Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Review: THE COUNTESS AND THE KING...Plus Giveaway!!!

What is it about Susan Holloway Scott that makes her one of my top three FAVOURITE authors?  Well, all you have to do is get out there and pick up her latest historical novel:  The Countess and The King- and you'll understand exactly what I mean.

Want to read a book that reveals 17th c history set in Charles II's English Court, filled with illustrious details  of court life filled with historical precision along with love and the times (not to mention the glorious descriptions of setting and costume)- then RUN to get this!

By now most of you know how much I adore reading anything that has to do with Charles II, so imagine my thrill when I began reading the story of Katherine Sedley, James II' mistress.  I never really heard much about her until now and I'm glad to say that this novel added another dimension to what I already knew about this grand court.

Katherine Sedley was no regular lady (especially by 17th c standards!) Not only did she not fit in in terms of beauty (too thin and rather homely for the times), she also spoke what was on her (witty) mind- and what came out was usually accompanied by swearing! Yet, she was of the nobility and her father (a politically involved playwright) was in Charles II's immediate circle...making Katherine by no means an ordinary or invisible lady.

Against her father's will, she refused to be bound in marriage and had no real aspirations for love (having been disillusioned and often mocked for her meager looks). How could she ever expect The Duke of York- future King James II to fall madly in love with her?  Impossible- yet true! The poor Catholic King-to-be was completely mesmerized by this Protestant temptress. The powerful counsel of Catholic priests strongly advised James against this temptation; all the while making Katherine all the more seductive to his eyes...The King could in no way abstain from Katherine's lure.

Yet, Katherine Sedley was not the type to make demands on James- nor did she ever assume to be granted any favouritism by others- nor did she allude to the sort of grandiosity that other Grand mistresses (such as Louise de Keroualle- King Charles' favourite)...with Katherine it was always 'what you see is what you get'.  Her love for James was real and she stood tall in her convictions and loyalty to England.  A doting mother, a loving companion (lusty too- but written in such good taste!), Katherine remained steadfast to her English pride  and would not be swayed from her own religion.  Convinced that James was being brain-washed by his priests (her own mother's experience could not shake Katherine's conviction or disdain about this)-despite this, she never attempted to convert him to her own beliefs (but neither he, to his).

A tempestuous political time where Catholics and Protestants fought for idealism and restoration in England- the Countess and The King is a delicious read for anyone interested not only in the love story itself, but also in the politics and religious conflicts of the times.

I must say that this is a superb novel which will leave you completely satisfied in terms of history, historical figures in accurate detail, love story, entertainment (you've never met such an outspoken character as Katherine Sedley!) splendour of the court, perceptions and deceptions and- ultimately,  the sadness that eventually befalls this type of love that is never quite meant to be.

I LOVED this book.

Note: You should also read French Mistress by Susan Holloway Scott; which is the story of Charles II's last mistress- I LOVED that one too.  You can read my review here.
Next one up for me is:  Duchess: A Novel of Sarah Churchill- Can't wait! 

To read more of what is happening for this Grand Susan Holloway Scott Event go to:  HFBRT Calendar here

To Win a copy of The Countess and The King you must be a FOLLOWER of my blog.

 - Please leave a comment with your email address
-   EXTRA CHANCE, everytime you tweet, FB, or Blog about this. (come back and leave the link so that I can count your extra chance)
OPEN TO CANADA AND US ONLY- Ends September 18th
Good Luck!!!


Linda said...

Restoration England is a favorite setting. I'm excited about this novel. Thanks for the giveaway, and I am a follower through Google Reader.

brokenteepee said...

Thanks for the giveaway.
I follow
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Lizzie said...

Right on Lucy you know I love anything with Charles II too. I want to read Sarah Church one next too. Great review!

brokenteepee said...

thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Sounds like a great read, Ms Lucy. You have so much talent for historical research!

Jessica said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
I'm a follower

j.brol at

Roberta said...

Hey Lucy...trying to leave comments and it's not cooperating ;)
Lovely post and review and I'd love to win another one of Susan's books.
Fondly, Roberta

Menagerie Soaps said...

I'm a follower and I'd love a chance to win this book.
Thank you!

lisa.2713 @

Roberta said... it's working ;)
Here's my blog post with your giveaway links:

Roberta said...

Here's my facebook post:!/profile.php?id=1222723325

Roberta said...

AND finally here is my TWEET:
Don't do much tweeting but I'm trying ;)
Have a wonderful week, fondly, Roberta

debbie said...

I am a gfc follower. This book sounds really good. It doesn't sound like the typical romance, I am glad that it is a accurate historical novel.
I would love to read it.

Cortney said...

I've heard nothing but good things about this book, I'd love to win it.

Ashley said...

She sounds like a character I will love.

hewella1 at gmail dot com

Shannon said...

Thank you for including me. =)
tiredwkids at live dot com

Rachel said...

I'd love to read this! I'm a follower and thanks for the giveaway!

Martha Lawson said...

Never read a book by her!!I must say tho that this one looks excellent. I'd love to be entered to win.

I follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

BurtonReview said...

Another wonderful review from Lucy! Always nice to see that you have enjoyed a book so much, from all the RT reviews it looks like this one is worth picking up!

Jen said...

Sounds like a fascinating read. I'm a follower. Please enter me for the giveaway. Thanks!


Fokxxy said...

I am a new follower and would love to be entered.


4everQueen said...

I am a follower and excited for a chance to win Susan's novel. I love her witty style, and will be a chance to read more of James rather than the lovely Charles II.

nunezbella at hotmail dotcom

Amy said...

Ooohhh please enter me! I am a loyal follower!

tiger_fan_1997 AT yahoo DOT com

4everQueen said...

+1 Here is my extra entry - I just blogged about it! Thank you!!

nunezbella at hotmail dotcom

Marg said...

I read this last week and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Duchess is the last one I will have to read - then what will I do! Have to wait impatiently for the next Susan Holloway Scott!

No need to enter me into the draw.

Kaitlyn Devin and Grace said...

I'm a follower!


Terry said...

This sounds like a wonderful read. I would love to win a copy of this book. I don't know much about this time period and would like to learn more. I am a follower.

tmrtini at gmail dot com

Passages to the Past said...

No need to enter me in the giveaway, I just wanted to say that that was a fantastic review Lucy! I had a sneaky suspicion you would love it as much as I did. Susan is a remarkable writer!

Hope all is well with you, miss you :(

Audra said...

Soooooooooooo desperately excited for this one; your review only has me more frantic! :) I'd love to be entered in the giveaway; I blogged about it here. Thank you!

thesibylqueen at

Amanda said...

Please enter me! I really want to win this one. Thank you! I am a follower too. Thanks!


libraryofmyown at gmail dot com

Cortney said...

I don't know how I missed this post earlier! I'm glad I found it in time for the giveaway still- Ihave heard great things about this book from you and some other HF fans. I'd love a chance to win it!

Theresa Bruno said...

I enjoy reading about Restoration England as well. It's to bad I missed the deadline. I will have to return! Great Reviews!