Are you poor? Shame on you.

An Unlikely Countess - Jo Beverley

It’s somewhere in between 2.5 stars and 3 stars, but I am feeling generous. The book is not bad. It just isn’t good. It’s an average romance, set in the second part of the 18th century, England.

What irked me most was the protagonists’ perennial concern about money, clothing, and general lifestyle. The heroine Prudence’s driving force is to get away from her poverty. She is ashamed of being poor. She is ashamed of her shabby clothing and her uneducated neighbors. She wants funds, a house of her own, but she isn’t ready to fight and bite and disregard conventions, like Scarlett O’Hara was. Instead, Prudence is mostly whining and cringing. I didn’t like her.

I did like the hero Cate, but even his rough charm couldn’t save this book. Like Prudence, Cate is concerned about his new wife’s clothing and hairdo, as if they were the most important facets of her. Both also concentrate on social class distinctions, and how everyone should stay inside his or her own social circle. The message seems to be: don’t aspire to climb the social ladder, to mix with your betters, or else... Yikes. No.