat and her absent husband. It calls for a book don’t you think? 😉

Anna: Oh yes!!! Roane and Trent’s sister would be a nice addition to the story! LOL, I’d never think about it Caro, but now that you mention it, they would make a really intriguing couple!

Caro: Your thoughts on the plot? I really loved how it all turned out. I admit at some point it felt like it was stalling a bit. I thought we’d never get past Trent trying to make her tell the truth and Mazie leading him on a false track. It happened a few times and I was worried they wouldn’t move on. BUT the last 100 pages were so full of action they proved me wrong. I loved how things evolved. The plot kept on surprising me. I just couldn’t stop reading.

Anna: By now, it’s evident that I really enjoyed reading The Runaway Countess, so it’s not a big surprise that I liked how the plot unfolded! Fast paced, with enough twists by the end, some kind of action scenes (that one with Mazie running to the woods at the beginning is by far my favorite!), all in all, the plot of the story had me turning the pages constantly. I spotted the same problem with you Caro somewhere in the middle of the story, but I was so engrossed that it barely registered 😛

Caro: And I just have to add that I really like the author’s writing style. It’s easy to read and everything flows. Leigh LaValle is now on my radar. I will be awaiting her next books =)

Anna: I totally agree with you Caro! Leigh LaValle delivers an impressive debut novel in my opinion. Her writing style is plainly that good and I believe that we should expect great things from her.


Caro: The Runaway Countess is a wonderful story that force us to see past the usual ballroom setting, with characters you can’t help but love and impeccable writing.  2 thumbs up!

I give The Runaway Countess 4,5 stars


Anna: I think that Leigh LaValle delivered an impressive story and her voice is strong. You know me, I like to complain about things, but simply, The Runaway Countess just grabbed my interest and it was a book I thoroughly enjoyed!

I give The Runaway Countess 4,5 stars.


About Anna

Anna is a psychologist from Greece.You can almost always find her with a book stuck under her nose,so it's no wonder that all her friends make a joke of her.Apart from reading she dreams of the day she'll be able to travel around the world!Anna also blogs at Books to Brighten your Mood.

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Join the Discussion
  • Darline Stewart April 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I really want this book

    • pattepoilue April 18, 2012 at 2:08 am

      Hope you can get it soon! Super book!

  • Aislynn @ Stitch Read COok April 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I have this sitting on my TBR list – I’m looking forward to digging into it!!

    Great review 🙂

    • pattepoilue April 18, 2012 at 2:08 am

      I can’t wait to hear what you think of the book!

  • Carrie at In the Hammock Blog April 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    awww, trent sounds like a great hero! and i love that cover!

    • pattepoilue April 18, 2012 at 2:09 am

      He really is a fantastic hero. I loved everything about him.

  • Stella April 18, 2012 at 5:34 am

    Wonderful review Ladies and I so agree with you! I LOVED The Runaway Countess and was utterly spellbound!! I can’t wait for more (I agree, the mystery behind Cat and her absent husband calls for a reunion story 😉 – hey, and I just realized that we were never given the resolution of the mystery (regarding the reason why Roane chose his victims, or is it possible Mazie and Trent blinded me and I skipped over that bit? huh..)

    • Anna April 18, 2012 at 5:45 am

      I so agree with you Stella! It was a really good book and I can’t wait to see what LaValle has in store for future books 🙂

  • Tamsyn April 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

    This sounds like a good book. Thanks for the dual review.

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