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Long's Notorious Countess Confesses
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Pop Tart



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 126

PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:37 pm    Post subject: Long's Notorious Countess Confesses Reply with quote

Just wanted to say that I loved this one as well and Blythe if you want to try another of Julie Anne Long's books, I'd suggest WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE. It was my first Long book and after reading it and loving it I went on to read some of her other Pennyroyal books. None quite matched it until NOTORIOUS COUNTESS.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1691

PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warning: What I Did For a Duke is a May-December type of relationship (the hero is almost twice the age of the heroine). That doesn't mean it's a bad book, but it can be a turnoff for some. I know it prevented me from believing in the HEA.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 568
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am so looking forward to reading A Notorious Countess Confesses. Thanks for posting! Julie Anne Long has become probably my favorite historical romance writer. I love too the cover of her new book - very stunning. What I Did for a Duke is probably also my favorite of hers, though so many of the Pennyroyal Green books are wonderful. It is true that the hero, Alex, is older than the heroine, as he's in his late 30s and she's in her early 20s. Alex, however, doesn't seem very old to me and someone in their 30s doesn't either Smile Genevieve also struck me as unusually astute and observant about her world and a bit unconventional compared to the women that surround her in this novel. Harry, her childhood friend and beloved, struck me as improbably immature compared to Genevieve and so I was satisfied that the ending was the appropriate one for these two very interesting characters.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I have a litmus test regarding age: would I want my daughter/sister/niece/friend marry a man who could be her father? Erm... no. Sure, it happens even these days, but I just can't find this romantic, even when the writing is obviously good.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 568
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is true that Long decides on an age gap though I think that if she really wanted to construct a May-December romance she could have had Alex in his forties or even fifties and made the age the issue here. Modern audiences today wouldn't bat much of an eye at the notion of a young twenty something girl marrying a middle-aged, wealthy and powerful man. Alex's age of 38, however, is just old enough that he's lived a life, even tragic at times, and Genevieve is worldly but in a bookish and intuitive way, so she has some maturing to do in a real-world sense. Alex benefits from her more innocent and untroubled perspectives as he's clearly world-wearing and cynical at the point he meets her. So, in the end, the 16 or 17 year age difference is an important factor but for me doesn't preclude a reasonable or fitting chance at love for them.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1691

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blackjack1 wrote:
It is true that Long decides on an age gap though I think that if she really wanted to construct a May-December romance she could have had Alex in his forties or even fifties and made the age the issue here.


16 years difference is definitely May-December romance in book.

Quote:
Modern audiences today wouldn't bat much of an eye at the notion of a young twenty something girl marrying a middle-aged, wealthy and powerful man.


In a romance? I know I would. That's why I stopped reading standard Harlequins many years ago. When I was 15, reading about 18-years olds marrying some tycoon twice their age was just icky to me. And still is. I actually don't mind older characters, as long as they're matched appropriately.

Quote:
Alex's age of 38, however, is just old enough that he's lived a life, even tragic at times,


By the regency standards, he was probably considered middle-aged. Also, by the time she hits the peak of her sexuality in her 30s, will he be able to keep up with her? Remember: no V-pill in those days (and this is just one of the major issues related to the age-gap).

Quote:
and Genevieve is worldly but in a bookish and intuitive way, so she has some maturing to do in a real-world sense. Alex benefits from her more innocent and untroubled perspectives as he's clearly world-wearing and cynical at the point he meets her. So, in the end, the 16 or 17 year age difference is an important factor but for me doesn't preclude a reasonable or fitting chance at love for them.


Honestly, the whole story was pretty much about an introduction of the young girl to the pleasures of love. If it was contemporary, you'd think: "Great, now move on and use your experience with someone closer to her age". But since it's a historical, they just have to get married even if it doesn't seem to be more than infatuation on the heroine's part.
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Pop Tart



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Honestly, the whole story was pretty much about an introduction of the young girl to the pleasures of love. If it was contemporary, you'd think: "Great, now move on and use your experience with someone closer to her age". But since it's a historical, they just have to get married even if it doesn't seem to be more than infatuation on the heroine's part.


I didn't read it this way at all. There's a lot more to Alex and Genevieve's relationship then sex. And the only infatuation I saw was the one she had for her childhood love, Harry. What she found in Alex was someone who could truly match wits with her, someone who had loved and could love again, and someone who was willing to put her first. When Genevieve asked Alex about his relationship with his first wife and he said something like "my greatest joy in life was seeing her happy and keeping her safe" it said something about how him. And he proved it with Genevieve when he was willing to let her go and be with Harry if that's what she wanted, even made it so that she would still have the house she loved.

