Review: Irretrievably Wicked by Constance Kersaint (2022)

Rebel by Night, Book #1

Heat Factor: High high heat. He loves her quim and worships it accordingly.

Character Chemistry: Two lonely people take care of each other.

Plot: Cress hires a highwayman to break her idiot brother out of prison.

Overall: Propulsive adventure that needed another round of editing.

When I say this book needed another round of editing, I’m not talking about awkward or incorrect word choices but rather bigger-picture issues: continuity discrepancies, unclear shifts in scenes, uneven characterizations, and named characters who appear without context for a few pages and then disappear entirely. (Who the heck is Sir Jaspar?)

This shortcoming is really a shame, because it impeded my enjoyment of the book, especially at the beginning—and this book does have some great things going for it.

First, it is undeniably sexy. I would say it’s right on the edge of erotic romance levels of high heat, though the sex is more for fun than to move the relationship forward. I can’t say I’ve ever before read a sex scene where the hero ejaculates, takes a minute to collect himself, rallies, and continues to go to pound-town until his lady is satisfied, and I really appreciated seeing that here. 

Second, the relationship between Cress and Dev is utterly charming once it gets going. Cress is constantly feeding Dev—they spend a lot of time in the kitchen, chatting (or plotting, as appropriate) and eating. Dev knows that Cress is out of his reach, not just because of class, but because she is so friggin’ competent, and all he wants to do is keep his promises to her (and make her feel good).

Third, the plot is twisty and fun. Spoilers ahead!

Ok, so the first few chapters kind of make no sense. Dev is a highwayman who robs Cress but intervenes when his compatriots want to rape her. Cress knows that the other dudes are going to kill him for spoiling their fun, so she goes after them and saves him. Like. What. Then they do some clandestine hanging out in London because Cress decides she deserves some fun, I guess. Anyway, the plot finally gets going when Cress’s idiot brother gets arrested for some nonsense and doesn’t give his real name or title (and therefore actually faces some consequences for getting arrested), so Cress hires Dev to help break her idiot brother out of prison. Only when they do, they end up breaking her *other* idiot brother out of prison—the one who has been presumed dead for the past ten years. So twisty! Of course, since Dev doesn’t want to disappoint Cress, he now has to plan another prison break with even higher stakes. The second half of the book was an excellent adventure with lots of derring-do, and it was really fun to read.

The final thing that’s great about this book is that Cress’ idiot brothers are held accountable for their actions. Cress and her sister don’t take one look at their brother who they thought dead and fall on his neck, weeping tears of joy. No. They are fucking pissed about him not stepping up and shouldering his responsibilities, and they are not shy about telling him how angry they are—or about promptly expecting him to start doing what his title requires. Cress has been taking care of the family for ten years, and now it’s his turn. Usually, in romance novels, thoughtless rakes who moonlight as privateers are swoonworthy, but not here, and I appreciated that subversion of the genre.

As you can see, there was a lot I liked about this book, especially in the second half, but I can’t honestly say that I recommend it. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Buy Now: Amazon

Looking for something similar?

The Georgian Period

Explicit sex scenes, and lots of them

Cross-class relationships

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