Too Wicked to Tame
Sophie Jordan gives Too Wicked to Tame a strong opening. While the author has a smooth and enjoyable writing style, it’s unfortunately not enough to make this book a success.
Lady Portia Derring is on her way to meet a wealthy earl whom her family hopes will make a suitable match for her. Portia has turned up her nose at many previous offers, and though she’s almost on the shelf and her family is near poverty, she is no more willing to wed now than she was in the first of her five seasons.
When her coach is stranded in a storm and their coachman seems to have abandoned them, she decides to walk to the village, during which she nearly collides with a reckless traveler on horseback. They quickly trade insults, but the man who tells her his name is Heath is gentlemanly enough to accompany Portia to the inn where they part ways, both very affected by their encounter. However, it’s not long before she sees him again – Heath is actually the Earl of Moreton, the man whom her grandmother wants her to marry. He’s not happy to see her, especially as a marriage prospect.
The opening is truly delicious, as the sparks fly between the characters and their immediate attraction is obvious, but, unfortunately, the rest of the book doesn’t have the same level of intensity and originality. Portia and Heath keep their distance as they try to fight their attraction to each other. To Portia, marriage means a loss of freedom (where have I heard that before?), while Heath’s family has a history of madness, and he does not want to ever be married and pass this on to any children.
Portia is just okay as a heroine; she’s stubborn but curious, intelligent but sometimes lacking in common sense. Heath is a bit more interesting, but his conflict regarding his reluctance to marry is presented in a very cut and dry manner. The author really doesn’t spend a lot of time plumbing the depths of his plight, and that’s unfortunate because there was a lot of ground left unexplored.
The larger problem is simply that after Portia settles in for the visit, nothing much goes on, and what does occur happens very slowly. They have multiple trite encounters due to the manipulations of his match-making grandmother. It takes forever for them to have their first kiss, and in the meantime, you really don’t learn that much about these two as individuals or as a couple.
Jordan’s pleasing writing style makes things somewhat bearable, but nothing could make me ignore the fact that half-way through the book, Portia and Heath seem to have taken steps backwards in their relationship. Subplots with Heath’s neglected sisters or Heath’s mistress might have been interesting, but they are only given intermittent attention.
When the plot finally picks up, it’s simply too late because the author tries to pack too much action into the remaining pages. I really wanted to like this book, but it was simply too uneven for me to do so.