Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Wicked Lady by Mary Lancaster (2017)

Blackhaven Brides, Book #2

Heat Factor: I mean, he’s in the clergy and she’s a blacklisted widow who refuses to publicly grieve, so the “but we mustn’t” factor is steamy from the get go, and it just takes off from there

Character Chemistry: The witty banter between these two is just *chef’s kiss*

Plot: Lady Katherine has been widowed and although reality is far from the story being spread throughout the ton, she’s been shunned to the seaside village of Blackhaven all the same. Grant, the town’s substitute curate, is just about everything you could hope for in both a curate and a future hubs, but he’s also got some secrets about his own past cooking up some trouble…

Overall: I LOVED this book—it’s deep and messy and has that element of forbidden foxiness (but not in a squicky way). All around a great read.

The book opens at a little assembly, where the new curate is being pressured to meet eligible ladies. Imagine everyone’s surprise when the woman he wants to meet and dance with is no other than Lady Katherine Crowmore, persona non grata with the ton after she was found with her lover the night her husband died. But of course, no one is as they seem in this delicious, suspenseful book…

Katherine, as it turns out, is NOT a wicked lady, at all. She’s been badly hurt in a predatory marriage pushed on her by her parents. She’s dealing with her expulsion from society with a great deal of pluck, however—she refuses to play games or seek approval from anyone, and although bored and more than a little lonely she takes a great deal of satisfaction and fulfillment from living her life on her own terms. After being somewhat painfully rejected in London, she goes to Blackhaven to seek out some friends, who are unfortunately not in town right away—but luckily her shenanigans with the town curate (and being hunted by unknown, unsavory people) keeps her pretty occupied.

The curate, Grant (I love that name for him) is not who he seems as well. Just when Katherine is trying to figure out how she feels about him, she sees him cut loose a French prisoner who jumps, presumably to his death, into the sea. He’s an effective and caring man of god, but he also sounds more like the upper class than the people he serves. So who is he?

The absolute best part of this book, for me personally, is how Grant very calmly informs Katherine that he’d like to marry her at basically every opportunity from night one of their meeting. Katherine very wisely insists he’s just trying to save her soul, but over and over again he tells her he’s not worried about her soul and he just wants to marry her. She finds comfort in his unwavering faith in her and her goodness, and she slowly starts to open up to other people as she starts to believe what he says about her is true.

I’m a sucker for books where the outcast is embraced not just by the romantic interest but by a whole community, and that’s what you’ll get here—suspense and intrigue, as with all the books in the Blackhaven Brides books, but also softness and warmth. 

I generally don’t enjoy my romance novels if there is any hint of a savior complex floating around, and I was so glad I tried this one—it’s steamy, and while there is an element of shaming going on it’s completely unfounded and rectified through the plot, so it’s just really satisfying.

Plus, I mean, if you liked Grantchester…you’re going to LOVE Grant.

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

Looking for something similar?

Other books by Mary Lancaster (Ingrid loooooves her stuff!)

Edge of your seat reads

Taking the sea air

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