Friday, October 25, 2013

{Heather #Review} Historical Romance: When She Was Wicked by Anne Barton

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Honeycote #1
Format: ARC
Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Forever (January 29, 2013)


A dressmaker in London’s busiest shop, Miss Anabelle Honeycote overhears the ton’s steamiest secrets—and (occasionally) uses them to her advantage. It isn’t something she’s proud of, but the reluctant blackmailer needs the money to care for her gravely ill mother. To make up for her misdeeds, Anabelle keeps to a firm set of rules:
  • Never request payment from someone who cannot afford it.
  • Never reveal the secrets of a paying client.
  • Never enter into any form of social interaction with a client.

Her list keeps her (somewhat) honest—until she encounters Owen Sherbourne, the Duke of Huntford. Not only does Owen nip Anabelle’s extortion plans in the bud, the devilishly handsome Duke soon has the sexy seamstress dreaming of more than silks and satins. With Owen, Anabelle enjoys pleasures she never imagined. . . until a scandal from the past resurfaces. Now her rules could mean his family’s ruin. Owen’s searing kisses carry the promise of passion, but how will he react when Anabelle’s most devastating secret is finally revealed?

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Book Extras: Read an Excerpt
Other Books In Series:


When She Was Wicked is the book that precedes Once She Was Tempted (which I have previously reviewed), but either may be read as a standalone novel. In this book we follow Daphne’s elder sister Annabelle Honeycote and the dashing Owen Sherbourne, Duke of Huntsford.

Annabelle is a devoted sister and daughter, and she is clever and determined as well. All of these are traits I admire in a heroine. She has a conscience, though, which keeps me from condemning her less than savory actions in the beginning of the book. Her cleverness is no match for her intended victim (The Duke, Owen) of course – she is caught very early on in the story. I enjoyed Owen’s “punishment” for Annabelle, although at times I felt he forgave her somewhat quickly given the circumstances.

There is a class-crossing conflict to this story, and it dominates the conflict. Annabelle is a destitute dressmaker; Owen is a Duke. Owen has already suffered the vicious gossip of the ton due to his mother’s affair and his father’s ill-hidden suicide – his family name cannot withstand another scandal. Throughout the story, I was kept guessing as to how this conflict would be resolved. I thought both Annabelle and Owen had a believable attraction to each other and the angst over their situation was palpable. While I was unsatisfied with the resolution (Owen never tells us what his plan is to deal with the scandal of choosing Annabelle), I had become so invested in them both as characters that my frustration was muted.

In addition, the mystery of Rose’s mutism is handled intelligently – I was very happy that Annabelle was able to figure it out early on, just as the reader did. This book was mostly free of the deliberate misunderstandings and confusions that permeate so many Regency novels. I love, love, LOVE reading smart heroines! Romance needs more of them.

Favorite Quote:
He caressed the back of her hand with his thumb. “I know you’ll miss my sisters when you’re gone. Do you think you might miss me, too?”
Annabelle blinked. Of course she’d miss him. She’d miss his rakish smile and his tender looks and his quiet strength. But most of all, she’d miss how alive – how complete – she felt when she was with him. “A little.”

Reviews for other books in series:
To All The Rakes I've Loved Before #1.5
When She Was Tempted #2
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