One Wicked Night
One Wicked Night is something of a mixed bag. Although I enjoyed Robins’ latest at times, it never truly came alive for me. There was also a forcible seduction scene in the book that left me feeling a little uncomfortable because were the situation was reversed, it could be considered rape. Despite that shocking scene, the rest of the book tended to fade into obscurity for me. And the occasional overly descriptive language kept pulling me out of the story as well.
Lillian Kane, Lady Janus, is never going to marry. She suffered through her mother’s horrible marriage to her evil step-father and is determined not to suffer the same fate. To further her aims, she has shed her innocent appearance and become mistress to Dillon, the Marquis of Beaumont. In reality, they are old friends and the front assists them both. At a party, she meets a dashing Bow Street Runner, Nicholas Redford, and is immediately attracted to him. She never believes she will have a chance to meet him again, although she follows his exploits and the start up of his own investigation business in the papers. Over a year later, when Dillon is framed for a murder he never could have committed, she goes to Nicholas for help. He flatly refuses her plea for he believes the evidence the Runners have against Dillon is irrefutable.
At this point, the plot takes an uncomfortable turn. Lillian’s former actress friend Fanny Longbottom concocts a plan to convince Nicholas to help Lillian. This plan requires Lillian to forcibly seduce Nicholas, because this will, in a roundabout fashion, show him why Dillon could not have committed the murder. The seduction scene was just icky – there is no other way to describe it. Drugs were used, Nicholas was tied down, and although Lillian has a crush on him, she doesn’t really know Nicholas, who clearly has no say in the matter at all.
Lillian’s reasons for the setup were somewhat believable, which is why Nicholas decides to assist her in clearing Dillon’s name. But then we are introduced to the caricature-ish evil villains, two of them in this case, who create havoc for the couple as they investigate. Unfortunately, the rest of the secondary characters are almost just as flat. Both Nicholas and Lillian have the “wise” older friend to give them advice, although in Lillian’s case, Fanny’s advice isn’t that wonderful.
Lillian’s frequent protestations against marriage grew tiresome, and Nicholas’ constant descriptions of Lillian’s “azure eyes” drew me out of the story every time. Nicholas was an orphan, which the author uses as a reason for Nicholas to fear commitment and parenthood. Nearly every time they managed to have a conversation one of them brought up the “I can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, marry you because…” excuse, which became tedious rather quickly.
Most of the conflict in this story is external, because Lillian and Nicholas are constantly involved in investigating Dillon’s legal troubles, and later in the book, direct threats against Lillian. There is not much chance to truly get to know either of the characters. When they are not investigating the crime, they are investigating each other in the bedroom. While that made for a spicy love story, it didn’t connect me with the characters. The story’s resolution was entirely too convenient, but since that seemed to follow the rest of the entirely too convenient plot happenings in the book, it wasn’t terribly surprising.
This wasn’t a horrible book, it was mostly a very average read for me. Certainly anyone who dislikes forced seduction scenes (even of men) should skip this one. The rest of the book was entirely forgettable for me, except for that one scene. Surely there’s something better to buy in bookstores now, so unless you simply must read every Regency-set historical, save your money for something else.