The Importance of Being Wicked by Miranda Neville

December 10, 2012

"You say eether and I say eyether
You say neether and I say nyther
eeither, eyether, neether, nyther
Let's call the whole thing off!
You like potato and i like potahto,
you like tomato and I like tomahto, 
Potato, potahto, tomato, tamahto!
Let's call the whole thing off!
But oh! If we call the whole thing off, 
Then we must part.
And oh! If we part, 
Then that might break my heart!"  - George and Ira Gershwin
The Importance of Being Wicked is the beginning of a new series by Miranda Neville.  Of course, there was the short novella The Second Seduction of a Lady, which was a prequel to this story.  It is in this short story that we are introduced to Caro.  At that time, she was 17 years old and had eloped.  Actually, Caro was the best part of that short story.  I found her fun, if just a tad bit peppy, peppy, peppy.  And, if I had to really be around a young person that vivacious I would need some ear plugs or margaritas.  However, I was looking forward to how Ms. Neville matured Caro.

And now I shall ponder.  This book puts me in a reflective mood...see my eyes are downcast.  My first reaction was that I really liked this story.  It's a tale of opposites attracting, which, while not different from many standard romance yarns, seemed to have a bit more realism involved.  It was written in such a way, that all the way through I kept wondering just how this couple would ever achieve their happy ending.  Something else I liked was that about half-way through the book Caro and Thomas marry and instead of the instant HEA all of their differences were exacerbated.  The struggle to make their marriage work is what pulled me into the book and had me rooting for them.  I liked both of these characters equally.  Caro was flighty, selfish, and her life decisions were hardly ever thought out.  But she was such a dazzling person, it wasn't hard to understand how stuffy Thomas fell like a ton of bricks.  Stuffy Thomas, on the other hand, was a product of his social standing.  He was everything that was proper.  He was so trapped in his aristocratic box that he couldn't be anything else but stiff.  So, he was drawn to Caro like a moth to a flame.  he was the more innocent of the two and when they were together the story worked.  They balance each other out, and in the end that is the only way this type of marriage could work.  The became better people.  So, that part of the story really worked for me.

Now, there were a few things that didn't work for me quite so well.  While Caro seemed to be this capricious person, she was also intelligent.  So, I never understood why she kept her wastrel of a first husband on a pedestal for so long.  In the of their marriage, things had pretty much hit bottom, but she had these blinders on when it came to him.  Then there is the matter of her so-called "friends."  I believe some of these "friends" are future heroes, so it will be interesting to see how Ms. Neville pulls these selfish, cruel, thoughtless men out of the hero hat.  And then there is the art.  I understand that art will be the continuing background for the future stories, but I am hoping it will be turned down a little because I found it to be a distraction from the main love story.

Overall, I liked The Importance of Being Wicked.  I enjoyed watching the slow growth of Caro and Thomas as they became better people and thought that this was the best part of the book.  I was biting my nails wondering how this mismatched couple was ever going to find their HEA.  There were occasional modern anachronisms that kept cropping up, but I overlooked those.  And, I'm really, really looking forward to seeing how Ms. Neville is going to fix the future heroes.  I do recommend this book; it's a good read.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot


Anonymous said...

I got to chapter 6 and stopped. I don't know whether I'll read the rest of the book or not, primarily because the tone of the writing put me off. It's too casual or forced or cheeky or gauche--at least through chapter 5. And, although historicity doesn't usually affect me, the events which occur in the book don't "fit" either the era or the characters. Would anyone quiz a duke about his mistresses? Would a duke engage in a brawl? Those things together--the tone and the events--put me off the book, at least for a while.


SidneyKay said...

Dick: I agree about the question, although it didn't bother me. Now, would a duke engage in a brawl? I suspect they did or maybe they just paid others to do it for them. I can't name any off of the top of my head, but I do know that a lot of aristocratic men were not as stuffy as this one. In fact, the more I read about them, the more immoral they become. My favorite one (I have his Gainsborough portrait pinned to my wall) was in the hellfire club, set fire to a hotel room and died when he was 40 from a liver ailment.

nath said...

I've seen really good reviews for this book so far and I'm glad you enjoyed it SidneyKay. I usually love the happy-go-lucky heroine thawing out the stuffy hero, but I don't know, I'm a bit hesitant about this one. Simply because Ms Neville has yet to wow me with her stories. Hmmmm, what to do, what to do...

SidneyKay said...

Nath: Thomas is a great stuffy guy. He was totally out of his element. There were times I felt sorry for him. The building of the relationship is very slow. Good luck deciding! I'm reading Ms. Milan's latest right now...just started.