ARC Review: The Importance of Being Wicked by Miranda Neville
Author: Miranda Neville
Title: The Importance of Being Wicked
Release: November 27, 2012
Series: The Wild Quartet #1
Source: Edelweiss/ HarperCollins Publishers/Avon Romance
The rules of society don’t apply to Caro and her coterie of bold men and daring women. But when passions flare, even the strongest will surrender to the law of love…
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.
This is the first of a four book series centered around a group of badly behaved late-Georgian art collectors.
I’ve recently read some wonderful new books but I never had an opportunity to read Miranda Neville’s books, so when Edelweiss offered me an ARC I jumped at the opportunity. The Importance of Being Wicked is the first installment in a new series that takes place in Georgian England – one of my favorite historical periods – and introduces a group of aristocratic art lovers and artists, of what was then considered the bohemian set and the first book focuses on Caro Townsend.
Caro married for love, and now finds herself widowed in penury. She is considered quite fast by society, though still on the “in” side, and has been cut off from her family. She is also the hostess with the mostest to her group of artsy friends – friends that never seem to have money, and are never able to contribute to her many, many parties.
Now Caro is in trouble – her husband’s many debts keep coming back to haunt her and if she doesn’t find the money soon she will be forced to resort to selling…well, you know.
The Duke of Castleton (Thomas) is the perfect duke; responsible, conscientious a bit staid – and knows that he wants the same in his wife. He meets Caro when he visits her house to meet her niece – a heiress he hopes to marry. But of course, when they meet – its lust at first sight.
Ok, so first things first, it took me a bit of time to get into this book. I know Neville must have been trying to introduce her characters as a fun-loving, artsy, devil-may-care group but the only thing I saw was a group of bright young things who needed a good slap in the face and a lecture about taking responsibility. Then there is Castleton who really, really, really, is staid and for me, a reader who loves a bit of the bad-boy in my heroes, it was slightly off putting.
Yet slowly, slowly, he became quite endearing, I found myself falling for him – as does Caro. The thing is, while I loved the hero – I really didn’t like Caro. She has a beautiful painting that she can sell and thus solve her money problems but refuses to do so…She supports her friends through thick and thin – which is wonderful, but since her friends are really, well, crappy friends – they don’t deserve her support. Especially since she is quite happy to allow them to make fun of Castleton all. the. time.
The story did grow on me and now, I’m really looking forward to reading about the other members of the group – as long as they redeem themselves, but I could not like Caro. She is one of the most selfish heroines I’ve ever read about. Still, Castleton makes up for it – in many, many ways… In fact, there is one scene that made me want to just get in this book and steal him away from Caro.
I can’t say I loved The Importance of Being Wicked, but the series definitely has potential and I’m looking forward to seeing where Miranda Neville takes it.