Guest Post, Review and Giveaway ~ Leigh LaValle ~ The Runaway Countess

Today, Leigh LaValle is stopping by Forever Book Lover. She asked if I would be interested in reading her debut book, The Runaway Countess and stopping over for a guest post. I agreed to both!!  Once I read the book and saw the topic of her guest post, I knew it was going to be a fun post!  Enjoy Everyone! 

Oh, I almost forgot because I was so excited, Leigh is offering an ebook of The Runaway Countess, you are going to want to enter to win this one, the book is great!!! See Giveaway below..

Thanks for having me here at Forever Book Lover, Kat. I’m excited to chat with you all about a topic I particularly enjoy- the legend of Robin Hood! What book lover doesn’t appreciate a sexy hero who fights for the common man; who is skilled at archery, swordplay and disguise; AND who is a hot lover to his woman, Maid Marian?

Tales of Robin Hood date back to the 13th century. The origins of the legend are greatly debated. Some historians are certain Robin Hood is a mythical figure, while others are convinced he was a real person. Scholars point to different outlaws in history, from yeoman to aristocrats, as being the real Robin Hood. Whether fact or fiction, Robin Hood is a character who has captured our imagination for eight hundred years.

I love the Robin Hood legend so much that I chose it as a theme for my Regency debut, THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS. I decided to give myself a challenge while writing this book, however, and I don’t retell the story exactly as we are familiar. Oh, there is a character who ‘steals from the rich to give to the poor’. But, rather than making Robin Hood the focus of this tale, I chose the evil Sherriff of Nottingham as my sexy hero.

At first, it really was a challenge to make the legendary bad guy into hero material. As the book opens, Trent (our hero) is determined to end the lawlessness plaguing his county. He takes the heroine (an accomplice to the famous outlaw) into custody and threatens her with all kinds of terrible things. But, whew, he is hot. And determined. Over the course of the book, I really fell in love with him. Trent is the twelfth Earl of Radford and the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. He has always taken pride in his heritage and played by the rules. Alas, the poor man learns some painful secrets about his past and has to rethink his entire outlook on the world. By the end of the story, I was surprised to find myself really rooting for him. I mean, of course writers want to love and care for their characters. But I’m a wild and independent soul, I wasn’t expecting to slip over to the side of the law. Who sides with the Sherriff of Nottingham? In my retelling, I try to show that both the Sherriff and Robin Hood have sympathetic motivations for their actions. I hope readers will be cheering for Trent’s Happily Ever After at the end.

The heroine, on the other hand, has our sympathy from the start. Mazie wants to protect the outlaw, and has the good of the people at heart. She is fierce and courageous, even in the face of her fear. As I wrote further into the book, I discovered I wanted something else from her. Something deeper than breaking the law, no matter how valiant her motives. Personally, I have always been a social activist and haven’t had the greatest record with following all the rules. Mazie was a girl written after my own heart. What more did I want from her? Certainly, I wanted to honor the unique strength of her spirit. As I celebrated her Happily Ever After, I discovered that sometimes it takes more courage to follow the rules than it does to break them.

What about the Robin Hood figure in my book? He is dashing and handsome and a touch impetuous. Even though he is not the hero of this story, he is still a character we can sigh over and root for. As he should be-he is a version of the loveable and sexy Robin Hood, after all.

What about you, Dear Reader? Do you love the Robin Hood myth? Which part of his character do you appreciate the most?

One lucky reader who comments on this blog will be randomly selected to win a digital copy of The Runaway Countess. Good luck!

The Runaway Countess
By Leigh LaValle
Publisher: Samhain
Published Date: March 6th 2012
ISBN: 1609287681 (ISBN13: 9781609287689)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Samhain Publishing |
Her heart longs for justice, but her body clamors for sin.

Once the darling of high society, Mazie Chetwyn knows firsthand how quickly the rich and powerful turn their backs on the less fortunate. Orphaned, penniless and determined to defy their ruthless whims, she joins forces with a local highwayman who steals from the rich to give to the poor.

Then the pawn broker snitches, and Mazie is captured by the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. A man who is far too handsome, far too observant…and surely as corrupt as his father once was.

Sensible, rule-driven Trent Carthwick, twelfth Earl of Radford, is certain the threat of the gallows will prompt the villagers’ beloved Angel of Kindness to reveal the highwayman’s identity. But his bewitching captive volunteers nothing—except a sultry, bewildering kiss.

