“The Importance of Being Wicked by Victoria Alexander
“The Importance of Being Wicked by Victoria Alexander
Rating: 4/5 stars
March 1887: Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell stands and watches as his beloved family home, Fairborough Hall burns. Win keeps reminding himself it could be worse, the Hall could have burned to the ground, his family could have been hurt and, he could be far too poor to rebuild the great Hall. Fortunately, much of the great hall did survive, all his family is well and accounted for, and he certainly has the means to hire a top-notch architectural firm to rebuild and restore his home.
After three failed engagements, Winfield Elliott never does anything without proper thought and consideration. He investigates every possible avenue for increasing his family’s wealth before investing and he certainly inquires as to the quality and character of those he may be doing business with. The architectural firm of Garrett and Tempest comes highly recommended so when the firm’s representative shows up to meet Win outside his ruined home, he is absolutely prepared. Until Miranda Hadley-Attwater Garrett steps out of the coach and into his life.
Miranda Hadley-Attwater Garrett is unlike anyone Win has ever met. She is confident, intelligent, quick-witted, and completely at ease with overseeing the re-construction of Fairborough Hall. And why shouldn’t she be? For the past six years unbeknownst to virtually everyone, Miranda has been Garrett and Tempest’s chief architect and designer. Following her husband’s death, Miranda assumed the company’s debt and continued to work behind the scenes creating all the plans for each and every client while one of her male employees oversees the work and deals with clients face-to-face. Miranda has not only managed to decrease the debt but has even seen her business begin to turn quite a profit. The only problem? If word were to ever get out that Garrett and Tempest were run by a woman, the business would fail and all Miranda’s employees would be without an income. This is something Miranda simply cannot allow.
Instantly, Miranda and Win are at odds with one another. Win is as completely unsure about a woman overseeing construction as Miranda is sure about her abilities and qualifications. Miranda is no-nonsense and straightforward and refuses to allow the stunningly handsome man to intimidate her. Miranda knows architecture and convinces Win she and Garrett and Tempest are the best firm for the project. Miranda even convinces the old-fashioned and as his mother calls him “stodgy” Winfield to modernize the place with electricity!!
As construction on Fairborough Hall progresses so do the snarky comments, pokes and jabs between Miranda and Win. The two absolutely infuriate one another but there is also an underlying attraction that each wants desperately to ignore. Win doesn’t completely trust Miranda, he knows she is hiding something and is fearful of giving himself over to her before knowing all her dark secrets. In order to satisfy his curiosity, and because simply asking would just be too damn simple, Win hires a private investigator to dig into Miranda’s life. Miranda is hiding something from Win and is desperately afraid he will turn away from her if he discovers her true role at Garrett and Tempest. While Miranda know she will eventually have to tell Win her dirty little secret, she hopes it is not before she completes the Fairborough project and secures her employees’ future.
Perhaps my favorite part of this read is the constant bickering between Win and Miranda. The two are ruthless with their barbs and are often left wondering about their own snarkiness. Miranda refuses to back down and Win refuses to be bested though he often is. Both characters are as fun as they are frustrating and so easy to connect to; you want them to fight so when they do finally get together it will be well worth the wait! Easily my second favorite part of the book is the moment when Miranda confesses virtually everything, including her feelings for Win in an outburst of anger to her family. All of Miranda’s finest qualities come screaming to her aid as she quite succinctly albeit rather politely tells everyone to go to hell! Fantastic moment for Miranda and the reader My third favorite part of this read, Miranda and Win’s mothers. Those two old birds have got everything figured out and maneuver everyone just as they need to be and just when they need to be in order to get Miranda and Win together at last. Love those two ladies somethin’ fierce
The Bottom Line: The Importance of Being Wicked is a fine historical romance with relatable, funny and caring characters. The dialogue is witty, snarky and funny (personal faves!!) and caries the reader easily through the book. While there are no hugely intense moments of action there is a very steady pace to the read with little to no slow spots. There is little to no cursing and only a few light naughty bits so I would feel safe recommending this thoroughly enjoyable historical romance read to new adult readers and beyond.
Win’s mother: “Do try to be pleasant.”
Win: “I am being pleasant!”
Win’s mother: “My mistake then. I thought you were being rather stiff and stodgy and annoyed and just the tiniest bit outraged. I’m sure no one else noticed.”
He watched her for a moment, then huffed. How on earth had she managed to turn the tables? Why, as he had clearly won, did he feel as though he had somehow lost?
“I know exactly what you just did, you know,” he called after her.
“Good.” (page 212ish)
She did so love annoying him and everything was so much easier when he was confused. This was going quite well thus far. (page 349)”
“THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED by Victoria Alexander is an interesting Regency Historical Romance,which is a crossover with the "Millworth Manor" series. Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell has had three failed engagements. Lady Miranda Garret has a guarded secret. A wickedly wonderful story of secrets,trust,misunderstandings,and true love. Witty banter brings these two characters to life,as they jump off the pages. Can Win finally complete an engagement? You will need to read "The Importance of Being Wicked" to find out. Another wonderfully written,laughter filled historical romance by this author. Romance and nothing but lost romance. A great read! Received for an honest review from the publisher and Net Galley.
