cover image Tall, Dark and Wicked

Tall, Dark and Wicked

Madeline Hunter. Jove, $7.99 mass market (400p) ISBN 978-0-515-15517-4

Barrister Lord Ives Hemmingford, whose illegitimate half-brother starred in His Wicked Reputation, is asked by the Crown to prosecute a supposed counterfeiter. This duty is complicated when the accused man’s daughter, Padua Belvoir, seeks his help. Padua, too inconveniently tall and intelligent to think of marriage, longs to attend university in Italy; for now, she teaches mathematics in a girls’ school where her radical notions about women’s suffrage are barely tolerated. Ives, as precise in his love affairs as in his profession, realizes that Padua has all the qualities he desires in a mistress, and when she loses her job, Ives shelters her in his family’s London residence, aiding and then bedding the daughter of the man he must convict. Padua’s mathematical logic meshes with Ives’s legal smarts; their mutual passion has as much to do with brains as body. Refreshingly, the lovers banter without barbs. Accompanying the romantic and legal plot lines are the deepening relationships among Ives and his brothers, who, despite their flaws, are witty, decent, and attracted to intelligent women. Agent: Pamela Hopkins, Hopkins Literary Associates. (Oct.)