Trashy Read #6: Wicked Becomes You, by Meredith Duran
Welcome back to Trashy Reads! It's been a whole month since I finished a trashy romance novel, and I've been developing quite the "To-Read" stack during that time. One of the top books on that list was Meredith Duran's Wicked Becomes You, which got good reviews on the romance websites I follow.
I wasn't disappointed. This historical romance was great fun. Even better, it takes place during the Victorian era, instead of the usual Regency period that romance novels tend to visit. I think I might become hooked on these Victorian books, though. The time period is more interesting to me than Regency because of the rise of the industrial middle class. In fact, the heroine of this book, Gwen Maudsley, comes from a family that made their own money decades earlier. She's used to facing the snobbery of the aristocratic classes in Britain. This aspect of Gwen's family history made her a much more intriguing character, in my opinion.
Anyway, the story is simple: Gwen is an orphan whose older brother died a few years earlier in a tavern scuffle. Her brother's best friend, Alex Ramsay, feels it's his fault his friend died. Blah blah blah. Gwen gets left by not one, but TWO, men at the altar and decides to start living life by her own rules. She basically attaches herself to Alex as her guide, they travel around France, fall in love, et cetera.
What makes this book likeable is the time period, as I mentioned before, and Alex. Unlike most historical romance heroes, he's not domineering or over the top. He's just a guy who wants to live his life. His relationship with Gwen begins as a friendship that turns into something more. He's the kind of guy I occasionally harbor crushes on - independent and easy-going, a good guy that has fun (but not too much). I couldn't help but like him.
The writing is good, if not anything to get particularly excited about. Duran is obviously smart and does her research (she's a doctoral student in anthropology), which made the book a breeze to read. I'd definitely read her again. Although one of the plot elements (a land sale between Alex's brother and some jerk) sort of ends up a dud, I found the story itself to be enjoyable and easy to follow. Overall, a very pleasant reading experience.
Coming Up: I have a pile of historicals to read, but I've been neglecting my first love, contemporary romances. So you'll probably see more contemporary books during June.