The Wicked Duke
In her third book of her Wicked Series, Madeline Hunter introduces us to us to His Grace, Lancelot Hemingsford, Duke of Aylesbury. Most of England believes Lance murdered his brother to gain the title. Unhappy because of the suspicion, he hides out at Merrywood Manor, the family manse. He is lonely – not that he would ever admit it, and he misses his friends and his hell-raising in London. Marianne Radley is impoverished and dependent upon her uncle Horace, the local magistrate. Curious about the death of the prior duke, she finds herself in a dilemma: marry Aylesbury, or have her family cast out from their old family home, which is now owned by her uncle. The benefits of marrying include being able to investigate the reason behind the murder, but she will be unable to help her cousin Nora, who has suffered a sudden mental illness. Marianne is not the only one in a quandary. Aylesbury is being blackmailed into marrying Marianne in exchange for a clean slate by her uncle. Hunter’s novel is populated with well-drawn characters with a complex mystery subplot which kept me turning the pages! Recommended.