I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Wicked Pursuit by Isabella Bradford
Published by Ballantine on February 25, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
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In Isabella Bradford’s enthralling new trilogy, three noble brothers—London’s most scandalous rakes—are about to do the unthinkable: settle down. Harry Fitzroy, Earl of Hargreave, is the first to meet his match and lose his heart . . . to a lady he least expected.
As the eldest son of the Duke of Breconridge, Harry Fitzroy is duty-bound to marry—and marry well. Giving up his rakish ways for the pleasures of a bride’s bed becomes a delightful prospect when Harry chooses beautiful Lady Julia Barclay, the catch of the season. But a fall from his horse puts a serious crimp in his plans. Abandoned by Julia before he can propose, the unlucky bachelor finds himself trapped in the country in the care of Julia’s younger sister.
Harry has never met a woman like Lady Augusta. Utterly without artifice, Gus is clever and capable, and seems to care not a fig for society. After a taboo kiss awakens passion that takes them both by surprise, Harry realizes he’d almost given his heart to the wrong sister. While London tongues wag, he’ll use his most seductive powers of persuasion to convince the reluctant Gus that she belongs with him—as his equal, his love, his wife.
Harry Fitzroy, Earl of Hagreave, was ready for marriage and had set his sights on the beautiful but fickle Lady Julia Wetherby. He left London with the purpose of proposing to her at her family’s home in Norfolk but was seriously injured after being thrown from a horse just before he was to ask for her hand. If not for her sister, Lady Augustus (Gus), Harry wouldn’t have survived the accident.
Harry is extremely handsome and considered quite the catch given he’s the heir to his father’s dukedom. However, Julia believes he’s going to end up crippled so she goes after greener pastures, leaving him to the care of her sister. Over time, Gus and Harry develop a friendship that blossoms into a romance.
What I enjoyed about the story
Gus is the plain sister but there’s nothing bland about her heart and capabilities. I liked that she wasn’t a shrinking violet when it mattered and knew how to handle the arrogant and often prickly Harry. I eventually came to like him, primarily because he recognized the beauty within Gus and evolved from the shallow man who would once deserved someone like Julia. Their romance was lovely, developing slowly as they got to know each other beyond a nurse/patient relationship. It was also in keeping with the norms of the era.
I loved that the characters followed a unique path in the story…none of that angst over the returning sister, etc. They had different challenges mostly due to Harry’s personality changes and his altered physical condition.
The bottom line
It was a welcome change of pace to not be contending with London society for 90% of the book! The setting is in the countryside with a more relaxed atmosphere and different issues. I’m a fan of the related series (the Wylder Sisters) and am now hooked on this one. While there are references to some of the characters from those stories, this one stands completely on its own. This was a very good start to what promises to be an interesting series.
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