The Importance of Being Wicked
The solemn Duke of Castleton, Thomas Fitzcharles, is in search of a bride. She must be of sterling quality in three areas: repute, demeanor, and fortune. Not necessarily in that order. Though comfortable, the Fitzcharles men have always married for money—and who is he to fly in the face of tradition?
Caroline Townsend is an anything-but-prudish widow on the precipice of poverty. Keeping up appearances and supporting several old friends have drained her finances. Now her husband’s old gambling debts have appeared. What to do? Upon meeting Castleton, Caro sets out to take the starch out of him, which she does. Despite himself, Castleton is attracted to her more than any other woman of his acquaintance and he falls for her. She falls for him.
What begins as a light late-Georgian romance becomes darker at about midpoint. The death of a child, a horrific miscarriage, a violent argument, scandal, family secrets, misunderstandings and what happens to a fabulous Titian painting kept me involved until the last page.