Title: The Trouble with Being Wicked
Author: Emma Locke
Format: Paperback and eBook
Publisher: Intrepid Reads
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Naughty Girls, # 1
Best Read in Order: yes
Purchase Now: Amazon § Barnes & Noble
About the Book:
HE PUT HER ON A PEDESTAL…
When Celeste Gray arrives in the sleepy village of Brixcombe-on-the-Bay, she thinks she’s one step closer to leaving her notorious past behind. She even suspects the deliciously handsome—if somewhat stuffy—viscount next door is developing a tendre for her. That is, until the day Ashlin Lancester learns she’s not the unassuming spinster she’s pretending to be.
NOW SHE HAS FARTHER TO FALL
After a decade of proving he is nothing like his profligate father, Ash is horrified to have given his heart to a Cyprian. He launches a campaign to prove his attraction is nothing more than a sordid reaction he can’t control. But he soon learns that unlike his father, he can’t find comfort in the arms of just any woman. He needs Celeste. When he takes her as his mistress, he’s still not satisfied, and the many late nights in her arms only make him want more…
After starting a bit slowly as we are getting to know Celeste and Elizabeth as they have set out to start a new life, free from notoriety in the country far from London. These two former courtesans to the ton of London society have chucked it all in and are looking to become the new doyennes of the social set in the Devon countryside.
Celeste is delightful with a sense of seeing things from a slightly jaded eye, although she still manages to, despite her past; keep a sense of hopefulness and belief in love and family. The revelations of the realities of those situations, far from rose-tinted and as perfect as she had dreamed provide many interesting asides from her point of view.
Of course, there has to be a man: and he arrives in all of his ‘stuffed shirt propriety’ in the form of Ashlin Lancester, Viscount. Ash is a good man, far less ‘stuffy’ than he appears, after being thrust into the role of master of the house and guardian of his two younger, marriageable aged sisters when his family was destroyed in a scandal caused by his father’s profligate and spendthrift ways.
From here, the story takes off to become a delicate waltz. Since it is set away from the flurry of action that accompany the London social scene, characters need to (and do) stand wholly on their own and drive the storyline forward as the relationship between Ash and Celeste grows.
With a cast of secondary characters that are delightfully different from the constraint one would expect, we are treated to the source of Ash’s worries: his sisters. One who refuses to attend the required season to find a husband, the other already professing love for a local boy, and refusing to take her brother’s no for an answer. Delilah and Lucy are treated like spoiled children without a clue by their brother and guardian, but both are solid and intelligent young women with clear plans for their own futures: with or without his permission and acceptance. This could, and does, jeopardize Ash’s chances for a happy union: and their lack of foresight into the difficulties their behavior could cause him was my only difficulty with the two.
While this is not a “grab you by the ears” and demand you read it in one sitting, this book is a great read with characters that both drive the story and infiltrate your senses. As the start of a series from a debut author, this is a good and fun read that will leave you curious for more. Described and detailed with care, incorporating the often ridiculous (to modern eyes) mores and restrictions of the age, and written with a sense that the author truly enjoyed each character – you will want to read this book and series.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.