Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Any Wicked Thing by Margaret Rowe

January Challenge:
This month you can choose between the following options:
- Read a book that is first of a series, by an author that is “new” to you or a debut novel by an author.
- Read a romance that has a teen as the protagonist.
- Read an Erotic Romance or Erotica.

* * *

I've read Margaret Rowe's debut Tempting Eden (and her debut as Maggie Robinson, Mistress by Mistake) --

There is a quality to her writing that makes me want to read more of her works -- and I have.

This is her second book, writing as Margaret Rowe.

Frederica Wells has known Sebastian Goddard all her life -- and she has loved him for half of it.

During a masked ball, when she was 18, she decides to give herself to Sebastian -- with disastrous results.  They are caught by both their fathers -- Sebastian grudgingly offers for Freddie but she refuses him.  (Plus, Sebastian's father won't allow it.)

Their relationship changes after that one night.

10 years later, Sebastian has inherited the dukedom and all its debts.  He is intent on settling his father's estate and needs to travel back to Goddard Castle -- to sell it and move on with his life.

The problem is, Freddie's still living there -- and wants the castle for herself.

They enter into a bargain -- for 30 days, Freddie will agree to "any wicked thing" Sebastian wants of her.

And Sebastian agrees.

Having just read Cecilia Grant's A Lady Awakened -- where a bargain was also struck for a duration of 30 days, I could not help but feel that Grant handled narrative time much better than Rowe did.

Rowe's story dragged -- and the story was a bit static.  At certain points, I was not sure how much time had passed -- and then to realize it hasn't even been a day yet.

Sebastian's character is nicely fleshed out (as is Frederica's) -- on the outside, he seems to be a carefree guy but one can see that he cares deeply about what happens to Freddie and to the people inside Goddard Castle.  Freddie is an interesting woman -- well-versed in history and learned to fence properly from a book.

The most enjoyable part was the treasure hunt near the end of the book -- I think it would be a different (but completely readable) story had Rowe decided to focus on this more -- Sebastian discovers that there might be a treasure hidden inside Goddard Castle -- and Frederica, the history buff, helps him and his friend locate it.

There are a lot of wonderful elements in the story.  The dynamic between the younger Freddie and Sebastian was wonderful.  They were friends and confidants.  

The older versions of them both doth protest too much, methinks.  And it gets a bit tiresome.  She enjoys the sex but feels dirty after.  He enjoys the sex but feels guilty after.

While it shows just how irresistible the attraction is between the two, it seems to happens after every chapter -- and affects the flow of the story.

Disclosure:  I got a copy of this book through a giveaway.


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