Title: The Wicked Wyckerly

Author: Patricia Rice

Redonk Nutshell: Country bumpkin falls for newly bestowed  earl

Official Synopsis: When he becomes seventh Earl of Danecroft, rakish John Fitzhugh Wyckerly also inherits a crumbling estate and massive debts. Determined to do right, he reclaims his illegitimate daughter Penelope and heads to London in search of a very rich wife. Abigail Merriweather’s farm has been quiet since she lost custody of her four young half-siblings-until a roguish gentleman named Fitz stops for a rest, his rebellious daughter in tow. His etiquette is questionable, his parenting deplorable-so why does Abby delight in his flirtations? And when she seeks a suitor to help her regain the children, why does Fitz keep popping up?

I can’t help the involuntary cringe whenever I pick up a romance novel with any of these words in the title: rogue, scoundrel, scandal…wicked.  The list could go on.  I’ve learned not to judge a book by it’s title (or cover), especially after reading this.  I actually contemplated picking this up a few weeks ago but put it back.  Then a few days ago I saw it on the RITA nominee list and thought I’d give it a go.  I’m glad I did, because it was a delight to read.

I love a romance novel that really shows the full development of a relationship.  Fitz and Abby go from complete strangers, to sort of friends, to definite friends, to lovers, and then, well…I don’t want to spoil it.  It’s lovely to watch.  Abby is a country girl, born and raised, and is independent and strong.  Fitz has always been a bit fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy until he’s bestowed with the title of Earl and forced to confront the demons his father and elder brother left behind.  He’s intelligent and witty, and he particularly enjoys being around Abby.

The glue that really holds them together, however, is their love of children.  Abby is on a quest to get back custody of her half siblings, and Fitz just rescued his illegitimate daughter from a shady governess.  That’s what initially brings them together.  And their love of children is what keeps them together.

Confession time – I’m not that big on kids.  I don’t have anything against them.  I’m just not at that maternal hemming and hawing moment in my life.  These kinds of story lines don’t always appeal to me.  In fact, sometimes they down right turn me off.  There were a few moments in Wyckerly where I teetered on that edge, but really the engaging romance between the two main characters kept me invested and focused.  And really, this is a terribly romantic book.  If you’re looking for a heart warming story with a heavy dose of romance, family life, and a splash of wit, I’d definitely recommend giving The Wicked Wyckerly a go.

Rating: B

Romance: 5/5                        Raunch: 3/5

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