Release Day Review: A Wicked Way to Win an Earl by Anna Bradley

A Wicked Way to Win an EarlA Wicked Way to Win an Earl by Anna Bradley
Book #1 in Sutherland Scandals
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: November 3rd, 2015
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Penguin

Synopsis from Goodreads: England, 1811. Delia Somerset despises the privileged ton, but her young sister, Lily, is desperate to escape their family’s scandalous past and join high society. Unwilling to upset her sister, Delia reluctantly agrees to attend a party at the Sutherland estate—and avoid the gossip at all costs.

Alec Sutherland is known as a hot-headed scoundrel, but nothing gets a rise out of him as much as the news that his brother desires Delia’s hand in marriage. She is, after all, the daughter of the London belle who soiled their family name. He’s determined to ruin her reputation as well, in the most delicious way possible. It’s only a matter of time before he can woo her with his irresistible advances.

As Delia devilishly plays along in Alec’s game, determined to prove the joke is on him, they inch ever closer to repeating history. And in this game of seductive glances, scandalous whispers, and old debts, the outcome might be much more than either of them anticipated…

Angie’s Review – 4.5 Skulls – A-

When I first read the blurb to A Wicked Way to Win an Earl, I thought I was in for a playful read. While there were some parts that were playful, there was also an intensity to this story I wasn’t expecting. Let’s start at the beginning where we’re given a front row seat to the scandal that plagues the Somerset girls. From the prologue, it’s clear Millicent was very much aware that her marriage to Lord Carlisle would be a miserable one. Instead of yielding, she bucks society, leaving everything behind for true love. I don’t think this portion was necessary to the rest of the story; a mere mention of the event would have sufficed. Having said that, now that I’ve read it, I think Millicent and Captain Somerset are worthy of a short story of their own.

It’s clear how rakish Alec Sutherland is from the opening scene of this book, and one of the things I loved was that he was rakish until the very end. He didn’t meet Delia and instantly change his ways; he simply redirected his rogue-ish attentions to her. It was a long time before I believed his infatuation for Delia became genuine affection and love. This hero is alpha to the very core; if you’re a fan of that, this book is right up your alley. There were some moments when Alec opened his mouth and I actually cringed, thinking there was absolutely no redemption for this man. In the end, of course there was. The author really took her time developing his character, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that. I loved Delia from the first page. She was able to hold her own with Alec, and that was no small feat. He was out for blood, and it was Delia’s he wanted. She tried to turn the tables on him, and she was definitely a worthy opponent in their battle. She knew exactly how to play the game, and her quiet strength really came to the surface when they were sparring. Family was very important to her, and like her mother, she wasn’t going to define herself by what society thought. I really like that for all her inexperience and having never been out on the ton, Delia knew Alec wanted her. I always find it eye-rolling when a heroine has no idea the hero is lusting after them, especially when they’ve made it clear. Sexual tension radiated from every scene Alec and Delia had together; they were helpless to stop it even when they weren’t alone. Being that the majority of this book took place at a house party, there were a lot of secondary characters. They were fleshed out well. It was easy to keep them straight, and they actually had places in the Sutherland’s lives that made sense. Alec’s mother was a surprise for me – it could have been so easy to fall into the trap of being a bitter woman because of her circumstances, but she wasn’t, and the story was better for it. I especially liked her dynamic with Delia and her sister, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of that.

I loved absolutely every moment of this story. Before A Wicked Way to Way to Win an Earl, I can’t remember the last time I stayed up all night to read a book. The tension ratcheted up with every page, and I just could not put it down. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, particularly to see how Millicent’s mother will treat the Somerset girls now that they’ll be out among society. If you’re a fan of historical romance novels and alpha heroes, this book should be on the top of your to-be-read pile.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  + ½

Series Reading Order:
1. A Wicked Way to Win an Earl
2. The Wickedest Gentleman (Expected Publication: June 2016)

Thank you to PENGUIN and Netgalley for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Angie Badge

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