The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3)- Madeline Hunter
Berkley Publishing Group
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Synopsis: Suspected of his brother’s murder, Lancelot Hemingford, Duke of Aylesbury, was forced to give up his hell-raising habits in London for the anonymity of quiet country living. So, when an opportunity arises to clear his name in exchange for proposing to the niece of a neighbor, he sees no choice but to accept. Plus, seducing the reluctant maiden will be a most intriguing challenge... As Marianne Radley is dependent on her uncle, she must accept the Duke's marriage proposal at her family’s request, despite her belief he is irredeemably wicked. But along with marrying him, she intends to sniff out the duke’s unsavory secrets and expose them to the world: a plan that would be flawless were it not for one minor detail—even she, with all her determination, is not immune to the charms of a rakish duke...
The conclusion to Hunter's Wicked Trilogy focuses on Lancelot Hemingway, Duke of Aylesbury. We've seen Lance in the earlier books and the series has been leading up to this: not only solving the mystery of Percival's death but also Lance meeting his match. She comes in the form of Marianne Radley, a spirited young woman frustrated by her dependence on her social-climbing uncle.
The mystery behind older brother Percival's unlamented death continues to loom over Lance. Almost a year after his death Percy is still proving to be a problem. His death is still an open case, the coroner can't decide between natural causes and murder. Lance has been laying low and hoping that Society's suspicion that he murdered Percy to inherit the dukedom will pass. Sadly, Lance's wicked reputation among the ladies of the Ton hasn't endeared him to their husbands, many of whom would be happy to convict him of murder.
As we have come to expect from a Madeline Hunter book the pages sparkle with wit and humor, and smoke with the heat between Lance and Marianne. A fun and fast read, Wicked brings back characters from the rest of the series in the Hemingford brothers and their wives. Much of the humor in scenes between the brothers comes as Lance teases his brothers on their "domestication" and Gareth and Ives share their newfound wisdom on handling wives- all of which Lance, unfortunately, ignores.
Woven alongside the romance are deeper issues of justice and revenge. Does justice mean the same thing to all people and all classes? Are revenge and justice the same thing? Murder, blackmail, and other schemes abound in The Wicked Duke as Hunter proves that sometimes it's really good to be wicked . . .
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.