And so the games begin. Trent feints, Mazie parries. He threatens, she pretends nonchalance. He cajoles, she rebuffs. Thwarted at every turn, Trent probes deep into her one vulnerability—her past. There he finds the leverage he needs and a searing truth that challenges all he believes about right and wrong.
I have to confess, I love Robin Hood, so it was no big surprise that this book appealed to me so much. There was so many things I loved about this book, I especially loved that the hero and heroine spend most of the novel together, I didn’t have to go skimming around the book to find out when they would met again. The author kept the focus on these two characters and kept the reader enthralled in their romance.

The hero, Trent was having to deal with secrets, lies and deceit, and this was all within his own family! Nothing was, as it seems, no one was who they professed to be. He was struggling to make the right decision, either forsake his father and family name or stand up for what was the right thing for the villagers, his tenants. He could protect his family’s name and hide the corruption, but that would make him no better than his father. But Trent knew he couldn’t change the past, he could only shape the future.

And, as if that wasn't enough drama, seems our heroine, Mazie finds herself on the wrong end of the law. Thinking that she can give him the information he seeks to find the "Highwayman", Trent takes her into his own custody. The two takes two steps forward, three steps back, a typically cat and mouse game.

Trent and Mazie’s final confrontation was heartbreaking. She pored out her love for him and tried to reason with him that the beauty of the law is in its the spirit of the law not the words themselves.

"I love you, Trent, because your are kind and just. I trust your heart. Not the man you think you need to be, but the man you are." 
Trent was a little hard headed and not open to hear her just yet, he needed time. Time to take it all in, time to come head to head with his father’s fallacy, stand up and be the man he knew he could be and not what was “expected of him.  He finally realized that his beliefs were from what he wanted to see rather than the truth of what was real. 

There's an untold story waiting to be told for Trent's sister, Cat. Ms. LaValle gave us just a glimpse into her life.

Great romance and suspense the entire book. I was totally drawn in from the beginning and couldn't put it down. Ms. LaValle did an excellent job building up the tension between Trent and Mazie and she didn’t let this reader down when they finally acted on their passion, seriously, if you want to read something totally hot and steamy, this is your book.

I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
Leigh LaValle lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. 
When she is not writing, mommying, or reading, she is rarely seen cleaning. More often she is found hiking or, when she is really lucky, in the white powder of the ski slopes. She holds an honors degree in English Literature and is a devoted yoga practitioner and instructor.

Leigh will be giving away an eBook copy of The Runaway Countess to 1 lucky person. Please make sure  to fill out the Rafflecopter form. You must leave a comment answering Leigh's question for your chance to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Leigh LaValle said... Best Blogger Tips

Good morning Cat! Thanks for having me here!

Leigh LaValle said... Best Blogger Tips

I mean Kat! lol. I am currently working on Lady Catherine, Cat's, story, so the name is on my fingertips :)

Kat ~ Forever Book Lover ♥ said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for stopping by Leigh, I was hoping that Cat's story would finally be told.. you gave us just a snippet into her life and I wanted more.. :)

Reading said... Best Blogger Tips

I do like the robin hood character, he's so brave!

I think that people today need to be inspired by him and fight for what they think it's right!

Thank you for the giveaway, Leigh!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Lovely interview ! a wonderful story with two very likable characters and I like the cover .... Best of luck to Leigh LaValle !!!

Leigh LaValle said... Best Blogger Tips


Hi Reading- I think Robin Hood is a great hero for today! I was just working at the library and there was a reenactment of a play, then a discussion about 'Where are today's heroes and heroines in pop culture.'

Thanks for saying hi!

Leigh LaValle said... Best Blogger Tips


Hi Black Tulip- I like your name :) Thanks for the cover love, I can't say I had too much to do with it other than suggesting the color. It is exciting to see my first book released!

kerry said... Best Blogger Tips

I love the idea of the hero being a bit bad

Leigh LaValle said... Best Blogger Tips

Kerry- I love bad boy heroes too! I have to say, in this book, the hero is a 'play by the rules' kinda guy. But, he has his bad moments, and he thoroughly enjoys them :)

June M. said... Best Blogger Tips

I do love the Robin Hood legend. I like that he helped others who needed assistance and who fought for what he thought was right, and that he was a bit of a bad boy.

Leigh LaValle said... Best Blogger Tips

@June M.
Hi June- Nice to see you again :) I so want to talk about my Robin Hood character but I don't want to give away any spoilers!

I like what you said- how could one go wrong with a good boy who is also a bad boy?

Lisa Wolff said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, yay Cat is going to get her story! :) Lovely interview! I've always liked that Robin Hood gives back to those who needs it the most. That seems to get lost in today's society sometimes...

ShotgunGuyIsCool said... Best Blogger Tips

Robin Hood is a hero! And who doesn't love a hero??

Na said... Best Blogger Tips

Robin Hood is a hero I can root on. He does bad but for a good cause.

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