Most Wicked of Sins by Kathryn Caskie
The Most Wicked of Sins is part of a series featuring seven siblings from Scotland nicknamed the Seven Deadly Sins.
Fans of early Julia Quinn or Victoria Alexander will love Kathryn Caskie. Her writing is so full of mirth that you find yourself chuckling along. And her characters are nothing short of fantastic. Flawed, believable, complex, and compelling.
The plot device in The Most Wicked of Sins is too silly for words. Very improbable, but it sets up the rest of the book so nicely that I gave it a pass. Essentially, our heroine, Ivy, has 1 month to recover the affections of her wayward suitor (now entranced by an Irish beauty) before her father arrives or risk losing his support, affection, approval etc. So she embarks on a madcapped scheme to win him back by hiring an actor to impersonate a peer--someone who would then both a) charm her rival away from her suitor and b) make her suitor jealous by dancing attendance on Ivy.
The "perfect" plan goes awry, however, when Ivy hires the wrong man to impersonate Lord Counterton. Instead of an actor, she hires...Lord Counterton himself. (Here's where the improbable comes in). Of all of the people to be hanging about the theater at the exact same time Ivy is, it just happens to be the very peer she's determined to have someone impersonate? I think my odds on winning the lotto are better, but as I stated, it DOES make for a fun bit of mischief.
I like that Ivy is flawed. I like that she is more than a little bit shallow. I also like that she's vulnerable to what her family (especially her father) thinks of her. She has that need for approval that many of us can relate to.
I also really like the hero and his cousin. I found his early recognition of his feelings refreshing. Most of the Regency heroes have to be dragged kicking and screaming into acknowledging their feelings. Some don't do so until years after the novel's time line (Devil from Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens for example). Here, our hero articulates what he feels before our heroine does.
I really enjoyed the skillful blend of romance and humor in this book. The dialogue is snappy when it needs to be, subtle when appropriate. The story at times frantic, hysterical, sexy, and even sweet. It's a terrific way to spend a few hours on a fall afternoon.
My grade: A-