The Importance of Being Wicked
by Victoria Alexander
Mass Market Paperback, 358 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Zebra
So much for "never" reading adult romances with flashy women on the cover. 0.0
In my defense, the first book sucked me in and it's not my fault I needed to read more about the family.
Winfield, the gentleman in this story, is Grayson's very best friend and "brother" from What Happens at Christmas. In the first book we learn that Winfield has had multiple engagements that have all ended in being annulled, one way or another. The first time it happened was reasonable, the second time was astonishing, but three times is more like "fate" in this society where appearances is everything. (1800 something in England.)
He must, consequently, be avoided at all costs by everyone who is any eligible, marriageable woman.
HOWEVER... his house has burnt down. His manor is the large gorgeous thing next to Millworth Manor (of course) forcing Grayson to stay at Millworth (OF COURSE). Win is completely consumed with repairing the house. He is taking care of his aging parents who are really in denial at the scope of the project. So... he's on his own.
He gets bids and hires a very respectable construction company. And this is where it gets fun. *rubs hands gleefully*
The company is being run by a woman, unbeknownst to the wide world of "proper". Lady Miranda Garrett has been forced to continue the work of her dead husband because, as it turns out, he left her quite in debt. She was the secret architect all along, anyway, so it was easy to maintain the appearance of a successful business and pretend that she had no real part in it besides spending the income.
Except to the well-trained eye that recognizes her style of dress is a couple years out of date. As the Millworth Manor twins do. Of course.
The viscount (Winfield) project requires an architect to be on-site for the repairs, quite naturally, being an extensive, complicated project. Miranda manages to get herself invited to Millworth Manor where she can visit the project daily...
And so appearances start to break down and Win sees Miranda for who she (remarkably) is. Conflicts arise from all those fun things like being truthful and/or following society's rules. The biggest obstacles between these two are themselves and it is fun to watch as they accept themselves and each other... and appreciate the ghosts of ancestors past that come out of the woodwork.
4 Stars. I enjoyed it enough to continue the series, for sure. I love the idea of Miranda more than her actual character, but Win is wonderful. Plus there's enough of Millworth and those hilarious people to quite entertain... including sneak peaks at Camille and Grayson from another point of view and great preview of Samuel Russell and Delilah, Camille's younger sister, and the scandal of the next book in the series.
I don't remember why someone had to be wicked for this title. It does come up, but I read this last December, so it has escaped me.