As a well-known barrister and the son of a duke, Ives confines his passionate impulses to discreet affairs with worldly mistresses. A twist of fate, however, has him looking for a new lover right when a fascinating woman shows up in his chambers, asking him to help save her father from the gallows. Unfortunately, he has already been asked to serve as the prosecutor in the case, but that only ensures close encounters with the rarity named Padua Belvoir. And every encounter increases his desire to tutor her in pleasure’s wicked ways…
Having always been too tall, too willful, and too smart to appeal to men, Padua Belvoir is shocked when Ives shows interest in her. Knowing his penchant for helping the wrongly accused, she had initially thought he might be her father’s best hope for salvation. Instead, he is her worst adversary—not least because every time he looks at her, she is tempted to give him anything he wants…
It’s such a pity this series has such cheesy packaging. It doesn’t do the books – with their complex stories – much justice, and the titles have nothing to do with the characters!
Madeline Hunter is one of my favourite authors, and I don’t even read the blurbs of her books before I start them, I’m that sure I’ll like each one.
Tall, Dark and Wicked is no exception, and this is probably one of my absolute favourites from her.
Hunter’s books are different because they’re mature, historically accurate, and always work in a full plot apart from the romance. The men act like men of their time, and the women act like women of the time, able to be strong without donning breeches and running around making fools of themselves to prove they’re “empowered”.
Hunter also makes sure her characters take the social rules of the day into account. This is the early nineteenth century (though why were we not given a date at the start?!) as it was, and people thought and acted and approached the world differently.
In this one – as in the book before – the heroine is not from the top rung of society, and so her struggles and her unconventional lifestyle are believable.
In both books in this series so far I’ve been convinced of the heroes’ attraction to their heroines, even though they are not immediately the most impressive women. It helps a great deal that the relationship takes time to grow, with the actual falling in love happening there on the page – something that is forgotten by too many authors too often.
I could go on about the romance, but then I don’t really need to. Every book by this author is pretty steamy, and the scenes are never sleazy. I could say how hot the hero was, but what really drew me in was how intelligent and kind and fair he was.
Hunter writes some of the best historical men around. They don’t read as women writing male characters, as too many do. She always makes her scenes between her male characters funny and the conversations realistic.
Also wonderful to see an author who always gives her heroines good female friends.
I do wish that the same mistakes with language didn’t keep turning up in every one of Hunter’s books. The reason the random Americanisms irritate me so much with this author is because her language is so beautiful and her writing so capable of pulling you into a different era, that the mistakes are particularly jarring.
The one that drives me absolutely batty is having all the characters say ass instead of the correct arse! It makes me mad each and every time I see it! Also, with a mathematics teacher heroine, of course we had our English characters saying math instead of the correct maths.
If you’re after a fluffier historical romance, you won’t find it here. This is EXACTLY the kind of historical romance I want to read, and for me, this one was one of my best reads of the year.