Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Hint Of Wicked - Jennifer Haymore


A Hint Of Wicked
Jennifer Haymore
Grand Central/Forever

Historical Romance

Sophie, Duchess of Calton, was expecting his child when word came that her husband, Garrett, died at Waterloo. Of course, she was devastated, but life – and her child – demanded that she move on. Years later, Sophie married Tristan, Garrett’s cousin and legal heir. The two are truly attracted to one another and are making a life together.

Then, the unthinkable happens. Eight years later, Garrett reappears, wounded both physically and emotionally. While he knows that significant time has passed, he’s angered to discover that he’s been declared legally dead (since the body was never recovered) and Tristan has inherited his title and lands. And also, apparently, his wife. Tristan and Garrett were like brothers, but this is enough to tear apart any friendship. Sophie was deeply in love with Garrett as a young woman; now, as an adult, she feels the same deep love for Tristan. Neither man is willing to give up his life and his love without a fight.

This is a very unusual historical romance, in my experience. There really is no villain (and thus, no real ‘wickedness’) in this triangle. There are two men who have both conducted themselves honorably and now must fight for the life and love each believes he deserves. Likewise, Sophie has done nothing wrong. She waited nearly eight years to marry Tristan, after truly grieving for her supposedly dead husband. She is indecisive for some time, but that stems from her desire to avoid inflicting further pain on either husband, not from weakness on her part.

The downside to all of this realistic pain and confusion is that, no matter how the story ends, someone will be disappointed. The very positive aspect of this is that, until the very end, I had no clear idea how the story would resolve itself. There were perfectly good, sound reasons for a number of outcomes. It seems inevitable that some readers may be disappointed, looking for a different resolution. I have to say that this is an incredible first novel by an author to watch. She’s set the bar exceptionally high for herself, and I’m eager to see what she does next.

Rating: 8
June 2009
ISBN# 978-0-446-54029-2 (paperback)

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