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Book Cover Lawson’s review of A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore
Historical romance released by Forever 1 Jun 09

I remember reading a story a bit like this one a long time ago. The name of the book and the author have escaped my memory, but I remember that it centered around a man who had been involved in the Napoleonic wars and was coming home. The twist was he had hit his head, had amnesia and it was years later and he had been given up for dead. There is that same storyline in Haymore’s story, but there’s so much more. This story also includes a love triangle and of course a choice that has to be made.

Garrett James and his cousin Tristan James have always been in love with Sophie. The three of them grew up together and since Garrett was older, Tristan walked away from his love for Sophie and married another woman. Tragedy befalls the friends, however, when Garrett goes to Waterloo with his unit and he doesn’t return. Eight years later he has been declared dead and Tristan and Sophie are now married. Tristan, being Garrett’s heir, has assumed his title, Duke of Calton, and both have gone on with their life without Garrett.

When Garrett suddenly returns there are a number of legal questions surrounding who Sophie is married to and both men want to fight to keep her. Things don’t go smoothly for there’s a horrible scandal, not only with Garrett’s return and both men fighting to be Sophie’s husband, but there are rumors that Garrett is not the man he once was and Sophie’s being abused by Garrett. Not only must Sophie now choose which man will have her heart but also she must protect her family from those out to destroy everything she holds dear.

Sophie is a beautiful heroine, inside and out. She doesn’t want to make a choice between her two friends and husbands and she’s always been the peacemaker. She wants the decision be something that everyone can live with and have no animosity between the three of them. While Garrett was gone Sophie had to become a strong, independent woman, which Tristan helped her with and their friendship blossomed into love while Garrett was gone. When Garrett returns he’s been mentally, emotionally and physically scarred by the war and she senses that he has changed as well and perhaps he’s not the man she remembers.

Tristan is a caring, intelligent man. Though he couldn’t have Sophie, he married another woman who gave him a child, but she died in childbirth and Tristan, though sad, knew he could make Sophie his. He’s an alpha male, but more of the strong, quiet type, being subtle in what he does and running things smoothly from behind the scenes. When Garrett appears suddenly he’s very angry that Sophie is being taken away from him, but he never stoops to the level of using the rumors about Garrett’s behavior and mental state for his own gain.

Garrett is another type of alpha. He’s a tall, broad man who is used to grabbing what he wants and taking it. When his memory returns and he returns to England to be the duke again, he feels betrayed by both his wife who is now married to his best friend, and his best friend who took everything his life was. Garrett is a bit of a bully because he doesn’t remember how to behave as the duke and is confused by his new life. Everything has changed in his absence and he doesn’t know how to handle anything.

These three points of view throughout the story tell of how people grow and change throughout their lives and the choices aren’t always the easiest and can hurt people. One must make those choices though, or else no one would get on with their life after tragedy. The interactions between the three of them are also real, emotional and show that someday they could all be close again, even after Sophie’s choice (hah, yep, Sophie makes a choice!).

The villain of this book is also one of the scariest I’ve read in awhile as he’s devious, sly, and his machinations are so subtle and mean that he fools so many people for so long and eventually. . .well I can’t say more, or it’ll be spoiled. Needless to say that his plans play into the emotion of the rest of the story. The only thing that I didn’t like was the gullibility of Garrett when it came to the villain and his unwillingness to trust the people from his past. However, given his trauma with the war and shock when he comes home to see his wife and best friend and his confusion from loosing his memory, it is understandable that he’d be in a state where he misplaces his trust.

There are some really good risks that Haymore takes with the characters and it all pays off in the end and makes for a great book. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to go and get this book ASAP. And Haymore’s next historical will be about the man that Sophie doesn’t choose, so I’m going to be waiting for that one.

lawson-icon.jpgGrade: A-


Sophie, the Duchess of Calton, has finally moved on. After seven years mourning the loss of her husband, Garrett, at Waterloo, she has married his best friend and heir, Tristan. Sophie gives herself to him body and soul…until the day Garrett returns from the Continent, demanding his title, his lands-and his wife.


Now Sophie must choose between her first love and her new love, knowing that no matter what, her choice will destroy one of the men she adores. Will it be Garrett, her childhood sweetheart, whose loss nearly destroyed her once already? Or will it be Tristan, beloved friend turned lover, who supported her through the last, dark years and introduced her to a passion she had never known? As her two husbands battle for her heart, Sophie finds herself immersed in a dangerous game-where the stakes are not only love…but life and death.

Read an excerpt