A dressmaker in London's busiest shop, Miss Anabelle Honeycote overhears the ton's steamiest secrets—and (occasionally) uses them to her advantage. It isn't something she's proud of, but the reluctant blackmailer needs the money to care for her gravely ill mother. To make up for her misdeeds, Anabelle keeps to a firm set of rules:
• Never request payment from someone who cannot afford it.
• Never reveal the secrets of a paying client.
• Never enter into any form of social interaction with a client.
Her list keeps her (somewhat) honest—until she encounters Owen Sherbourne, the Duke of Huntford. Not only does Owen nip Anabelle's extortion plans in the bud, the devilishly handsome Duke soon has the sexy seamstress dreaming of more than silks and satins. With Owen, Anabelle enjoys pleasures she never imagined . . . until a scandal from the past resurfaces. Now her rules could mean his family's ruin. Owen's searing kisses carry the promise of passion, but how will he react when Anabelle's most devastating secret is finally revealed?
Type: Historical Romance, England
Heat: 2 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5
At nearly 400 pages and over an inch thick When She was Wicked is a big book and still when I got to the last page a "no! It can't be over yet" zipped through my thoughts. Barton's debut novel was a huge hit for me and was filled with characters I easily fell in love with and knew I would miss as soon as I finished reading their story.
I loved the whole feel of the book. The interactions between between Annabelle and Owen, with his friends, between Owen and his sisters and the friendship Annabelle formed with them over time. They were all just wonderful to watch. These people have been through so much heartache in recent years but they have good hearts and still know what's important in life. Their family. And they'll do anything and everything they have to to keep the people they love happy and healthy. How could you not love that?
The relationship between Owen and Annabelle was pretty entertaining. They're supposed to be at odds with each other, seeing she tried to blackmail him and he's pretty much holding her life in his hands because of it but the two can't seem to help their attraction and honestly I felt myself urging them on. I loved both of them and their odd arrangement of her living with his family while she created complete wardrobes for his sisters.
[Just adding in really quick but this is one book I wish had pictures! OMG the descriptions of the gowns Annabelle created were simply amazing and I'd love to see what inspired them.]
Even with the blackmail scheme Annabelle was a lovely heroine. She's hard working, caring, sweet and no push over. I loved that she was a little fiery every now and again and didn't go along with everything Owen demanded. And Owen. He can play the part of the cold, in charge Duke but this man is such a softie when it comes to his sisters and those he cares about that he'll melt ya on the spot. They really were a good pairing for each other. This one wasn't too steamy. There are...relations. But they're pretty tame compared to most of the books I read and most mainstream romances. It's still nice and sigh worthy but nothing too graphic.
If you like sweet books that just leave you with a smile on your face this is one to try. I can't wait to spend more time with this group of people as the series develops. Anne Barton has definitely made my watch list and I'll be snapping her next book up the second it's published.
[Yall get my price rant fairly often but this one is the exact opposite and something I've noticed with this publisher. When She Was Wicked is only $5.99 in print!! I'm not sure if this is something Grand Central does with all debut authors but I think it's fabulous of them.]