Friday, July 11, 2014

Alissa Johnson - Practically Wicked

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. . .
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. . . 

Comment: I've had this book to read since last year and at the time I bought it I wasn't aware it was the third in a series!! Now that I have read and enjoyed this one, the debate is should I read the previous ones or to jump straight to the author's other works? Decisions, decisions.

This is Anna Rees' story, she is a shy, sheltered lady, practically closed in her mother's house for quite selfish purposes, but Anna has found joy in books and in learning. One night, by chance, she started talking to a guest of one of her mother's scandalous parties and she and a slightly drunk Max Dane seemed to get along quite well. He promised to call on her but he never did.
Four years past and now Anna is in possession of the identity of her father, something her mother never told her. Anna takes a chance on a dream away from her mother's house and influence but on the way she has to deal with meeting Max again, and this time they do have time to know each other very well...

I liked this story a lot. It's told from a very simple but straightforward POV and without any artifices or the current sexual content which I think it's very over the top in some cases where the books aren't erotica. Anyway, this book has a story to tell, it tells it and that's it. The reader doesn't feel like it's a soap opera or just chapters crafter together. Te plot has a meaning, the characters have simple but powerful drives and motivations and their interactions are meant to be purposeful and there didn't seem to have any scenes just to set thing or to fill up space. I was very impressed by how "clean" the story is. Editor's work or author's neatness, whichever or both of them, it worked.

I liked Anna's character and her troubles while growing up despite never having lack of anything except love and caring from her mother. But Anna is a sensible woman, she isn't exaggerated in her actions or her actions. I liked her so much because she is quiet and has a good sense of herself, she has simple dreams and just wants a bit of independence without stepping over others. One of my favorite historical heroines ever, probably.

Max was intriguing and more than meets the eye, at least we get to know more of him and step by step we learn to like and respect him. His relationship with Anna has a very dramatic start but the way they talk about what happened and how -by talking! - solve their issues, it's a romance wonder in fact, and from then their paths cross because there's attraction but there's empathy and things in common and a certain acceptance of what the other needs and wishes to be heard and understood. I liked how they were good together and liked how their romance slowly but strongly developed.

I was really pleased by how much I liked this, the author did a wonderful job with the characterization, the plot sequences, the way things were organized and how everything seemed to go from an apparent simple feeling or action but the way the reader saw it happen, it got to be much more important and intense, but still subtle. I do think this is much of an author's talent showing.
The only thing I'd change was how the sexual side of things worked out, I thought it could have been more romantic, considering the character's story until that point.
I look forward to read more wonderfully written stories by ms Johnson.
Grade: 8/10

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