Review: His Wicked Smile by Heather Hiestand

Review: His Wicked Smile by Heather HiestandHis Wicked Smile by Heather Hiestand

Series: #3 Redcakes
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Kensington on May 1, 2014
Pages: 276
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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three-stars  

I had a good time reading the first book in the Redcakes series so when I had the opportunity to read this one I was glad to do so. This is Gawain’s story and I was more than curious to get it. He was so ambitious and felt that he had something to prove plus he had such decided opinions about marriage that I just couldn’t wait to meet the woman to challenge him into ditching his plans for love.

The story opens when Gawain Redcake attends the nuptials of his friend Lord Judah Shield. Gawain has decided that he wants to marry into the Shield family for the purpose of advancement in Society by having a noble wife. He has money and some connection through his sister marrying Judah’s older brother, a Marquis, but he doesn’t want to depend on them. Unfortunately, the Marquis turns him down and the lady in question elopes.

Gawain goes with her brother to bring her back still thinking to marry her if it isn’t too late which brings him to the inn in Leeds and his passionate encounter with Ann Haldene. Gawain continues on his way never realizing that his time with Ann will alter his life forever. Even though her healing arts work wonders on his war-ravaged body, he can’t afford to be side tracked from his goal.

Ann Haldene is a half-Indian widow and now she has a child by a man not her husband. Gawain is willing to do right by her, but she hesitates because he doesn’t love her. She only planned to remarry for love. For the sake of her child, she does end up accepting. She discovers quickly that she and Gawain have very different ideas of her role as his wife and her role as a healer. Their physical passion is not enough. In the midst of their marital issues, the old mystery of her first husband’s murder crops up and Gawain’s investigations may have stirred up more than the answers.

The storyline offered up some interesting plotting like the situation between Gawain and Ann, their differing ethnic backgrounds playing a part, the mystery of Wells Haldene’s death, the disappearance of the Shields’ sister, the reappearance of the man who seduced Gawain’s sister, and of course Gawain’s plan for his future. Things were a little loose in the plot, but nothing bad. The transitions between scenes were a tad rough. For the most part, I enjoyed the components and the whole of the story.

While I liked the story, I didn’t love it. I had difficulty connecting with Gawain and Ann’s romance. I didn’t love them together, but I didn’t feel it was utter incompatibility either.
The story indicated that Ann was the one who talked a good game about love and Gawain who just wanted to do his duty and care for his new wife and child, but honestly, she didn’t do much to show love or get love to grow between them. I think that’s what I was waiting for and didn’t get. She waited…I waited…*sound of crickets*
In the meantime, Gawain was actively securing his business, securing his family a home and comfort, keeping his wife safe and spending time as father to his son and the orphaned Fern, loving on Ann’s body, rethinking his ways and making changes, and finally he arrived exactly where he wants and needs to be.

My favorite part of the story was Fern Faldene, Ann’s little sister in law who went mute after the tragedy that took her brother, Wells. Gawain’s deliberate attempt to build a relationship with her was a sweet thing.

So all in all, I liked the overall story, but was only semi-engaged with the romance part. This should be read in series order. Those who enjoy Historical Romance of the Victorian period might want to give this one a try.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.

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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.
  • Hard when you don’t quite buy into the romance but still sounds pretty good and with a set up I think I’d like. The different ethnicities is nice to see as well. I don’t think I’ve read many historicals that included that.

    • Yeah…this one was hard for me to put my thoughts into words. I didn’t have strong feelings about it and I guess that’s what I wanted- to feel something as I read. I think it boils down to someone telling me there was a romance, but me not seeing it when I watched the couple. I really liked the first book and I didn’t hate this one. I just liked it for something other than the romance. Her ethnic background did play a big role in things and you’re right, that was unique in a Victorian HR.