Thanks to Little, Brown for sending me a copy of the first book in Eloisa James’ new series, Wilde in Love, and for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.
Set in the Georgian period, Wilde in Love introduces us to a large, eccentric family. Lord Alaric Wilde, son of the Duke of Lindow, is the most celebrated man in England, revered for his dangerous adventures and rakish good looks. Arriving home from years abroad, he has no idea of his own celebrity until his boat is met by mobs of screaming ladies. Alaric escapes to his father’s castle, but just as he grasps that he’s not only famous but notorious, he encounters the very private, very witty, Miss Willa Ffynche.
Willa presents the façade of a serene young lady to the world. Her love of books and bawdy jokes is purely for the delight of her intimate friends. She wants nothing to do with a man whose private life is splashed over every newspaper.
Alaric has never met a woman he wanted for his own until he meets Willa. He’s never lost a battle.
But a spirited woman like Willa isn’t going to make it easy…
Life was an odd thing. He’d spent ten years floating around the world, only to come home and discover that he had an anchor waiting.
It’s been long time since I’ve read a saucy historical read and it did take me a little while to get back into the groove, but I did quite like Wilde in Love. It was a little slow to start, but it finally gained momentum as Willa and Alaric’s romance began to blossom.
As it’s the first book in a new series, James has the massive job of not only establishing a setting and a whole cast of characters who will likely feature in spin-offs and sequels, but ensuring that the set-ups for the following instalments don’t detract from the main plot. I found the sheer amount of supporting characters a little overwhelming at times, but was totally spellbound by Willa and Alaric that I managed to carry on. Perhaps a refresher course in who’s who shall be needed should I pick up the next instalment in The Wildes of Lindow Castle Series.
The first half was a delight to read and I had such fun following Alaric’s pursuit of Willa. Her spurning him due to her prejudices and expectations in a man. I’m hesitant to call what follows in the next half insta-love, but that was when Wilde in Love lost me. I felt like James was rushing towards the conclusion having Willa suddenly decide that maybe Alaric deserved a chance and then steamrolling towards the engagement and marriage at quite a dizzying speed.
Despite all that, I can’t fault the characters themselves. Separately, James’ Willa and Alaric are wholly enjoyable. Alaric is so captivating and as a reader you can’t help but sympathise with him and his predicament. However, when they share scenes together, the chemistry conjured between the both of them is enough to light a fireplace! The secondary characters, while plenty, are for the most part well developed. Sweetpea and Hannibal were adorable!
While I wasn’t immediately blown away, James has written a terrific historic romance with enough plot to sustain us as readers and enough intrigue to have us coming back for more. It’s a bodice ripper, so you’ve been warned for those steamy scenes. That aside, there’s humour, intensity, and a rather frustrating cliffhanger which is more than enough to entertain the everyday romance fan!