Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress's cousin, easily the least proper woman he's ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble…
Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had. Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke...while Thomas discovers there's a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.
Hardened by her life choices, Caroline Townsend thumbs her nose at society matrons and their strict rules of conduct. She courts scandal with a menagerie of wild friends in an attempt to fend off loneliness and bankruptcy. As a young woman, she eloped with the love of her life, Robert, caring more about passion than practicality. She paid dearly for her choices with a husband who cared more for gaming than security, especially when he died early.
While avoiding her creditors and her disapproving relatives, Caroline chaperones her young cousin, an heiress who is looking for a husband. Her cousin attracts the notice of Thomas, Duke of Castleton, a very proper man who needs money to solidify his family’s fortune and place in society. Unfortunately, it is Caro who captures his undivided attention – even as he fools himself into believing that he could possibly marry her cousin.
Caro and Thomas have little in common, except maybe for loneliness. She is bright and gay, while he is quiet and conservative. Both are saddled with seemingly onerous responsibilities, but find solace in each other. I didn’t always like these characters. Caro, at times, seemed too brittle and preferred making emotional choices that made little sense. Thomas took a bit too long to realize that he could never marry Caro’s cousin. Yet, it is these imperfections that make the characters come to life and make them so memorable.
It took me a bit to get into “The Importance of Being Wicked.” Thomas isn’t easy to warm up too, and I was perplexed by Caro’s circle of friends. However, Thomas is helpless in the face of how Caro makes him feel – and Caro’s circle of friends is as dedicated as any family. As I continued to read, this story grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. As Miranda Neville revealed more about the characters, I couldn’t help but root for them to find love and to heal.
Miranda Neville is quickly becoming one of my favorite historical romance authors. She has an incredible talent for creating flawed and even unlikeable characters with whom I can’t help but sympathize. This is exactly what happened when I read “The Importance of Being Wicked.” I can’t wait to read the next books in this series.
Fans of historical romance should not miss this one!
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Book Disclosure: An ebook was provided by the publisher via edelweiss.