Wicked By Design

Written by Katy Moran
Review by jay Dixon

This is the sequel to False Lights (2017), written under the name K J Whittaker, although it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Set in an alternative Regency period, where Napoleon has won the Battle of Waterloo, England is without a monarch, and Lord Castlereagh is Prime Minister and de facto leader of the country, it intertwines historical fact with other possible histories.

It is 1819, and Jack ‘Crow’ Crowlas and Hester (Lord and Lady Lamorna) are married, with a baby. Members of the Cabinet are staying with them at their Cornish estate to hold discussions in secret. Hester, daughter of a white father and black mother, faces racism from their wives but holds her tongue in order not to endanger her husband. Jack is accused of treason, but is offered the opportunity to save himself by going to Russia to bring back Sophia, next in line to the English throne. Believing Hester and his daughter to be dead, Jack throws caution to the wind in his dealings with the Russian court.

With multiple viewpoints, this novel has a convoluted plot (the above is a short synopsis!) which at times is difficult to follow, as the reader is never told exactly what is going on, and who knows what and when. It is well-written, with believable characters, a good plot, and a story that is dark in places, despite the happy ending. A worthy sequel to False Lights.