A Wicked Wager and Witty Plot

I read The Wicked Wager by Anya Wylde and thought I’d give it a shout out. This regency romance has great characters, a delightfully twisted plot, and wonderful wit that made me laugh out loud. That was a refreshing trio for a story set in stuffy, high society, 19th century England.

The cast:

Lord Richard Hamilton – a gentleman rake who falls for Emma Grey

Miss Emma Grey – a mischievous beauty who hasn’t been courted because of her 3 big, scary brothers.

Duke of Arden – Emma’s uncle

Duchess of Arden – the duke’s wife; a lovely lady, but a bit delusional

Lady Catherine Arden – the duke’s only child from his first wife, and Emma’s cousin

Mr. and Mrs. Barker and their daughter, Prudence – family friends of the duke who come for an extended stay

Lady Babbage – the earl’s spinster sister that lives with him; Catherine’s chaperone

Lord William Raikes – Richard’s best friend; handsome, dark-haired author

First couple paragraphs:

“Bloody blooming roses sprouting out of a fairy’s arse!”

The Honourable Earl of Hamilton whirled around in shock. The dulcet tones had been genteel, while the colourful vocabulary would put his great aunt Agatha in a swoon.

Intrigued, he moved towards the tree from where the sound had originated. He could see the dark shadow of a lady’s skirt in the dim moonlight. He hesitated. It could be a ploy of some young miss out to ensnare a husband.

The wickedly delicious plot (almost as good as a Dairy Queen blizzard)

When Lord Hamilton finally chooses his bride, the lovely Emma Grey, he unwittingly loses his heart to her as well, enough so to do anything to keep her. And when her uncle, the Duke of Arden, orders Emma to put off the wedding for a year and come stay at his estate to think things over, Richard Hamilton refuses to lie down and wait. He wants his bride as soon as possible.

He comes up with a plan–the Wicked wager–and presents it to Emma. It is this: he will disguise himself as the duke’s gardener, compromise Emma by being seen alone with her, and force the duke into rushing them into a marriage to ward off gossip.

Lord Richard has met his match with the duke though. Humbled as one of the servants, he never imagined that compromising a lady could be so difficult. His wild plans go awry and lead to a comedy of errors that involve more and more people, and will make you laugh. Lord Richard is a wonderfully determined character who does not let pesky house guests, a flea bitten mattress, his lovesick best friend, or a black mailer thwart his plans to marry Emma.

I loved each new twist thrown in this story. Lord Richard and Emma are so witty. Just when it looks like Richard might win the wager, someone is murdered, and he becomes one of the suspects. Very inconvenient. His simple plan suddenly becomes very complicated…and risky.

About the Author and Giveaway

Anya Wylde’s first novel was a pleasure to read. She’s locked up in her closet right now finishing her second novel, Penelope, for Christmas. When that book is done, I hope to interview her, but until then, she has graciously agreed to give away a free e-copy of her book, The Wicked Wager, to one lucky commenter (I promise not to let Ginger pick the winner this time; she’s a little distracted by the Christmas tree we just put up this week).

If you are shy and don’t know what to say in your comment, tell me whether you skipped brushing your teeth this morning, or if you are one of the people who raided the Hostess products last week and left none for me. If you did, on both accounts, I promise to still let you have a chance at winning (but you owe me a Zinger). And if your email isn’t linked to your Gravatar, please don’t forget to leave that it in your comment so I can email you if you win. Now leave a comment, and if you don’t win, take a chance on this book. I found her writing very fun.

Char

21 thoughts on “A Wicked Wager and Witty Plot

  1. Well it sounds like a positively charming book I must say.

    With the loss of hostess cakes over there, may I recommend Mr Kipling French Fancies, if you haven’t tried them before (and if you can get them in the States). They might not look like any of the hostess cakes, but if you try one, I think you will find they are of the same ilk.

    • It was a charming book. And I think I’m sadder about the loss of a childhood icon than the product itself. Twinkies aren’t the best things created, but they’ve been around forever. I will miss Zingers though–the red ones with coconut. And I haven’t seen your French Fancies in my store. Will have to keep my eye out for them if I visit a different supermarket.

  2. Hi Joy,
    I love a book with humor, and this one certainly sounds like a comedy of manners with some intrigue thrown into the mix. You did a great review–enough to whet my appetite.

    Speaking of which, it hadn’t occurred to me to stock up on Twinkies. I haven’t had one for decades, but they were the bread of the Bread and Circuses our mom used to keep us in line on road trips. I don’t even know if I ever gave one to my kids, but I might have to run out and get a box, to give them that experience, and just for old times’ sake!

    • I say, Lady Rubin. How didst Thou know I had a penchant for the King’s English? (Phooey! I can’t mimic the regency language if my life depended on it. That’s why my book is modern and not done back then. I have a story that I’ve played around with set in that time…but I find it tiring looking up and trying to write it correctly. It does not come naturally to me…and I find I like books that don’t try to be too exact with the language, because it does become boring when they talk that way. This book was done perfectly for my likes!). Now pass the tea and crumpets, please.

      • That’s one of the reasons I don’t write period pieces. I don’t think I could get the dialect down. The other reason is I’m too lazy to do the research. I admire people who write historical fiction. So much research they must do.

  3. I’m a tad shy and I never really know what to say in comments, but that rarely stops me from rambling on anyway. I enjoyed the review and I really like the cover art a lot- something about a fold-out fan speaks sassy and mysterious to me.
    As far as Hostess products, no, I didn’t stock up. I wish I had though! I heard there were talks of a buy out this morning. I hope there is a way everyone can keep their jobs. One of my friend’s brothers has 27+ years with Hostess.
    I hope you have a wonderful week Char!

    • The cover is nice, isn’t it? Emma in the book is a sassy little thing. I loved her. And her fiance is completely captivating and hilarious.

      I hope the buyout happens…and saves those jobs. That’s what made me saddest was how many people would be unemployed. I think there are enough already! No more! Save Hostess and the jobs. And I will support them by going and buying 2 boxes of Zingers–Coconut ones for me, and Chocolate ones for the rest of the family.

    • She wishes she got paid in dog biscuits. You’d think she was a lot more assertive how much she pops up in posts, but she’s actually a rug that I have to work to not step on. She has a bad habit of curling up underneath me whether I’m cooking in the kitchen, reading on the couch, or playing basketball (ha ha). And I step on her a lot because of that. She still loves me though.

  4. Charissa-I’m not even out of bed yet. Forget brushed teeth. Thank goodness for my tablet to keep me connected to the world. Now if it could just bring me breakfast.You’ve convinced me I’d love to read the book.

    • The beginning made me laugh and definitely hooked me. And thank you on behalf of all decent human beings for brushing your teeth…and special thanks from me for eating chocolate. I am so excited for Thanksgiving, speaking of eating.

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