by Victoria Alexander, historical (2007)
Avon, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-06-088262-4
I have such high hopes for A Little Bit Wicked because the heroine Judith, Lady Chester, is a widow who's had a few lovers in the past and isn't above hooking up with a guy that catches her fancy. Judith seems like a sensible heroine with no weird hang-ups about sex or the unhealthy obsession with virtue that many historical romance heroines have. She is wealthy so she doesn't need to approach the hero in order to save herself from some dire fate.
However, the author Victoria Alexander proceeds to pair her up with Gideon Pearsall, an unfortunately rather dim-witted emo fellow who gets all broody and melodramatic over how love is dire and cruel because of a botched infatuation that took place more than a decade ago. And since our hero is not in his teens, I have a hard time seeing him as a mature adult when he goes on and on about how love is not his thing.
There isn't much plot to this story. You will have met our main characters if you have read the previous book by Ms Alexander, Let It Be Love, because they met and felt an attraction between them in that book. In this book, they decide to embark on an affair. Both of them insist that they will not fall in love. Meanwhile, the author will throw in a few distractions like ex-girlfriends in order not to bore me into a complete stupor.
I'm bored because this book goes in circles pretty much all the time. When these two aren't in bed, they get into same psychobabble and analysis again and again that after a while it seems like I'm in some kind of time warp. They won't fall in love. A secondary character will pop up and tell them oh yes, they are in love, just they wait and they will see. They then say they won't fall in love. Another secondary character pops up and says it is so obvious they are falling in love. Repeat and rinse. Throw in some distractions here and there but the repetitious psychobabbles remain the same.
It's a shame that this book is so dull because Judith is an anomaly especially for an Avon heroine in that she's genuinely independent and she has a most attractive personality since she can actually flirt, crack a few jokes, and have sex with a hot guy without squealing that she's going to burn in hell since no Daddies are saved by her orgasm and no scientific revelation is discovered in the meantime. Judith and Gideon have a pretty good chemistry here but because the author puts them through the same rinse-and-lather pattern of behavior, A Little Bit Wicked doesn't seem to go anywhere other than in circles.
While this story starts out like some kind of revelation - "Victoria Alexander is channeling Eloisa James on a good day, how surprisingly delightful!" - it soon peters out into something that is not A Little Bit Wicked as much as it is a tedious bore.
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