Monday, May 24, 2010

Too Wicked to Kiss by Erica Ridley


From the ravens circling its spires to the gargoyles adorning its roof, Blackberry Manor looms ominously over its rambling grounds. And behind its doors, amid the flickering shadows and secret passageways, danger lies in wait.


Evangeline Pemberton has been invited to a party at the sprawling estate of reclusive Gavin Lioncroft, who is rumored to have murdered his parents. Initially, Gavin's towering presence and brusque manner instill fear in Evangeline...until his rakish features and seductive attentions profoundly arouse her. But when a guest is murdered, Evangeline is torn. Could the man to whom she is so powerfully drawn, also be a ruthless killer?

This book was part of my Sears haul and boy am I glad I didn't actually end up paying for this. I had really expected to like Ridley's debut more than I did. For most of the book I was so turned off by most of the characters it was a real effort to finish it. Evangeline is young woman who can see the past (or future) when she touches people. She's on the run from her abusive step father, but when she asks for sanctuary from one of her deceased mother's friends she instead finds herself stuck in a plot of trap Lioncroft into marriage. Add in a way sketchy 'house party' and a murder and you've got one mixed up gothic romance.

My ambivalence could be attributed to the fact that I don't read a lot of gothic historical romance, but I still feel like these characters could be better. I don't really love the way Evangeline is so much at the mercy of the people around her, Lady Stanton is a complete b*tch and I feel doesn't get enough of her own commuepance in the end, and finally Lioncroft blows hot and cold throught the whole book, depending of course on how much he misunderstands what's actually going on at any given time.

I know that sounds really bad, but the book does pull it out in the end. The murder mystery comes to a satisfactory ending, with enough intrigue to make you understand just how much complexity each of these characters actually has. Lioncroft finally realizea that he's kind of being a douche and reveals his feelings for Evangeline (I really like the picnic scene where both of them try to avoid looking at each other and he begrudgingly confesses how he feels), plus he gets to be a hero - though not too much of one. Even though Evangeline is scarred by the abuse from her stepfather she's able to pull herself out of her hysteria enough to start the process of escaping on her own. Then when Lioncroft does get there, she's the one who finally takes matters into her own hands to protect him and their future together.

I'd have to say from all that positives and negatives the book comes out okay, and I would like to read Ridley's next book to see where she goes as an author, but I'd definitely categorize this book as a library read.

Overall Feeling - Eh. It pulls itself out of a rut in the end, but for most of the book I was kind of confused why everyone loved it so much.

Series - 1) Too Wicked to Kiss 2) Too Sinful to Deny (Spring 2011)