The Importance of Being Wicked
Book 1 in the Wild Quartet series
Narrated by Anne Flosnik
Publication date Mar 10, 2015 from Tantor Audio
Running time 9 hrs 26 min
And it is available in Mass Maket Paperback and e-book from HarperCollins/Avon
Published 11/27/2012, 384 pages
Audiobook provided by Tantor for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
The Wild Quartet
In 1789 four young Englishmen, best friends, were expelled from Oxford and set off for France to experience the heady first days of the French Revolution. Then things began to go wrong.
Ten years later, Robert Townsend is dead, leaving his widow and three best friends to face up to the mistakes of their past.
The four novels of The Wild Quartet will soon be available as audio books, beginning with The Importance of Being Wicked [which was released] March 10, 2015.
The rules of society don’t apply to Caro and her coterie of bold men and daring women. But when passions flare, even the strongest will surrender to the law of love….?
Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress’s cousin, easily the least proper woman he’s ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble…
Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had. Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke…while Thomas discovers there’s a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.
I found a personal resonance with this book. I think any woman who dated someone their parents did not like, or who was outright objectionable will understand the difficulty admitting to herself, or to anyone, that the love interest was not perfect, they weren’t suited or that it was a downright disaster, will understand what Caro is coming to grips with. That and the pile of debts; debts still coming out fro under the powdered wigs of the stuffy British Ton. Still Caro is a free-spirit; she and her late husband always were.
I liked how Caro works this all out in her mind so she can carry on with living. Having run off to marry at 17, she is still young and still maturing. Coming to grips with the decisions of adolescence is a big aspect of adulthood. Plus, she has to get rid of the legacy of debt with which he left her so she doesn’t end up on the street. Miranda Neville brings us the British Ton in all its uppercrusty silliness and “wrong-headed” social mores. But she gives us heroines who are smart, spunky and who, after a while, don’t really care about what the ladies of the Ton think or whether they’ll get into Almacks.
Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has to determine how he’ll come out from under the weight of his father’s very impressive debts to support his mother and sisters in the style to which a duke’s family is expected to have. And, he must find Ducal dowries for his twin sisters. The amount mentioned would be more than the equivalent o a four year, Ivy League education with tuition, living expenses and books without student loans or scholarships.
It’s a lot of pressure.
So, Thomas follows his family tradition of looking for a well-off heiress to handle the family debt. Caro’s cousin is the perfect choice. But he and Caro are really attracted to each other, despite the gaps in their standards.
There’s an interesting conundrum: Thomas’ family tradition is off finding rich heiresses. His father broke tradition, marrying for beauty (not love) and the marriage didn’t really work out. But, Thomas realizes that he and his wife must actually have something in common besides money. He’s all about duty and doesn’t question it until he starts courting Caro’s cousin Ann who is staying with Caro.
How incredibly selfish would it be to marry a wealthy woman just for money when it was a lifetime commitment and you knew you would not be happy together?
Neville looks at the differences in standards for men and women regarding sex, marrying for money, and entering into a liaison for the purpose of paying off debt.
Caro’s Mother and brother are real pieces of work who wrote her off when she married her late husband and who refuse to assist her. Reading historicals always makes me wonder if the British aristocracy was actually as effed up as it is written! Then I look at actual history and think, maybe more!
I enjoy this series which has just started to come out on Audio. This one is well enough produced: the narrator is not my favorite because she tends towards a sing song cadence, but neither was she objectionable and there are no extraneous noises.
I recommend Neville’s series; I like her writing, the issues, and her very flawed, very human, characters. Come back next week when I look at THE RUIN OF A ROGUE, the next audiobook in the series. It presents us with another unconventional heroine.