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If His Kiss Is Wicked by Jo GoodmanGwen’s review of If His Kiss Is Wicked by Jo Goodman
Historical romance released by Zebra 1 Sep 07

It surprised me that we hadn’t yet reviewed this book on TGTBTU.  We’ve talked about it a lot, and several ducks have it on their list of “all time great books of 2007” but we haven’t reviewed it.  Let me rectify that.

Did I like the book?  Yes.  Was it the best book of 2007 for me?  Not really.  Before some of you get out the tar and feathers, let me explain myself.

This book is written in a very “dense” style.  It’s very readable, but you must read carefully and slowly to catch all the nuances of what Goodman conveys with her many words.  The dialog is very contemporary to the late regency period, which is to say not exactly contemporary to the early 21st century.  I’m all for historical exactitude.  I do, however, like to be able to grasp what I am reading.  Even though I usually understand most of what I read and nearly all of what I’m told, and I still had to slow down and really READ this book.  I’m not complaining so much as I am warning those of you who may not yet have read this book.

Other point of criticism (since I’m reviewing here and all), IHKIW has many secondary characters – so many that I got a little confused a couple of times, but managed to catch up quickly.  Not a criticism but rather praise – there were also quite a few twists and turns to the plot, most of which aren’t resolved until the bitter end.  The resolution isn’t exactly telegraphed early in the book, but neither is it a surprise.  However, there are a few plot twists that were surprising, so I give my kudos to Goodman for that – it’s tough to suprise me.

The emotion in this book is all very nuanced, very subtle.  There are no huge declarations of love between the H/H – though they do eventually tell each other of their love, in a late Regency fashion.  The characters are, again, very correct for their era when it comes to declarations and the consequences of a simple kiss.  I’m not sure if I liked that, but it was a nice change to the forced 21st century sensabilities on historical figures.  In fact, if it hadn’t been for the very mild sex scenes (very mild) and accurate depiction of the heroine’s PTSD, I might have thought I was reading a Regency romance actually written in the Regency period.

This was a good book, but not a great book to me.  It kept me engrossed and flipping pages, even if I had to slow my normal reading speed and re-read several passages to make sure I caught everything.  In my opinion, IHKIW is to a “modern” historical romance like a lovely, delicate orchid is to a full-blown, very showy rose.  If you like orchids, I highly recommend IHKIW.  For those of you who aren’t sure, I highly recommend reading the excerpt before committing to the book.

Gwen's iconGrade: B


     Shy by nature, Emma Hathaway usually leaves the drama to her rebellious cousin, Marisol. But when Emma agrees to meet with her cousin’s secret lover to end the affair, she is pulled into a dangerous game. Now Emma is convinced her involvementin the scandal has put her life in jeopardy. The trouble is none of Emma’s confidantes believe anyone is trying to harm her. As whispers of madness begin, Emma turns to the only person who might be able to help…

     The very handsome, barely respectable Restell Gardner has gained a reputation for helping people out of compromising positions. Never one to turn away a lady in need, Restell agrees to help solve the intrigue. Sensing there is more to the green-eyed beauty than meets the eye, Restell feels himself falling for Emma. But he resists succumbing to his passion… at least until he learns the truth about the danger that is haunting her. For if he gives in to temptation to soon, he could lose Emma forever…

     Read an excerpt.