HEAT RATING: MILD
REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction Reviews”
“~Reviewed by SUZANNE & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
...it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom for you to have a book containing a well drawn hero and heroine” ~ Under the Covers
Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell has had three fiancees but has yet to see the altar and has no current desire to look for his fourth, especially now that his family’s home has burned down. So the last thing he expects when he hires an architect firm to rebuild his country home was the widowed Lady Miranda Garrett to step out of her carriage, in her ugly shoes, and start to take charge of not just the rebuilding of his home, but his heart as well. Miranda has always secretly wanted a wicked man, and Winfield Elliott does have a certain reputation but instead of finding him charming and flirtatious he was rather…annoying and stodgy, why hasn’t he kissed her yet?
I am newly converted to Victoria Alexander, I love her brand of light hearted and funny historical romance. Although I have only read a few of Ms Alexander’s books with each one she has created likable and dimensional characters, which just proves it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom for you to have a book containing a well drawn hero and heroine. What she also excels at is dialogue, the banter was witty and funny, even when the couple argued (which happened a lot) making a perma-smile appear on my face whilst I was reading The Importance of Being Wicked.
However, if you are looking for a truly wicked hero then you have come to the wrong book, although Winfield was charming and a flirt he didn’t strike me as at all wicked. When it came down to it he was just a very nice man who has previously had very bad taste in fiancees, luckily I have a soft spot for charming yet nice men. Of both of them, it was Miranda who was the most shocking (for her time) being a woman of business. Miranda also went through an ugly duckingesque transformation as she gains more confidence and I liked seeing her stand up for herself; my favourite parts of the book are seeing her tell various people off, including Win.
The only part of the book I didn’t like was towards the end where all sorts of misunderstanding happen that seemed to pop out the blue and didn’t serve any kind of purpose and to me read a lot like page filler. Luckily by then I already liked the book and the people in it so it baffled me that this was put in.
A great read, I am definitely going to continue exploring more of Victoria Alexander’s books and look forward to the next book in this series.
*ARC provided by publisher
“I was looking forward to this book because I'm a big fan of this author, and I really liked what I've read of the hero from appearances in other stories. The heroine has also been a supporting character in a previous book. The setting of this book is Victorian England.
Both the hero and heroine in this book have undergone changes to their personality, due largely to circumstance. They both seem to be unaware of it until pointed out to them by friends and family. Winfield Elliot, Viscount Stillwell was something of a rake in his younger days. After the defection of his cousin, three failed engagements (none of the three being his fault despite public opinion), and some maturing, he is still the charming, likable man he always was but also became more responsible and a man to be counted on. At the opening of the book, a fire damaging his family country home and facing his father's mortality shocks him and have him acting not quite himself at times. Lady Miranda Garrett is a widow. She comes from a large and opinionated family. In her family she was often regarded as the meek and mild one. She later married a man she loved, but she often acquiesced to his wishes and let him take all of the credit for her contributions to his architectural firm. After her husband's death, she is still hiding behind the scenes in many respects. She also continues to let her family think of her as they always have. Win & Miranda meet when Win hires her firm to repair and restore his home. Their first meeting is rocky because Win expects to be dealing with a man. They have a brief battle of wills in which Miranda is the victor. This sets the stage for their future dealings with each other. The meetings are filled with verbal sparring, which eventually leads to attraction. Miranda's intelligence and strength sparks Win to voice some conservative ramblings just to be contrary and draw out Miranda. I like watching the moment when Miranda finally thinks of Win as charming and Win realizes his desire for Miranda physically as well as intellectually. My favorite moments were when he shows her the folly and shows her his romantic side, and when they both sing each other's praises to her family. I like that Win isn't turned off when he finds out that she is the brains behind her firm, only wanting and waiting for her to tell him because he wants her trust. I also liked how, near the very end, he doesn't go for her brother's stupid plan to get her to admit it. The ending is fabulous and totally true to the characters.”
“Lady Miranda Garrett has been the secret behind her husband’s, John, successful architectural firm until the day he was accidentally killed on a work site. Then she had to come up with a way to continue supporting his employees, keep up business as usual, without her husband to take the credit for her work. You see, London would never accept a lady architect and although she has been the designer for years to keep the business profitable she must maintain her secret. She now has the opportunity to work on a large job for Viscount Winfield Elliot. He is known to be wicked, engaged 3 times and somewhat of a lady’s man. Miranda must maintain her secret while keeping Winfield Elliot in the dark or all will be ruined.
Viscount Winfield Elliot’s family home has been ravaged by fire and only the firm owned by Tempest and Garret can handle the rebuild in a timely matter. But all isn’t what it seems about the mysterious Lady Garrett. Not wanting to trust her firm to the rebuild, Win hires an investigator to find out all he can about Garrett and Tempest. Although there is mistrust and secrets both are inexplicitly drawn toward each other. What begins as a combative relationship soon becomes so much more. The question , can their secrets destroy it all?
This was a sweet and enjoyable story filled with witty banter and lots of verbal feuding. I found the story interesting but felt the narrative between characters was quite extensive and the relationship was an extremely slow build. I also had trouble feeling the “wickedness” but found Win, our hero, charming and often reasonably befuddled. The Importance of Being Wicked was a charming, slow building historical romance. 3 stars.
This ARC copy of The Importance of Being Wicked was given to me by Netgalley and Kensington Publishing Corp. - Zebra in exchange for an honest review. Publish Date January 29, 2013.”