Title: When She Was Wicked
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Anne Barton
Publisher: Grand Central, Forever, Jan. 2013
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Sexy Rating: 5
Description from amazon.com:
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?
This is Anne Barton’s first novel and all Historical Romance fans should stand up and cheer for this delightful addition to the genre. The reader knows that what Anabelle is doing is morally wrong but we long for her redemption and happily ever after. The Duke is everything Anabelle could want but the differences in their social standing is impossible to overcome. There are difficulties a plenty on this road to true love.
I could not put this book down. It was as if once I closed the book perhaps everything would stall and I must keep reading so that these wonderfully nuanced protagonists would not suffer from my neglect. Barton’s ability to create a believable situation out of unbelieveably difficult circumstances is nothing short of miraculous. Her side characters are just begging for their own books and Anabelle’s sister Daphne is the star of the next book due later this year. I’m also hoping for Rose and Olivia’s books in the future.