My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander

Setting: Victorian 1886

*Book 1 in Sinful Family Secrets series*

Summary:

Evelyn Hadley-Attwater has it all—a genteel Victorian life replete with loving husband, ball gowns and elegant parties. No one, including the man she married, suspects that she was once “Eve”, a spy for England’s most enigmatic intelligence agency. Summoned for one final assignment, the excitement of her former life and memories of her mysterious, flirtatious boss “Sir” prove too tempting . . .

Adrian Hadley Attwater is a respectable, dignified gentleman. But even the most proper gentlemen have secrets of their own. Secrets from the rest of the world, from their families, from their wives. Secrets that have a price. Now, as the veil of secrecy frays, a tantalizing game of cat and mouse will test the bounds of unfailing love…

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Trailer

Review:

Despite my preconceptions of this author and her last book, which I found disappointing, I decided to give this new book a shot. I thought the idea was fresh, intriguing and I absolutely adored the trailer. Plus, that cover was just downright irresistible and as much as I try not to be, I am a superficial reader. And while I wasn’t exactly blown away, the book wasn’t bad but it could have been better. So much better.

This isn’t exactly your typical romance as it starts after the happily ever after when the hero and heroine have fallen in love and settled down already. In truth, a more accurate term to describe this book would be a ‘reaffirmation of love’ romance as the conflict arises not in the courtship stage, but after the curtain typically closes in most romances, leading the hero and heroine to question their relationship and fall in love all over again. I really liked the idea of a heroine who is a spy and who keeps her secrets from her husband-it would lead to some interesting confrontations when the secret finally came out. The thing is, the plot progressed not at all how I imagined it, which normally would be a good thing but here ended up being confusing and somehow aimless. The main conflict isn’t what you expect and instead makes the hero unlikable for most of the book.

It started off very promising and the plot kept me guessing, but ended up dragging towards the middle and then it became unbelievable towards the end. The way the hero treats his wife is almost unforgivable and it would take more from me to forgive his uncalled for behavior. The only really good thing in this book was the secondary love story between the hero’s friend and the heroine’s friend. I loved their scenes and wanted more of them.

All in all, I really wish this book lived up to its magnificent trailer. What a great idea… but sadly not executed well at all. It was funny and it had its moments but it wasn’t as good as it could have been. It’s never a good thing when a trailer for a novel is ten times better than the real thing.

Sensuality Rating: Very Warm (Love scenes are short and explicit)

Verdict: Just ok.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander

Setting: Victorian 1885

Summary:

Widowed Julia, Lady Winterset, has inherited a book—a very shocking book—that every gentleman in London seems to want. For a charismatic businessman, it’s a chance to build an empire. For a dashing novelist, it could guarantee fame. But to a proud, domineering earl, it means everything…

Harrison Landingham, Earl of Mountdale, can’t let the obstinate Julia release the shameless memoir that could ruin his family’s name. But the only way to stop her may be equally sordid—if far more pleasurable. For his rivals are intent on seducing the captivating woman to acquire the book. And Harrison isn’t the sort to back away from a competition with the stakes this high. Now the winner will claim both the scandalous memoirs and the heart of their lovely owner…

Click cover for more info!

Trailer

Review:

As soon as I saw and swooned over the gorgeous and intriguing 3 part mini-movie trailer for this book, I had to pick it up despite having never read anything from this author before.  I mean, with a trailer like that, the book obviously had to be worth the effort that went into promoting it! 😀

Well, once again, I was wrong, and quite sadly too. Seems I really can’t trust the appearance of a book, no matter how well promoted it was. I really wanted to like this book but what could have been a fresh, witty, sexy, fun opposites attract story turned out to be a roller coaster of clichés, poorly written characters and a very undeveloped romance.

Such a great premise but so poorly executed. Three guys (including our hero) all fighting to win the memoirs and the hand of the heroine? Sounds like a great setup for some funny, entertaining scenes. And yet, the other two men were barely mentioned at all, except to be an excuse for the hero to get his hands on the heroine. Some of the scenes were downright cheesy and unrealistic-the kind of thing you would find in a Barbara Cartland romance.  I also had such a hard time believing the hero and heroine could ever live happily ever after at all because all they seemed to do every time they met was fight, and when they weren’t fighting they were busy in the bedroom. Sounds like a perfect fairytale relationship, doesn’t it? Not.

And then there was the heroine who was supposed to be rational and sensible (and granted she was at the start of the book) but ended up being completely irrational and immature, who seemed to like nothing more than shouting at the hero for no reason and then storming out without letting him get a word in. I honestly felt like slapping her a couple of times because her behaviour was so ‘What the heck!’ The hero was actually a decent chap and only at the start did he really behave in an overly arrogant, condescending manner toward the heroine, which kind of defied the purpose of the opposites attract thing.

There turned out to be very little wit. The only character I really liked was Julia’s best friend Veronica who had the best, wittiest lines in the whole book, and who I felt would make a much better heroine than Little Miss Tantrum. Most of the plot was predictable and boring and I can’t help but wonder how the author is a bestseller. It seems another case of a writer rushing their work to fulfil a contract.

Despite it all, there were some good points to be mentioned-excerpts from the memoirs are inserted every couple of chapters and made for some nice reading. There is also a supernatural element *coughghostcough* which made for some interesting scenes. But even this was not enough to cover the book’s mistakes.

All in all, this was another case of a great opportunity missed. I’ll be watching the trailers again, but this time I’ll be imagining my own story and ending and I suggest you do the same.

Sensuality Rating: Warm (Love scenes are short and non explicit)

Verdict: Just bad. I highly recommend you skip this one.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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