Set in Dublin, December 1799. Lady Anna Blacknall had not seen Conlan McTeer, the Duke of Adair, in about two years. During those fearsome days of the Uprising, Anna had been on the run with her family, and Conlan had been intent on his own unknown, dangerous mission. Anna still has occasional nightmares about that horrible time, but now she is the daughter of Protestant aristocracy and the toast of the Society Season. In need of a bit of excitement, Anna had convinced her widowed friend, Lady Jane Cannondale, to take her as a guest into Dublin's most notorious den of vice, the Olympian Club. Coming face-to-face with Conlan manages to strip away Anna's decorum.
Conlan McTeer has come to Dublin to fight for a free Ireland. All anyone is talking about are the Union debates in Parliament. Those Union debates are what have Conlan's life in danger, because he works for those who oppose it. There are many who would do anything to stop Conlan's interference. Should his enemies notice Conlan's interest of Anna, danger would find its way to her door. Should anything happen to the lady, Conlan would never forgive himself.
None would enjoy seeing Conlan fail more than Sir Grant Dunmore. Grant is Conlan's cousin and most bitter enemy. Years ago Grant had tried to use the old Penal Laws (that allowed a Protestant to claim a Catholic relative's property) to gain Adair Court. But Conlan's ancient title had saved his ducal estate, which his family has held on to for centuries. The suit had tore the Irish branch of the family from the English once and for all. Grant plans to wed Anna, who would be the perfect Society wife to further his ambitions.
Anna must quickly decide whether to be safe and wed Grant or risk all for the wild Irishman she loves.
**** FOUR STARS! In the first title, Countess of Scandal, I was treated to Eliza's story, Anna's older sister. I was happy to notice that the author, Laurel McKee, let me know how Eliza was fairing by including a letter written to Anna and the family. This made the story just a bit more real to me, yet it did not distract from Anna's spotlight. Each title of this trilogy is a stand-alone story, so if you have not read the previous title, you will still fully enjoy all aspects of the plot, characters, and family innuendoes. I love it when authors write their trilogies this way.
My attention was immediately captured, on the first page, with Anna getting ready to enter a forbidden and potentially dangerous club. This turned out to be only the beginning of my infatuation with Anna's strong-willed character. However, though the danger toward Anna was hinted of often, it did not actually come about until way past the story's middle. Up until then, only the danger from years before was mentioned. I never felt as though Anna were in any clear and present danger; therefore, I was not kept on the edge of my seat throughout the entire story. This is not to say that I was not entertained. I was!
To me, the best thing about Anna's story was that the author kept all of the historical facts accurate. I have found that if the events and strife of a time period are altered, it would cause the story to seem flat and unbelievable. McKee created engaging characters with well developed backgrounds, gave them political, as well as personal problems, and then slipped them all into the country's history with ease. A profound tale of romance and courage that I happily recommend. ****