Review: The Wicked Duke by Madeline Hunter

Review: The Wicked Duke by Madeline HunterThe Wicked Duke by Madeline Hunter

Series: Wicked #3
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Jove on 31 May 2016
Pages: 382
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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four-stars      four-flames

She appeals to his wicked inclinations, but he never expects she might snare his heart…

Suspected of his brother’s murder, Lancelot Hemingford, Duke of Aylesbury, was forced to give up his hell-raising habits in London for the anonymity of quiet country living. So, when an opportunity arises to clear his name in exchange for proposing to the niece of a neighbor, he sees no choice but to accept. Plus, seducing the reluctant maiden will be a most intriguing challenge…

As Marianne Radley is dependent on her uncle, she must accept the Duke’s marriage proposal at her family’s request, despite her belief he is irredeemably wicked. But along with marrying him, she intends to sniff out the duke’s unsavory secrets and expose them to the world: a plan that would be flawless were it not for one minor detail—even she, with all her determination, is not immune to the charms of a rakish duke…

The Delight

Wicked in a good way, this duke finds himself in a spot of murder trouble and a bad reputation, but this has him less distracted than the intriguing lady he catches trespassing on his land.  My first venture into the author’s writing leaves me with a delicious taste for more.

Review

The Wicked Duke is the third book in the Wicked trilogy and I jumped the gun and went straight to Lance’s story bypassing his two brothers.  It worked fine as a standalone, but for the sheer pleasure of getting the other brothers, I will be going back.

This was a light and engaging historical.  Lance is a bad boy with no real evil in him, but he’s under suspicion for murder of his brother.  He’s also being blackmailed by one of his social climbing neighbors to marry the man’s niece or there will suddenly be a witness who saw him poison his brother.  This was an interesting twist on the forced marriage trope because while it is forced, he already knows and is attracted to Marianne.  This could have been loaded with wailing and gnashing of teeth angst, but happily the author relies on the already existing conflict to carry the story.

I found both Lance and Marianne engaging main characters and enjoyed the narration from both their points of view.  The story has good pace and a good variety of emotion throughout.  There was a nice layer of humor, but it wasn’t fluffy with the topic of rape, murder, and family dynamics in play.  I liked how the romance was handled.  This pair may already have attraction and even like each other, but the author doesn’t throw out the love word until evidence of a relationship and love appear in the story.  I also enjoyed the broader connection to family for both this pair- Lance and his brothers (who got their stories earlier) and Marianne with her family.

It was light, but had some depth to carry it along as an engaging passionate and mildly suspenseful Historical Romance that I can recommend to those who enjoy the genre.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #124 HR
Mt. TBR #58
Blogger Shame #19
Bad Boys #15

Recommendations

 The Soldier's Dark Secret by Marguerite Kaye Only a Promise by Mary Balogh

Preview

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Latest posts by Sophia Rose (see all)

  • I remember reading her books some time ago. I should probably pick another up at some point and read her again.

    • This was my first go around and I had a good time with the fun elements as well as the mystery. Looks like this one is a good series, Mary. 🙂

  • Yay! I’m so glad it worked on it’s own. I really loved this trilogy and everyone involved. She did such a nice job with all of them. Hope you have a good time going back to the others now 😀

    • They probably offered the first two directly to me on one of the lists and I was in one of my ‘don’t look, don’t look, you already have too many review commitment’ modes so I only got this one as an unsolicited and now I’m chagrined not to have just slapped the others on the pile. 🙂

      I did love that I was able to still enjoy it, standalone.

  • Something about this cover really really appeals to me! Not just the sexy guy, but the layout and design in general. 😀 I’ve not read anything by this author, but this series has caught my eye. I love the forced marriage trope – though I’m a little nervous about the rape aspect? Is it a big thing in this book? The heroine, perhaps?

    I’m glad you enjoyed this book. Great review, Sophia!

    Have a wonderful weekend. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Yes, I like the poses on each of these covers. The black iron grillwork is a cool touch.

      Sorry to worry you. No, the rape is not the heroines, its her cousin and it’s part of the mystery.

  • RO

    I really like this cover. Remember when all the romance covers had Fabio only? lol Times sure have changed. Happy Mother’s Day to you and Shari! Hugs…

    • I do like the coloring, his pose, and the black wrought-iron grill. La yes our Fabio. He sure did sell a lot of romance in the 80s. 🙂

      Thanks, Ro, and wishing you a lovely Mother’s Day as well.