cover image The Wicked Duke

The Wicked Duke

Madeline Hunter. Jove, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-515-15518-1

Hunter’s final installment in her Georgian-era Wicked trilogy (after 2015’s Tall, Dark, and Wicked) lures readers with the promise of romance between a duke and an intelligent, untitled young woman. Marianne Radley and her female family members are at the mercy of her uncle, Sir Horace Radley. Marianne soon intrigues the rakish Duke of Aylesbury, Lord Lancelot Hemingford; unbeknownst to her, Sir Horace tells Lance that he will help end the investigation into the poisoning death of Lance’s brother Percy, the former duke, and exonerate Lance if he’ll agree to marry Marianne. While searching for Percy’s actual murderer, Lance continues to woo innocent Marianne with practiced, yet romantic sensuality. He soon realizes that his lust for her is complicated by true admiration. The complexity of the characters and the mesmerizing allure between Lance and Marianne propel the novel forward at a breathless pace, making this one of Hunter’s best works to date. Agent: Pamela Hopkins, Hopkins Literary. (June)