Prologue: Go here.
Reviews of all the books in this series: Go here.
I had read one of Madeline Hunter’s novel a while ago. However, I could not connect to the story as it was period setting that was located in 1800s England. It was a little difficult to connect to the characters, their wardrobe and the terms used from olde English. So, I did not pick up another book of hers after.
However, last year I had an opportunity to meet her in-person when she came to the Romance Writer’s of America’s annual conference in New York City. She was very charming and cheerful. I picked up a signed copy of her then latest novel, His Wicked Reputation, only because she was so enjoyable to speak to. Since I bought it I ended up reading it as well (I don’t normally keep any books in my home, if I had not want to read them). Here is a pic of me with her.
His Wicked Reputation was the first book in The Wicked Trilogy, another historical romance novel. The story revolves around the bastard son of the late Duke of Aylesbury (Lance, Percy and Ives father before Percy became Duke of Aylesbury), Gareth Fitzallen and Eva Russell, a spinster with precarious finances. Gareth comes to Albany Lodge, a residence his dead half-brother Percy was fighting it out, to finally take ownership of the place that was his due. However, he encounters with the pretty Eva Russell who intrigues him more than any other woman he had known. Gareth’s reputation as “Wicked” made Eva determined not to fall for his charm which did not deter Gareth from trying to have her and eventually own her. Eva had set her mind in getting her sister married well sacrificing her life, but never had she imagined that she would be the object of Gareth’s fascination.
In the midst of this tug-of-war romance, Gareth and Eva get embroiled in a conspiracy of lost / stolen paintings worth quite a sum. Lance and Ives, Gareth’s half-brothers, legal sons of late Aylesbury, combine forces with Gareth to get to the bottom of this mystery. In the process, Gareth wins over Eva too, in love, in bed, in hardships and in marriage. However, how much deep was Eva involved in the conspiracy? How much does Gareth know and can forgive? How much will the current Duke of Aylesbury, Lance, willing to look aside knowing Gareth’s interest in Eva? How can Ives, the barrister, save the family as well as their legacy? The plot thickens as the story proceeds answering all these questions neatly tied up in the end like a bow.
There is a sub-plot that follows through the story too. The rumor was that Lance, the current Duke of Aylesbury, killed his brother Percy, for the position and title. Lance suffers all kinds of humiliating questions as well as critical comments. Yet, he does not deny the rumor. So, did he really kill Percy? That question perhaps will get answered when Lance tells his story in one of the sequel books.
As I mentioned before, this time around too I had a bit difficulty in connecting to the terms, characters, setting and details. However, this time I googled a lot to understand the significant ones. That put me back on to the intrigue train and rode me through till the end. By the time I was finished with it, I was ready to pick up the sequel as well as a few other books written by her.
If you are interested in romance novels and set in periods / eras, then this is definitely the book to go to. However, just like how I got bored the first time around it might if you cannot connect to the essence. Enjoyable read, so give it a try!
Stars: 3.5 / 5