Synopsis: Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress's cousin, easily the least proper woman he's ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble...
Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had. Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke...while Thomas discovers there's a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.
Whenever I hear Miranda Neville has a new release coming out, I want to do the Snoopy Dance. She’s one of my all time favorite historical romance authors. Every single one of her books I’ve read have been extremely enjoyable, and for the most part her books end up on my keeper shelf. Avon has a great thing with Miranda and her latest release, The Important of Being Wicked, the first book in her Wild Quartet series. It’s a big shining star of awesome. The main reason is that Miranda has created an engaging, worldly and simply beautiful, both inside and out heroine with that of the so-called scandalous widow, Caroline Townsend. How I wish more authors of historical romance would write a heroine like Caro. She’s a heroine of the first water, a survivor in a way, who can navigate through society and create her own waves. She also was married to man she loved deeply, and not once does she put down her marriage or her first husband even when she finds love again with the stuffy and self righteous, Thomas, Duke of Castleton. When these two meet, the sparks are explosive, but it takes some time before they can act on them, mainly because of Thomas who plans on courting and marrying Caro’s cousin, the meek Anne. But the moment Thomas and Caro meet, poor Anne becomes a second thought to Thomas because Caro consumes his every waking moment.
Caro has a very positive outlook on life although she barely has two pennies to rub together. She and her husband, Robert eloped when they were far too young and Robert loved spending money. After his death, he left Caro with nothing. Caro is trying her best to keep her head above water, but her friends and acquaintances use her kind nature and basically bleed her dry because they are spendthrifts as well. Plus, Caro is a proud woman who won’t take handouts. Since Caro’s parents disowned her, she has no one to turn to and may have to become the mistress to some snobby rich lord in order to survive. When Thomas finds this out, he takes it upon himself to save Caro, and in turn, their relationship changes drastically. Thomas puts caution to the wind and accepts Caro and her alleged nefarious ways. Now the hardest part is trying to keep his libido for Caro in check because he wants to wait until they’re married to be intimate. But since Caro wants Thomas desperately, and it’s been so long since she’s been with a man, she can’t wait. Caro is very tenacious. Thomas doesn’t stand a chance. As Thomas tries to keep his hands off Caro, some of her first husband’s friends are looking for a unique portrait Caro may or may not have that could be sold for a great deal of money. Thomas trusts Caro, but figures out she’s keeping some secrets. He’ll try his best to have her reveal them to him so they can build a future together without any more unneeded drama.
The Importance of Being Wicked has so much fun going on! We have an experienced heroine with Caro who doesn’t shy away from anything, and a beta type hero with Thomas who seems stuffy, but when Caro gets a hold of him, he lets out his inner hungry beast. Watching Thomas succumb to Caro is wonderful. There are times he walks into certain question situations regarding Caro that would make another man jealous or second guess what’s going on. Thomas listens to Caro’s explanations and accepts them because he trusts her. It’s so refreshing for a change not to have the over the top miscommunication trope found time and again in historical romances. The love scenes are well done and Thomas and Caro have this connection that I couldn’t get enough of. I loved how these two opposites attract and come together.
Any lover of historical romance, including Avon historical romance must read The Importance of Being Wicked. I ate this one up like an ice cream sundae and wanted more. Another winner from Miranda Neville. (Avon)
Final Grade: B+
A few other The Importance of Being Wicked reviews:
Rogues Under the Covers
The Paperback Dolls
The Window Seat
Make sure to stop by later today for a special post from Ernie, Miranda's adorable superstar cat on why everyone should read The Importance of Being Wicked.