Lost at war and suffering from amnesia for seven years, Garrett, duke of Calton, discovers on his return to England that his wife Sophie has married his best friend, Tristan. Worse, he’s been declared legally dead, and Tristan and Sophie are so in love that he walks in on them in bed together. Sophie is astounded and grateful for the return of her first, youthful love, but completely torn between him and Tristan, who has stolen her heart in the meantime. As the men fight for her legally and romantically, Sophie has to make a very difficult decision between the two men she loves most.
This book intrigued me from the start. Honestly, I didn’t see how it was going to work. I’m too used to a romance novel having a specific couple that I know is going to end up together. This one had me antsy, because I had no idea who she was going to end up with at first, and then when I’d chosen who I thought was the “right” one, I worried she was going to pick the other one! I was right, for the record, but it shook me a little because I’d never thought much about what a relief that happily ever after ending is. I read a lot of books without them and when I read a romance, I like the security. This was great, but I’m not sure I’d want it in every romance.
Part of that is because the story is so heartwrenching. Sophie is tortured about these men. She’s thrilled that Garrett’s come back and she still loves him and she is still attracted to him, but in the meantime she has grown and built a life and love with Tristan. She has no idea what to do and the process of her choosing is sometimes agonizing. I don’t think that it’s needlessly drawn out or anything; I definitely felt that all of the scenes were necessary and developed the story enough for her to come to the conclusion that she eventually did. And I liked Sophie and felt her indecision was justified. The men went through a similar process, realizing their place in her life, but they are agonized too. For the most part, this is a whole book of people making tough choices, looking at the love they have for each other and thinking about it.
There is a sketch of a larger story at work, complete with villain, that serves to yank the novel out of the characters’ agony occasionally and force them to focus on something else. I liked this story, actually, even though it was mostly predictable, and felt that its not-so-perfect conclusion was suitable and makes me interested in further novels in the series to see if the problem is resolved. This book certainly comes to an end, but there is that hint of more. The excerpt also reveals that the rejected man is the hero of the next book, which I like, and I’m looking forward to a continuation of his story.
A Hint of Wicked is a great read for any fan of historical romance, but be warned that it isn’t entirely obvious where the book is going until the last third!
Thank you to Keira at Love Romance Passion for sending me her copy!