Not Wicked Enough by Carolyn Jewel

February 23, 2012
Me and my shadow,
Not a soul to tell our troubles to . . .

We have spoilers ahead.
Well, I had to digest this one before I jotted down my thoughts.  I love Carolyn Jewel and I've missed her since she switched to paranormal.  And then, hot-diggity, I read that she was working on a historical series, so I waited with baited breath.  Not Wicked Enough arrived on my doorstep and I gleefully plunged into it.  Let me tell you, I was entranced by her writing from the very first, even found a new favorite sentence/paragraph.  So, before I even start telling you what I thought of the book overall, let me meander a bit about the great opening of this book.

The part I love involves a shadow and the quirky imagination of the heroine, Lily Wellstone.  Lily was one of the best heroines I've read in a long time.  She arrives at our hero's estate in the wee hours of the morning in the pouring rain.  She and the hero are in the entry way and because they are using lanterns for light, an elongated shadow of our heroine is being cast upon the floor and our hero is standing on this shadow.  In her imagination she decides that she can not move as long as he's standing on her shadow.  I loved this side of her.  What a whimsical character.  Here's one of those moments.

"He didn’t react right away, and she had the impression he was deciding whether she had amused him or convinced him she was a fool. Perhaps a bit of both. Well. She was cold and wet. His boot yet pinned her shadow to the floor, so she remained where she was. Behind him, she caught a glimpse of a stone staircase that quickly narrowed and turned as it spiraled toward the first floor and disappeared into darkness."

So, I curled up to read a lovely, well-written romance with two remarkable, above-average Romanceland characters.  At least Lily was different; Mountjoy (hero) may have been a more typical hero, that doesn't mean I didn't like him, it just means Lily was the one that stole the show.  From the beginning, this couple was a mismatch.  She's perfect, beautiful, loves people, is a social butterfly and wants people to be happy.  Mountjoy is really rough around the edges, doesn't like to be around people, and has rather a apathetic attitude.  When these two meet, the sparks just fly off the pages of Not Wicked Enough.

Something I liked about Lily: she wasn't a virgin and she had never been married; however, she had been engaged and seemed to have indulged in some pretty hot sex with her fiance.  The fiance is dead by the way.  So, when she meets Mountjoy, she doesn't hesitate to act upon the sensual chemistry steaming from them.  It just happens and there didn't seem to be any guilty consciences floating around afterward.  The sex in this book is hot!

There are also some secondary characters, and although they are not written as strongly as the main two, they add to the story.  So, things go on: we are at a house party, we have a treasure hunt, we have sex, illicit encounters.  He proposes, she turns him down, they have sex, he proposes, she turns him down, they have sex, her cousin proposes, she thinks about it, they go for a walk, they talk, Mountjoy lets her think about it, they have sex, they have a treasure hunt, they go for a walk, they talk, she is suspicious of her cousin, Mountjoy's brother runs off with the neighbors daughter, Lily talks about her awful father, she turns her cousin down, the cousin tells her why he's there, Mountjoy proposes, they have sex, he throws pebbles at her window, she accepts.  The end.  And all of that was done without any angst, drama, poor me poor me, trauma or I'm not worthy.  So, when I closed the book I sat there wondering why I felt let down.  Should I read it over again?  No, I have too many others calling my name.  So, what went wrong?  I loved the characters - loved the wit, dialog, strong fanciful heroine, manly rough gruff hero.  What happened from the foot in the shadow to the HEA?  I was troubled, so I conferred with a fellow romance traveler who was just hanging around.  After much talk and rambling around it became apparent to me that there was no conflict, no roadblock...nothing that either one of the two main characters seemed to be concerned about or couldn't overcome.  There was just no struggle, and shouldn't there be?

Another thing that bothered me was I never understood why she couldn't marry him. She didn't moon over her dead fiance; in fact it would seem to me if one was really happy with one's first love (as she was), one would be more than ready to try again.

Her father could have been a roadblock, but no, nothing ever happened there.  Her cousin could have been, but no.

So, what started out so promising, ended with a slight feeling of something missing.  Which leads me to my quandary...It was great having a Carolyn Jewel book in my hands!  Not Wicked Enough had some wonderful characters in it, some wonderful writing and I would recommend it for that reason. It's just in the end even though I liked the characters, I felt a certain disconnect with their HEA.

PS:  Notice I didn't say anything about the dress on the front cover, or the "howdy big fella, is that a cucumber in your pocket or are you just happy to see me" pose.

Time/Place:  Regency England
Sensuality: Hot


Tracy said...

I loved this one. I had a few issues with it (not the same as yours) but I still loved it. I hadn't read anything by her before but I will definitely be reading her books in the future. I can't wait for Ginny's story.

For me I didn't mind that there was no conflict. I think that there are more than a few couples out there that fall in love with no conflict...just not so often in romances. :)

SidneyKay said...

Tracy: You need to read her early ones, The Spare and Lord Ruin. In your spare time. I am excited that she is writing a historical series. I love her way with words.

SidneyKay said...

Tracy: By the way, I tried reading your review, but couldn't find it.

Tracy said...

I'll look into those earlier works, Sidney, because I liked this one so much.

You couldn't find it because it hasn't posted yet. My review will eventually go up on The Book Binge. I'll let you know when it posts. :)

Anonymous said...

I got to the half-way point and decided finishing the book was pointless because the book itself seemed pointless--which is another way, I guess, of saying it got dull.
Whimsy is interesting, but only if it contributed something; the heroine's whimsical nature got in the way, IMO.


SidneyKay said...

Dick: You know what I'm in the mood to read? A good old marriage of convenience or trouble marriage story. Haven't read one in a long time, it would be even better if it was funny.

Melissa said...

I love a good conflicted character, which could not be found in this story. Saying that, I did enjoy the book, though I feel the cousin could have been more troublesome and I hope we get to see his story with Ginny. The situation that began to irk me was the fact that Mountjoy kept questioning having this affair. "Oh, it would be bad to have sex with her, so I'll let her fetch me with her mouth. Oh, it would be bad to have sex with her, so I'll fetch her with my mouth. Oh, she's my sister's friend, I shouldn't demand she remove all her clothes."