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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Review: The Wicked Wager by Anya Wylde

This cute story has an interesting and fun premise and goes from masquerade to murder.

The Wicked Wager (A Regency Murder Mystery & Romance)
by Anya Wylde

  • File Size: 455 KB
  • Print Length: 233 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008UWBJB4
Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
The infamous rake, Lord Richard Hamilton, has finally chosen his bride—the very appropriate Miss Emma Grey.
The ton approves, Lord Grey is pleased, Lady Grey delighted, and Emma is over the moon, but her uncle, (the blasted) Duke of Arden opposes the match, and Emma is ordered to move to the duke’s estate to think things over.
Richard Hamilton refuses to take things lying down and concocts a plan. A plan that should have brought the lovers together and had them married within a month. It was a simple matter of masquerading as the duke’s gardener, compromising the lady, and then having the duke rush them off to Gretna Green.
Alas, he underestimates the duke’s intelligence and the tangled situation on the estate—never had he imagined that compromising a lady could be so difficult.
His endeavours lead to a comedy of errors, charades, and knotty love affairs. Yet he forges ahead in spite of pesky house guests, a flea bitten mattress, his lovesick best friend, and a blackmailer.
Just when things seem to be going well, someone is murdered (very inconvenient), and he happens to be one of the suspects (extremely inconvenient).
His simple plan for winning the wager suddenly becomes … a tad complicated.

Lord Richard Hamilton has a reputation as a rake but one evening he stumbles onto an outspoken beauty ... and instantly falls in love. Emma Grey is beautiful and lively. She is also a dutiful young woman prepared to follow her families’ requirement of scheduling the wedding a few months away. That is difficult enough for Richard but he refuses to wait a year which is now the plan according to Emma’s Uncle, the Duke of Arden.

Emma is set to go live with her Uncle while she contemplates if this marriage is really suitable. Richard wants to prove that he is smarter than the Duke and that Emma should submit to his instructions rather than the Duke’s.  He makes a wager that he can masquerade as a gardner under the Duke’s nose for a month without being found out. This way he can be close to Emma and spend time with her. If he fails to last a month, he will wait the year if he must. If he succeeds then he will proceed to convince the Duke to let him marry Emma right away, even if it means compromising her.

The scenario leaves itself open to the old adage: “oh what a web we weave when first we practice to deceive!” One masquerade leads to another as Richard calls in a friend to pose as Richard himself when the Duke invites Emma’s fiancé (Richard) to visit the estate. This brings more lies to juggle. What Richard didn’t expect is a Duke who prides himself on knowing what is going on with the people and servants in his household.

Emma and Richard discover a blackmailing scheme and increased tension in the house. Richard's friend wants to reveal himself because he has fallen in love with Emma’s cousin. Before the young people can sort things out, there is a murder and they all become suspects.  At this point Duke Arden takes control of the investigation with a private agent at his side.

I really enjoyed the wacky mischief that Richard instigates. I also liked how Ms. Wylde uses a technique of Agatha Christie to pursue the solution of the crime. The Duke interviews each of the suspects and then gathers everyone together to reveal motives, opportunity and likelihood of guilt. The writing is light and breezes along nicely. The mystery gives added interest to the zany masquerade and sweet romance. I hope you will pick this book up to enjoy.

Words noted:
     Cute, Richard - Scamp, conflicted charade, sweet.
Richard realizes life is different for the servant class:
He wondered how people managed daily without any assets. Every day would be a struggle if one always had to depend on one’s wit rather than one’s looks or name.  Location 655.
Richard was accustomed to mischief:
His brilliant ideas of gluing teachers to chairs, putting spiders in desks, and bribing servants for treats, to name a few, bought him the loyalty and love of his classmates. Location 1007.
I received the eBook from the Author for an honest review.

NOTE:  The Wicked Wager (A Regency Murder Mystery & Romanc ) is now Free for Amazon Prime Members and will be free for everyone November 1 – 5! I hope you will pick this book up to enjoy.

Author Bio 
Anya Wylde lives in Ireland along with her husband and a fat French poodle (now on a diet). She can cook a mean curry, and her idea of exercise is occasionally stretching her toes. She holds a degree in English literature and adores reading and writing.

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