My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Miss Willa Ffynche is a master at navigating English high society in the Regency era. Keeping her vivacious personality and love of bawdy jokes to herself, she makes herself one of the most refined, desirable ladies of the Season, along with her best friend Lavinia.
What she most definitely does not want is to be a public spectacle. And that’s exactly what Lord Alaric Wilde will make her if she gets tangled up with the likes of him.
Alaric never thought he would be famous when he started writing about his daring adventures abroad. But when he returns home, his ship is met by a mob of screaming ladies who adore him and have his likeness posted on their walls. To make matters worse, he finds out a godawful play is starring him in a fictionalized adventure.
When he meets Willa, he is drawn to her. She was beautiful and witty and everything he wanted. But she would have nothing to do with a man so infamous. Unless he could convince her otherwise.
I really enjoyed this book. I tend to read regencies where the heroine is either socially awkward or is in some way an outcast from high society so it is refreshing to read a book about someone who navigates the world successfully.
Lord Alaric is, well, about the same as any other rakish Regency hero. But I enjoyed him anyway. Sometimes if the plot device ain’t broke…
What I didn’t care for, though, was Willa, or at least how her personality was drawn out by Alaric. In public, she is very prim and proper, if a little bookish. But when she’s in private with Alaric, she’s confident and care-free. However, it felt more like an abrupt change in character than an actual character arc. She never felt like she was holding back in public, so her “real” personality felt inauthentic.
I didn’t care for the villain, the love-crazed woman who wrote the play. She was a weird mix of religious fanatic and teeny-bopper and it didn’t work for me. Maybe if I saw more of her background I would like her as a villain more. Her mental instability wasn’t well fleshed out at all. She was instead a half-baked plot device. The bloodthirsty Lady Helena Biddle who hunted Alaric before disappearing less than halfway through the story would have been a better villain. Yes, she was two-dimensional, but at least she made sense.
However, people looking for a run-of-the-mill Regency will probably enjoy Wilde in Love. It didn’t give me any thrills, but I bet these characters will resonate well with other readers.
Have you read Wilde in Love? What did you think?
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