Something Wicked Indeed.....
Set in London in the mid 1700's, Something Wicked, introduces Lady Elfled Malloren, a woman close to spinsterhood, longing for adventure, desiring purpose. As a female, Elf is expected to run her brother's home and flit around the social circuit, none of which satisfy her desires. When the opportunity presents itself, Elf conspires with her lifelong friend, Amanda, to attend the notorious Midsummer Night's masquerade at Vauxhall. Thinking only of seeing 'something wicked' from under her concealing domino, Elf imagines she will escape her boring life for one evening without her protective brothers ever finding out; but when Lady Malloren overhears a treasonous conversation, her life is put in serious danger.
Fleeing her pursuers, Elf finds safety in the arms of none other than Lord Fortitude Walgrave, sworn enemy of the Malloren family. Desperate to keep her identity hidden and escape her attackers, she must play a dangerous game with the sinister Fort Walgrave. Soon, however, Elf realizes that her savior may be one of the conspirators against the crown. Unable to discern friend from foe and unprotected at her brothers' absences, she must trust Lord Walgrave with her life. Unaware that the intriguing woman thrust into his world is a member of the hated Malloren family, Walgrave desires her fiercely, even as she is inexplicably drawn to him; their forbidden passion inviting devastating consequences.
Jo Beverley's, Something Wicked, is at its best, an evening's distraction, and at its worst, ridiculous. Elfled's character is sympathetic as a woman restrained in a repressive society, and her desire for adventure reasonable. Her boldness is tempered with some cautiousness in the first half of the novel. As the story progresses, Elfled spirals out of control, taking absurd risks and chasing pathetically after a lover who has rejected her. Beverley does nicely write a female character who takes control in a man's domain in the sections about her family's business, and for that I applaud her as well as for a terrific story idea. Beverley cleverly invents the circumstances which bring the couple together initially.
Lord Walgrave was not the typical hero found in romances in a few respects. This broad suspects that readers will love him, or hate him, and will say no more on the matter, well aware that one broad's prince charming is another broad's frog.
Recommendation: * * + _ _ (Two and a half stars)
Nice story, mediocre characters, lots of drama. Read it on a night you have a few hours to kill.