Wicked Designs

by Lauren Smith

Smith, Lauren; Wicked Designs

Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication date: 7-Jan-2014
Format: ebook
Pages: ~407
Series: The League of Rogues (#1)
Genres: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781619217454
Source: Google Play Store
Rating: 3-5 stars

The League of Rogues takes what they want—but have they taken on too much?
For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple—find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books.
It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes.
Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends, and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with. He has no plans to marry anytime soon—if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler’s niece, the difficult debutante’s blend of sweetness and sharp tongue make him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love.
Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric’s shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard—and rob him of the woman he can’t live without.
Product Warnings:
This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.
-Goodreads

REVIEW

First impressions of books are important to me, and as a very visual person that comes from the cover. In this novel’s case, I was not overly impressed. It only gave off that trashy historical romance vibe, but with a pretty color scheme. What it did imply about the story is that it has a risqué aspect, and that alone intrigued me.

Having read quite a few historical romances, I’ve become very critical of the new ones I read. Having said this, I feel that the premise behind this novel, the kidnapping of Emily, was weak. The debt alone did not seem to be such a big deal that it warrants abduction, particularly when it is a Duke doing it, since Dukes traditionally have more money than they need. Additionally it felt as if Godric, the duke mentioned, and Emily’s, the abducted’s, passion towards one another escalated unnaturally fast. I can understand lust at first sight, but she was just abducted, I feel that her indignation of that would have thwarted her lust at least for a bit longer than happened in the story.  My last sour note towards this novel is that the Johnathan-just-happens-to-be-the-Duke’s-unknown-half-brother sub-plot could have been more involved and/or explained in greater depth.

Despite the aspects of the novel I was skeptical about, I still recommend it because of the league itself. The series is titled “The League of Rogues” (which I assume means that every novel will explore another league member’s love story) and the common ground that links the novels is a group of men with varying titles (for example Duke, Viscount, Earl) who have a great friendship that carries throughout every novel (well, at least the two I’ve read so far). While your typical romance novel dwells solely on the actions of the main protagonists (the couple) and some evil antagonist, this series explores  the side characters just as much as the main protagonists. Through this we are exposed to the loyalty of the league while also seeing that they stand up for what they personally believe in.

As far as our main protagonists go, Godric, the Duke of Essex, seems to be fickle to me. After being introduced to the rest of the league, I like Godric the least. Quite often he just needs to check his attitude, and his manhandling of women. Emily Parr, the abductee comes across as annoying at times and has the flaw I find with many female protagonists, which is that she needs to stop and think occasionally. Besides that character flaw, she is a pretty strong woman who brings out the best in the league. I wish she had fallen for Ashton instead of Godric, but I guess I’ll have to wait until his book to see if I’m satisfied with his love story.

Overall, I recommend the book, if not for this story, then for its sequel.

What do you think of Wicked Designs?

Next wednesday I’ll post my review for Wicked Designs‘s sequel, His Wicked Seduction.

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