Wicked, My Love by Susanna Ives

 Wicked, My Love by Susanna Ives

A smooth-talking rogue and a dowdy financial genius
Handsome, silver-tongued politician Lord Randall doesn’t get along with his bank partner, the financially brilliant but hopelessly frumpish Isabella St. Vincent. Ever since she was his childhood nemesis, he’s tried— and failed—to get the better of her.

Make a perfectly wicked combination
When both Randall’s political career and their mutual bank interests are threatened by scandal, he has to admit he needs Isabella’s help. They set off on a madcap scheme to set matters right. With her wits and his charm, what could possibly go wrong? Only a volatile mutual attraction that’s catching them completely off guard…

Wicked, My Love by Susanna Ives

I don’t really know how I feel about this book. I do know I loved the characters and I thought the plot was great. I liked the fact it’s set in the 1840s. On the other hand, I struggled with the slapstick humour and some of the histrionics of the secondary characters. It sometimes made what was a brilliant story into something a bit farcical – and then it would switch back to the great story I was enjoying and I liked it again.

Something to note is that this is the second book in a series and yet it reads like a standalone. I couldn’t even tell you if the original characters made an appearance. I liked that.

We have a hero and heroine who have known – and disliked each other – since childhood. However their lives have been thrown together nonstop the whole time, as they have common business interests.

What I absolutely loved about this book was the way careers were integrated into the story. Most historical romance authors who go for the Girl Power! aspect come off as anachronistic and often ridiculous. Isabella’s reasons for being involved in the running of a bank were believable, and I loved her character in general. Her faults were consistent. She wanted marriage, but was desperately aware it was unlikely for her. Her quirks weren’t “cute”; they were things she struggled with, and things that made her self-conscious. For example, her serious nature that made it impossible for her to tell when someone was joking.

I also loved that she wore glasses (absent from the cover – of course), and that she really did struggle without them.

As for Randall, I was actually really impressed an author had the bravery to write an aristocratic Tory hero! I loved seeing the way he struggled with his politics and how to fit the aristocratic ideal into a life where it was becoming difficult to fit.

Another thing I loved was that the plot was so complex it meant the romance took time to develop at a believable pace.

As for my criticisms? Well, this is where I struggled. I think perhaps the author was going for a lighter pace in the nature of popular wallpaper romance authors who have come before her. But it just wasn’t necessary. Far too many sex jokes.

Cutting away from the interesting plot to have silly scenes like the housewife shrieking about her “baby-wabies” took away from the book. Having the antics of the beautiful blonde (of course) ex-mistress going crazy and attacking Isabella lowered the quality of what could have been a brilliant book.

I also didn’t like how many times wordswereruntogetherlikethis at “funny” times. I gave up trying to read them by the halfway mark.

There were also the usual issues with the Americanisms in the British dialogue. It’s maths, not math, dammit! Nobody should EVER say anyways.

The thing is, Wicked, My Love could have made it onto my best reads of the year list if the wallpaper, slapstick aspects had been eliminated. Strip them away and there’s an absolutely beautiful story here.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

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