Thursday, January 17, 2013

When She Was Wicked by Anne Barton

Miss Annabelle Honeycote has had to turn to a very unsavory way to get money to pay her mothers growing medical bills-extortion from some of her clients.  As many of the woman who are getting new dresses pay her no mind, they openly talk about some of scandalous stories about the ton.  So while it pains her to do it, Annabelle uses these secrets to her advantage to get some money (never exorbitant amounts!) to help take care of her mother and sister.  Unfortunately, her latest target, Owen, the Duke of Huntford, refuses to just hand over some blackmail money and sets out to trap her instead.  He will not tolerate any secret of his beloved sisters to be put out in society but he is very intrigued by the bespectacled woman he catches.  He decides the best way to keep an eye on Annabelle is to have her make new wardrobes for his sisters while staying at his home.  As much as it pains Annabelle to leave her sister and mother, she has to agree and quickly strikes up a wonderful friendship with Owen's two sisters...and finds herself desperately attracted to a man far, far above her station.  How will Owen and Annabelle find a way to be together, while Annabelle holds her shameful secret from his sisters and the full truth of it from Owen?  Can Owen forgive her when her secret keeping almost hurts his sister?

I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely debut!  I love stories with dressmaker heroines as they fall for someone above their current lot in life and also the attention to detail about dress construction.  So much work and time for one garment-and all by hand!  Annabelle is determined to do what she can to help her ailing mother, who seems to be fading away and while it pains her to turn to blackmail, it works to help pay for the medicines needed.  She is proud, clever, feisty, strong and loyal and I loved watching her fall for Owen.  I wish she had explained the full extent of her blackmail schemes as it comes back in a big way but that added some nice drama to the storyline.  Owen was a delicious gentleman who takes his responsibilities to his family seriously and I loved the way he took care of Annabelle and her family...even though she tried to resist his help.  His love for his sisters was wonderful but the subplot with one of them was a bit odd (how she came to stop speaking) and dragged on a little too long for my taste.  The banter between Owen and Annabelle was lovely and the writing crisp and enjoyable.  Recommended for fans of determined, fiesty,  loyal heroines who work for a living and fall for someone above her class, a hero who is protective, sexy and also determined mixed with lovely attention to details and fun banter and sizzling tension.  I know I will be picking up more from Anne Barton! 4 stars

eARC provided by Grand Central Publishing, Forever, by

Honeycote series
Once She Was Tempted
(Daphne's story, Annabelle's sister)
Release date to be announced


  1. This novel sounds like a really good one and your great review only made me want to read it even more. I'll keep my eye out for the release date. Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

  2. Love the heroines strong and feisty! It sounds like there will be lots of laughter throughout the read too which I like. :)

    1. Me too! Humor goes a long ways for me!

  3. Sounds good. I will definitely be checking this book out.