Their ages didn't make one bit of difference for me. Could be because my own mother died when I was young and when my dad remarried the woman who became my mom was quite a bit younger then he. Made no difference in their relationship.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
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Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I have a slightly different perspective on the age question. Would a man be sexually active in his mid to late forties? I would surmise that the answer is yes and that a 30 something and 40 something couple could be sexually compatible. Men in their thirties in the 19th-century were not considered that old. I found the main thematic issue in What I Did For a Duke, however, not to be about a number, in that his 38 years and her 20-something years is the summation of the issue. Instead, the story seems to me to be about whether two people from different experiential perspectives can find a way to bridge their differences. In the case of this novel, I found it quite successful. More so though I found their differences to be complimentary to each other and came away feeling that these two characters would enhance each others' lives. I'm wondering if Long's new novel attempts something similar in that we have a minister and a courtesan, which could be a "deal breaker" for some readers just on the surface. I can't wait to find out and suspect she succeeds here too given preliminary reviews. I find Long very interesting as a writer because she does like to take these challenging obstacles between people and make the reader think more deeply on the issues.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still waiting for someone to say they'd be totally fine with their daughter marrying a guy 18 years older Laughing
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
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Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Natalie - I think I have been clear on my opinion on this issue, which is that I would want anyone, daughter or otherwise, to find someone with whom s/he was compatible and loved. Age is but one factor among many, and not necessarily the most important, particularly in the case of Long's book where the age difference is not that great.

But speaking of parental wishes, in What I Did For a Duke, I found it very interesting that Genevieve's parents are actually inserted into the story at the end when she makes her ultimate choice between the two men. I don't want to give away the details of their feelings on the matter for those who haven't read it, but I think it's important in the book in terms of how we are meant to feel about the resolution of what's best for Genevieve. In a novel in which the parents were present virtually in name only, I found their involvement interesting.
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texasriddler



Joined: 01 May 2011
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My beautiful, well-adjusted, and talented daughter is married to a man 22 years older than she is. They have been happily married for 6 years. Did I rant and rave about it? Yes...in private. Did her dad and I think it was the best possible scenario for her? Probably not. Early on in their marriage, I was talking with a close friend who said, "Well, if she only gets 20 good years, that's way more than a lot of women get." It kinda helped my perspective.

P.S. It does help that her husband only looks about 10 years older.
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desiderata



Joined: 23 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My best friend married a guy 15 years older when she was 21. They have been happily married for 25 years now. It's not common, but it does happen. All because you can't imagine it doesn't mean there aren't couples for whom it works.

In What I Did for a Duke, I totally believed in the hea because the chemistry and compatibility between the h/h were so vibrant and believable. I don't know about sexual drives down the road, but the way the story was written there was a lot more going on between that couple than just sex. Their connection was soul deep.
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Pop Tart



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Still waiting for someone to say they'd be totally fine with their daughter marrying a guy 18 years older


I'm not sure why it matters frankly. I understand it's a deal-breaker for you, but it's not for me. I wouldn't want my 20-something daughter to marry a 1000 year old dragon, and yet I loved Thea Harrison's DRAGON BOUND. I believed in Pia and Dragos relationship though it is May/December to the nth degree.

And though I'm using an exaggerated example with Pia and Dragos, if my daughter told me that she was in love with a man who was 18 years older then her, sure I'd be leery. But if I met him and saw them together and thought that they knew what they were doing, I certainly wouldn't do anything to stop it. It can work, and if it doesn't then it doesn't.

And to address a sort of secondary point you suggest: though I like my romances to have happy endings, I don't expect that the couples will never experience difficulties as they live their lives. I totally believe that Genevieve and Alex will make it as a couple. I believed they matched each other and that they truly loved. But if I try to imagine their lives over the next 20, 30 years I don't see happy, happy, every minute. I'd envision difficulties, who knows what, but ones that they'd make their way through as a couple who loved and cared about each other would.
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anwoodward



Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Natalie wrote:
Still waiting for someone to say they'd be totally fine with their daughter marrying a guy 18 years older Laughing


Mine had reservations, but we've been married 10 years now so things seem to be OK. ^_^
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1691

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To those who responded to me:

First of all, I never assume the age difference must a dealbreaker for absolutely everyone. But I know it _is_ for some, so I wanted to provide a warning. I know I would have avoided if I'd know about that in advance.

Second, I have seen May-December couples doing fine, so I have no trouble imagining it. I've even met older guys who looked younger than their biological age and were attractive - but I intentionally avoided this situation, building a relationship is already hard enough, thank you very much.

But when it comes to romance, I read it for escape, I don't want to dwell on the implications of the age difference for the HEA. I'm already willing to overlook a lot of things in my romance reading, at least I can avoid this one.

Beside, I might be mistaken (been a while since I read the book) but I don't remember the age issue even being explored that much. Really, what would have changed if the hero was 10 years younger? The plot and the character development would have been pretty much the same (although it wouldn't have helped lukewarm chemistry, but that's another story).
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