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Jennifer Haymore’s A HINT OF WICKED is a historical romance novel. I was on a kick for a long while where that is all I read years back and then became bored by the same format. This is not the case with this fun to read novel with well-developed characters and richly written transitions and flow. A HINT OF WICKED might be the book that brings me back to more historical romance novels. The opening scene with the sizzling love making certainly grabs your attention and especially if you haven’t read anything like that ever, or for a long time.
It seems that Sophie James, the Duchess of Calton, is waiting for her husband, Garrett, to return from Waterloo after the battle only to find out that he was wounded and missing in action. And so A HINT OF WICKED begins with Sophie trying to stay calm for the sake of the child she is carrying. Luckily, she has Garrett’s cousin and heir, Tristan James, the Viscount Westcliff, to console her and mourn with. After 7 years of waiting and Garrett being claimed dead, Sophie is ready to move on with her life. She marries Tristan, who during those waiting years lost his wife who died and he has succeeded Garrett. Their sizzling love making scene opens the novel and make this book so hot that you often have to put it aside to cool down! Tristan and Sophie’s marriage is a happy and successful one until the day Garrett returns.
It seems that Garrett didn’t die but rather was injured and lost his memory. He is working as a commoner, a laborer, when someone from his past, Mr. Fisk, sees him and his memory returns and he is eager to return home to his wife and to reclaim his wife, title, and land. However, when he does return, he is filled with rage when he sees Tristan and Sophie in bed making love. As children, the three of them played together and were inseparable friends, but they are all grown now and that threesome will not be tolerated obviously. Garrett has returned but returned a different man. He is darker and often cold and calculating, but he still craves his Sophie and wants her back. He immediately takes legal action and has her marriage to Tristan invalidated.
Sophie is shocked but when she is able to realize what has happened, she also realizes that she is torn between these two men, as she loves them both. Her decision of what to do seems to be made for her when the court does indeed revoke her marriage to Tristan and her place is then back with Garrett. Tristan is kicked out and Garrett warns Sophie to stay away from him or else warns that he will kill Tristan to get him out of their lives for sure, once and for all.
Tristan, however, loves Sophie and is willing to fight for her. He has always loved her, even before he was first married, and now that he finally has her, he is not about to let her go. He and Garrett have fights over Sophie but she is legally with Garrett and she also now has more than her own life at stake. She is in love with both men and doesn’t want either of them to be hurt but what can she do? Tristan is not to be stopped and he files a suit to defend his marriage to Sophie. He is her support through this entire nightmare, where as Garrett appears more the villain since he has changed so much.
How this love triangle turns out is what makes the novel’s ending both heartbreaking and yet appealing. It is easy to see what is coming and that is that Jennifer Haymore has laid the groundwork for a sequel. Who will be with whom may still be an issue by the time this next novel in the series comes out. A good read and not at all what I expected.