If his Kiss is Wicked – Jo Goodman – review

[asa book]0821777777[/asa] First, let me remind you that authors often cannot have the title they want, because the marketing people don’t like it. My guess is that Goodman didn’t start with this title, which some will find offputting. I have read other novels she’s written, and I knew better than to judge her by title (or cover).

I have a weakness for Regency romances and a keen interest in how the time and place are portrayed. I also value writers who work to avoid the tried-and-true. Goodman knows her historical detail, and she’s not content to make due do with the standard conflicts. In many romances the range of conflict is very narrow. He’s tortured by his personal history and can’t commit; she’s secretive about her past and needs to be wooed free of her fears. The crisis very often has to do with miscommunication of an overly simplistic variety.

Goodman’s main characters aren’t having any of that. They are two interesting, sensible people who come together after she is abducted and beaten (but not raped, which would have turned this into an entirely different story). Her fears are real ones, and he takes them seriously. There is nothing coy about the way they fall in love or decide to marry. The problems all stem from the original premise — Emma was abducted and beaten, but persons unknown, for reasons unknown, and she is suffering — and will continue to suffer — post traumatic stress until they can figure out what actually happened. When this impacts on their life together, he doesn’t throw a hissy fit and retreat. He doubles down on his intent to figure out what happened.

There are lots of suspects, some of which appear to be stock-character bad-guys, but then this evolves into something else, too.

I have given you almost nothing about the greater context of the story, and that’s on purpose. The bottom line: this is an intriguing story wound around a very satisfying romance, rather than a romance wrapped in a thin layer of mystery. A grown-up romance. A really good story, well plotted and written. Highly recommended.

5 Replies to “If his Kiss is Wicked – Jo Goodman – review”

  1. I have heard so many good things about this author, and this book. I am pretty sure I even borrowed it from the library at least one, but I still haven’t managed to read it yet. Off to reborrow it again!

  2. Thanks for the review! I think I’ll like this one, too. I just finished Judith James’ “Broken Wing”, which sounds a lot like your review. She’s a new author and if you liked “If his Kiss is Wicked”, you may like this one, too! An easy historical romance read – you can see my review on LibraryThing.

  3. Added it to my hold list at the library, sounds good. I am trying to read The Miracles of Prato right now but haven’t really gotten sucked into the story yet (only read a couple chapters so far). I love reading reviews like this by authors I like, I have “discovered” several new-to-me authors that I enjoy this way. So thank you!

  4. I’ll add her to my list. After all, I’ve added Dunnett and Franklin because of your most excellent recommendations. They’re now two of my favorites. I loved The Love Letter, then read all the Schine novels I could find. Must reread The Grand Sophy.

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