Review: The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

countessconspThe Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan (Brothers Sinisters #3)
Released: December 16, 2013
Historical Romance
Self Published

Reviewed by May

So long as she stayed still, nobody would discover the truth.

Right now, Sebastian glared at her – utterly livid as if he were about to take a hatchet to that log. To expose its rotten core to the world, to show them that inside, Violet was a dark, awful, filthy thing, infested by many-legged creatures. If he spoke one more word, everyone would know.

This book is a part of the Brothers Sinister series, however it stands completely alone and no knowledge of the past books is needed. In fact, Violet and Sebastian shine so brightly in this story that I had a hard time recalling what was interesting about our previous heroes.

Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Let me back up and explain that Violet is a brilliant scientist who has lived a very painful life. The one bright spot is that she is able to spend countless hours with her long time best friend Sebastian and that her work is seen and respected by many because Sebastian presents it as his own. That is right, he works with her and then presents the work as his because nobody would listen if a mere woman be presenting the outrageous material on genetics and inherited traits and so forth.

As this book begins though, Sebastian has had enough. He’s tired of pretending. Tired of everyone thinking him a total fool. Exhausted from the act and from being so totally in love with Violet without her ever returning any romantic sentiment whatsoever. In short, he wants some drastic changes made in his life and he refuses to act like Violet’s ideas are his own for even one more day.

“You know the secret of me. Is that what you’re saying?”

“No,” he said. “I don’t think you have a secret. It’s like you were made by some fiend of a blacksmith. You’re a puzzle without a solution. There is no way to undo you. All I can do is learn to avoid the razors.”

She breathed out slowly and picked up her pen. “Yes,” she said softly. “That’s me. Good for nothing but cutting. Made by an insane blacksmith.”

These characters do not have an easy journey, and Milan does not cut corners when it comes to the emotional pain and suffering they have to endure to find their chance at true happiness. I struggle with the words to use to praise this book, because it is quite simply, perfection.

Nobody ever saw her. She made everything happen, and still she remained invisible even to the people she loved the most. Every slight that had ever been laid on him, she’d felt three hundredfold. He was beyond furious.

With every page, sentence, and word in this book the author crafts a tale so rich, so beautifully woven and satisfying that no mere words of my own could do it justice. As the story progresses details about the past, about events that have shaped these two characters and people who effected them greatly are revealed. Violet and Sebastian both have their views expanded, and the possibility of what life could now be like, what they could possibly hope for blossom and grow ever so delicately.

Delicate is a good word for this story, as with each scene Milan first tears down what was, then builds back up what might be.

“Flowers only grow thorns because they need them to survive.” He smiled. “Look at what she’s managed, having to hide who she is. We can argue and argue and argue, for as long as we like. But in the end, thorns or no thorn, Violet is what she is.”

“Sebastian!” The call came from the pantry. “We need you.”

“And who are you?” Oliver asked.

He gave his friend’s arm a squeeze. “I’m the one she needs.”

Powerful is another word, as she shows how the actions of people around these characters, as well as the main characters themselves effect everyone. How this couple while so very close for so many years really didn’t know each other as well as they assumed and how much could be hidden.

Each and every supporting role in this story from Sebastian’s brother to Violet’s mother is beautifully handled as well. These characters are not on the page to fill space or set something up – they all become a part of this story so perfectly woven. That is really what impressed me the most. It is so clear that Milan took the time to think out every aspect of the story and the development of the characters so that it grows, builds, and is made complete in such a way that it is a brilliant reading experience.

In short, this book defines everything I love about romance novels. It is beautifully written, and I have not even the smallest of criticisms for this may be my favorite Milan novel of all time.

Grade: A+

More Courtney Milan Reviews

Goodreads l Author Website l Series Guide (all stand alones)

Kindle l Nook


  1. pamelia says

    Loved this one too! Some of Milan’s other books (which I also enjoyed) had a more cerebral feel to them, but this one made me feel all the FEELZ while still being well-crafted and purposeful.

  2. says

    I’ve just moved this book up to the top of my TBR pile. Thanks May.

    As of this past weekend I’m taking a looong break from all dark, twisted, violent, intense story-lines be they contemporaries with tattooed leads, or YA/NA or suspense or urban fantasy or straight PNR. I’ve hit my limit with all the threats of violence and the real violence in these stories. The rapes and near-rapes. The war and/or threat of war. The post-apocalyptic despair. Usually I can eat this stuff up because I love to see how leads surmount challenges and refuse to lose hope.

    But, damn, maybe it’s the cold winter weather or the combination of KA and other gritty writers I’ve been reading recently, but I’m in HUGE need of humor and romance without the end-of-your-life-as-you-know-it threats.

  3. lindsayb says

    This is one of my top three for the year. Such a fantastic book. I identified with the heroine and her medical issues. My public service announcement, while trying to not spoil anything, is that if a woman faces that issue she should be tested for various hypocoagulation disorders like MTHFR and Factor 5, since they are treatable.

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