Desert Isle Keeper
If His Kiss Is Wicked
Why haven’t I been reading Jo Goodman? That will be the question floating through many minds when they pick up If His Kiss is Wicked. I’m certainly pondering it. I’m going to turn dictator on this one occasion because you must, simply must read this.
Restell Gardner is a man of many talents; a man whom fellow members of society go to if they need something done with discretion and speed. So it is of no great surprise when he is told a young lady who won’t give her name has called on him. The surprise comes when the lady reveals her bruised and battered face.
Emma Hathaway is living through a nightmare. By doing a favor for her cousin, Marisol, she ended up abducted and abused for three days before she managed to make her escape. She doesn’t recall exactly what happened to her and still isn’t sure if she was mistaken for her cousin or if she was the target. She needs protection for herself and for Marisol. She also wants answers. Due to her uncle’s place in society as a well known artist, the family wants to keep this as quiet as can be, but once Emma learns of Restell’s reputation, she knows he is possibly her only hope.
Each of the main characters are simply superb. Restell is the poor relation of a large and loving family who makes no qualms about accepting what looks to be his wealthy brother’s charity. He is a wannabe rake (much to his chagrin), extremely intelligent, witty and singular in the world of romantic fiction. I loved how he read like a Regency era PI. Maybe other authors set out to do this same thing – and I don’t mean the spies that crowd 19th century Romanceland England – but I haven’t noticed any until Restell strolled into my life.
Emma is equally singular with her strength and smarts that shine through even when she admits to be frightened of walking out of doors. She handles Restell so well he doesn’t even realize he’s being handled. Even with this strength, she is vulnerable, but doesn’t hesitate to ask for help. She is a model for heroines should look up to.
The secondary characters stand out as well. Emma’s cousin Marisol could easily have been portrayed as either the wicked stepsister or vapid debutante, but Ms. Goodman blends the two surprisingly well. The same goes with Marisol’s fiancé and Uncle Arthur. They are combinations of stock characters we have come to know, and these combinations come off as fresh and new.
There has to be a word said about the dialogue in this book. I dog-eared so many pages I intended to quote from that this review would just end up being the entire 384 pages of the book. If you are a fan of traditional Regencies, but like a bit more meat to your witty repartee, than this is for you. Restell and Emma’s conversations are moving, funny and altogether original. From the way Restell proposes to each other’s first declaration of love, you will know you won’t read anything like it again.
I had a small problem with the villain of the book. It wasn’t very original, as all the other plot lines are. I was expecting something a little more. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment, however.
Now that you have finished reading this review, I insist you find yourself a copy of If His Kiss is Wicked and read. Now. I’m sure you’ll thank me when you’re finished. And this concludes my short career in dictatorship. I’m off to make sure Jo Goodman is comfy in her new spot on my auto-buy list.