Berkley (October 2, 2012)
For some, virtue is a vice As the illegitimate daughter of a scandalous woman, Miss Anna Rees is almost as well known for having been raised in the hedonistic demimonde as she is for her quiet nature. Anna longs to leave behind her mother’s world of courtesans…until she unexpectedly meets the handsome, charming and decidedly wicked Lord Dane. If only she could convince him to join her in search of respectability. . . For him, vice is a virtue Viscount Maximilian Dane is perfectly content being a rake. After years of obeying the dictates of proper society–with disastrous results–he stopped following the ton’s ridiculous rules, and he sees no reason to begin courting respectability anew. Except that it may be the only way for him to win the lovely and fascinating Miss Anna Rees—if only he could convince her that the grass is greener on the wicked side of the fence. . .
19th Century England
HEAT RATING: 2
REVIEW RATING: 4 stars
REVIEW BY JILL:
Miss Anna Rees, The Ice Maiden of Anover House is said to be reclusive and spoilt. But Lord Maximilian Dane finds her anything but cold and unsociable. When he stumbles (literally) across Anna at the famous high-classed brothel, slightly drunk and trying to drown his sorrows at inheriting the title of viscount from his late brother, he’s immediately attracted to the charming Anna. And he tells her he will call upon her in the coming week. For Anna this is her first real conversation with any gentleman. Being the illegitimate daughter of a famous courtesan and raised in a house of prostitution, her contact with the outside world has been limited by her mother. When she finds out that her father was in fact the late Lord Engsly, she secretly leaves her mother and Anover House with her governess companion.
The current marquess, Lucien Haverston, her half-brother, is a man of honour she is told. Surely he will provide her with the thousand pounds she needs to start her own life in the country. For those who have read previous books by Alissa Johnson, Anna’s brothers, Lucien and Gideon, were the heroes in Nearly a Lady and we catch up with them and their wives, Lilly and Freddie as well. This can be read as a standalone. It’s not until four years later after their first and only evening together that Max and Anna meet again. When they discover they’ve been intentionally kept apart the misunderstanding is quickly and sensibly cleared up with a five minute conversation and is not dragged out past its use-by date. Anna’s mother is a nutter. What I particularly liked though about her characterisation is the subtlety. She’s manipulative and a little unhinged but she’s not a caricature. This is another beautifully written story by Alissa Johnson whose romances remind me very much of Mary Balogh’s. Practically Wicked is romantic and gentle and another wonderful read from the skilled pen of Ms Johnson.