Wicked Widow, by Amanda Quick

>> Friday, February 07, 2003

Yesterday I read Wicked Widow, by Amanda Quick. I've had it in my TBR shelf for ages, because I wasn't crazy about her previous 3 books (Affair, With This Ring and I Thee Wed). It seemed to me her best books were the first 12 (the four trios with one-word titles, starting with "S", "R", "D" and "M"), so I wasn't in a hurry to read Wicked Widow.

Madeline Deveridge is aware of the whispers behind her back, the rumors that she dispatched her husband to the next world and concealed her crime. But she has a far more pressing problem than her reputation as the Wicked Widow. It's impossible to believe that her late husband is haunting her and her aunt, but something odd is happening, and Madeline doesn't dare take chances. Summoning the brilliant, reclusive Artemas Hunt, secret owner of London's favorite pleasure pavilions and master of arcane talents, she blackmails him into providing help.

As soon as the bargain is struck, Artemas and Madeline find their arrangement complicated by searing desire, and the frightening recognition that the ghost poses a very real danger. Now they must plunge into a world of intrigue and ancient mysteries, where a calculating killer--and a tantalizing passion--will not be denied.

I enjoyed this one, yes, but I'd rate it only a B-, a good grade, but low for her. The same elements I enjoy in her other books are here, but the problem is the suspense is more emphasized and the romance less. The characterization also suffered, IMO. I didn't know too much about Madeline's and Artemis' motivations when I finished the book, whereas I always did in previous Quicks.

I really liked some details. Some people might feel Artemis having spent 5 years plotting to avenge his former lover is a turn-off, but I thought well of him for it. Very often, the hero's behaviour towards his mistress (even the fact that he has one) is less than heroic, IMO. Artemis cared for her and is willing to go to some lengths for her.

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