Amanda Thomas was stood up at her wedding. Now, having gone to her fiance’s hotel to find out what the hell happened, she encounters a man who says her beloved is an imposter. Everyone agrees with him, bowing and scraping in a way that strongly suggests he may very well be the real Viscount Ripton. Here we are just one chapter into the Victorian romance Your Wicked Heart and our heroine is alone, penniless, unemployed, confused, jilted, stranded, and still wearing her very uncomfortable wedding dress. To add insult to injury, the man claiming to be the real Viscount Ripton accuses Amanda of being a swindler and insists that she travel with him on his quest to find the truth. Sure, he’s gorgeous, but that doesn’t make up for the scorn and accusations. Ripton, for his part, will not be distracted by Amanda’s Bo Peep prettiness and latches on to her as the best hope of finding the cousin masquerading under his name. Hijinks ensue. Fun, frolicsome ones because this is a road trip novella and hijinks love taking it on the lam.
As I have opinions about historical romance that I feel compelled to share, I must say that I always feel the road trip is the romance plot which requires the most violent willing suspension of disbelief. The couple is thrown together intimately and in defiance of even more societal conventions than usual. Your Wicked Heart also follows that pattern, but I didn’t mind. A romp was not what I expected from Meredith Duran, or for just 99 cents on Amazon, but a lighthearted adventure is what the story provides. Amanda is plucky and determined. Ripton is dutiful and single-minded. Worn down by Ripton’s intensity and sense of duty, Amanda’s natural charm has the same effect on Ripton. Because Duran’s greatest strength is character development, the more serious personal elements are what help balance the novella’s playful aspects. Your Wicked Heart is a fun quick read with a small twist at the end that makes everything feel a little more gravitas-y.
Also by Meredith Duran:
Rules for Reckless Series (not entirely interconnected, more of a theme)
That Scandalous Summer – very good
Your Wicked Heart – delightful novella
Fool Me Twice – excellent
Lady Be Good – nothing special
Luck Be a Lady