Wicked, My Loveby Susanna Ives
Series: Wicked Little Secrets #2
Published on March 3, 2015 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
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A smooth-talking rogue and a dowdy financial genius...
Handsome, silver-tongued politician Lord Randall doesn't get along with his bank partner, the financially brilliant but hopelessly frumpish Isabella St. Vincent. Ever since she was his childhood nemesis, he's tried—and failed—to get the better of her.
Make a perfectly wicked combination...
When both Randall's political career and their mutual bank interests are threatened by scandal, he has to admit he needs Isabella's help. They set off on a madcap scheme to set matters right. With her wits and his charm, what could possibly go wrong? Only a volatile mutual attraction that's catching them completely off guard...
In the second installment of Susanna Ives’ Wicked Little Secrets series, we meet the cool, calculating Isabella and her business partner and childhood “enemy” Randall. This is one of those romances that takes on the enemies-to-lovers tropes, which also happens to be one of my favorites, so I was excited for Wicked, My Love since I really enjoyed the last book (Wicked Little Secrets).
While I think I enjoyed this one as a whole, it had some issues. The story revolves around the impending ruin of the bank that both Isabella and Randall are co-owners of, started by their parents. Through this approaching danger we learn that Isabella is awkward, almost nerdy by today’s definition, doesn’t like attention and doesn’t dress even remotely in fashion. Meanwhile, Randall is quite the opposite and the two clash often. Over the course of the book Randall, of course, realizes that Isabella is more than what she seems.
In itself, that is fine. Instead, though, it’s because Isabella is given a makeover.
If you’ve seen any of those TV-only movies about the unpopular girl in high school who gets a makeover and suddenly the most popular boy in school notices her. This really isn’t much different and I was disappointed by that. I loved that Isabella wore glasses and focused more on her work than her appearance (there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look nice but it wasn’t her sole purpose of living). The same can be said about her not looking for a marriage. But as soon as Randall notices her for a moment and suddenly she goes from strong heroine to all about the man in the story.
One of the things I loved about Wicked Little Secrets is that the heroine wasn’t reduced to just pleasing the leading gentleman and that’s the direction I saw this one going. And watched it go. Isabella retained some of her character but as soon as she lost the glasses, put makeup on, and a fancy dress, suddenly she was the most stunning woman in the city. It struck a nerve. And there was this subplot based around a book Isabella wrote and women’s rights which could have been really interesting, but felt more like it was there to make her seem like a stronger character in the face of everything else.
Yet, I liked this book? I finished it and if someone had asked me right then and there, I’d have said I enjoyed it. Because I DO love enemies-to-lovers in a romance. I enjoyed the fact that it focused on a business and the business owners, instead of some noble lady trying to land a husband (or get herself out of some social mess and in doing so landing a husband). Randall is a decent leading gentleman and he balanced Isabella’s personality out as hers tended toward the extreme sometimes. I also loved her character when she wasn’t swooning over Randall. Sometimes the way they talked to each other was a bit…out of place for the time period the book is set in but it was fun. Their banter moved the story along quickly and had several moments that had me chuckling.
So… can I recommend this book?
While I can’t say I liked it as much as the first, I think this is a good read if you don’t think about it too hard. Read it for fun, for some snarky banter between “enemies.” And I think if you do that you’ll enjoy it.