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    Wicked Little Game by Christine Wells
  • Author:
  • Published: Jul 21st, 2009

christine_wellsReviewed by PJ Ausdenmore
Publisher: Penguin
5 Stars

London, 1816

What happens when Lady Sarah Cole loses her heart to the dashing Marquis of Vane while trapped in a painful marriage?  That’s the dilemma facing the heroine of Wicked Little Game, a brilliantly written, powerfully emotional book from 2009 RITA-nominated author, Christine Wells.

“She lifted her chin with proud disdain.  She mustn’t reveal the slightest hint of weakness.  He’d show her no mercy if he sensed how susceptible she was, how fiercely she longed for him in the night.  She’d never acted on that yearning, never allowed Vane the slightest liberty, not even a chaste kiss on the cheek.  But the shame of lying in her husband’s bed while she ached for another man’s touch was slowly corroding her soul.”

When young Lady Sarah eloped with the handsome and charming Brinsley Cole she envisioned a happy, comfortable life filled with love and many children.  She soon learned that was not to be her future.  Disowned by her family, she now secretly sells perfumes to keep a roof over their heads while trying to keep her husband from recklessly gambling away her hard earned money.  The only bright spot in her life is the Marquis of Vane, a handsome, honorable man who takes her breath away.  She lives for the occasional moments when their paths cross but is loyal to her marriage vows even though her husband has battered her heart over the years with his verbal body blows and many indiscretions.

“Brinsley was right.  He wanted Lady Sarah Cole in a way no gentleman of honor should want another man’s wife.  His passion for her was like a recurring fever, rising again and again to attack him in moments of weakness.  No matter how hard he trained and fought and conditioned his body, his soul was hers and always would be.  For seven years, the knowledge that this worthless piece of rubbish before him possessed Lady Sarah had torn at Vane with razor-sharp claws.”

Vane has been captivated by Sarah since the first moment he saw her and his heart aches with the knowledge that she will never be his.  When Sarah’s husband offers him one night with his wife for 10,000 pounds, Vane is sorely tempted but refuses to dishonor her in that way.  Yet, when  Sarah appears at his home that night believing, because of her husband’s lies, that she has no choice but to sleep with him, he is unable to turn her away.  For Vane, the night is pure magic.  For Sarah, it’s everything she has dreamed of but never experienced with her husband and that knowledge floods her with guilt.  When she returns home to find her husband dying from a gunshot she is overwhelmed by shame and vows to sever all ties with Vane.  But when she is accused of her husband’s murder, the only one who can save her is the one man who must never know how much he means to her.

Wells does an excellent job of weaving a very complex, emotional love story with disturbing undercurrents, family secrets, and a murder mystery at its core.  The author doesn’t make it easy for her hero and heroine.  Sarah and Vane have to battle both external and internal demons to reach their happy ending, putting their emotions, and mine, through the wringer in the process but the rocky journey is well worth it in the end.  I highly recommend this book.

A random poster will win a goody bag from RWA.  Post until 10 p.m. Eastern Time Wednesday, July 22nd to be eligible.

22 Responses to “Wicked Little Game by Christine Wells”

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  1. Buffie
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 8:03 am

    WOW! Fabulous review PJ! I’m really going to have to pick this one up!


  2. Andrea
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 8:07 am

    Great review, PJ! I have this one in my TBR pile and can’t wait to read it. Christine Wells is definitely a rising star. 😉


  3. cheryl c.
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 5:10 pm

    I have read some so-so reviews of this book, and I am glad to see that someone did like it. It really sounds good to me, and I LOVE that flirty cover! 🙂


  4. Jody F.
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 7:40 pm

    This sounds like an intriguing story and your review makes me very interested in reading it.


  5. Gannon
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 9:17 pm

    I can’t wait to read this one, PJ! Meeting Christine at RWA was such a treat, so it will make reading this book even better.


  6. Janga
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 9:41 pm

    A review that does justice to a great book, PJ. I have been eager to read WLG since I first hear the premise, and it lived up to its promise. It was different, and yet it had the qualities that keep me reading romances.

    Now I’m anticipating Louisa and Jardine’s story.


  7. Jenny Richter
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 9:58 pm

    WOW! Why haven’t I read this one yet? I’m gonna go get it yesterday! LOL! Thanks for the review PJ!!!


  8. Lori Evanchyk
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 9:58 pm

    WOW PJ…your review makes me want to go get that book so I can read it ASAP!


  9. Deb
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 10:13 pm

    PJ, your reviews are always great, but this one really captured my interest. I look forward to picking up Wells’ book soon!


  10. PJ
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 10:16 pm

    I hope you all enjoy the book.

    Janga said, “It was different, and yet it had the qualities that keep me reading romances.” I completely agree!


  11. PJ
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 10:17 pm

    Be sure to stop by Thursday morning to find out who wins the package of goodies from the RWA conference.


  12. Nicki
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 10:19 pm

    A hero named Vane! I’m so going to get this book. Thanks for the review, PJ. I always find this site so useful.


  13. StillWaters
    on Jul 21st, 2009
    @ 10:48 pm

    I love it when a writer doesn’t make the HEA easy for her hero and heroine to achieve.
    Sometimes I like my Romance “Lite”. But I prefer a story that makes me “feel” a complexity of emotions. Good. And bad. IMO the best Romances ( and books of any genre for that matter) are those that engage your emotions on a deep , humanly raw level. For me there is nothing better than “A very complex, emotional love story that puts the H&H’s emotions, and mine, through the wringer .”

    Great review , P.J. Wicked Little Game sounds like a must read.


  14. Cindy
    on Jul 22nd, 2009
    @ 2:00 am

    It was a great read. The way Sarah and Vane’s relationship started was fascinating.


  15. Michelle Buonfiglio
    on Jul 22nd, 2009
    @ 9:20 am

    Peej! Thanks for this great sum-up and nod to Christina’s fine work. I’m with you, as usual. Btw, you’re marvelous and I know Maria and Marisa already are aware of how fortunate they are to have you as part of their RNTV team. Loved spending time w/you at RWA National.


  16. Kim
    on Jul 22nd, 2009
    @ 2:01 pm

    I haven’t read this author yet, but there have been favorable reviews on this book.


  17. Lisa from Temple
    on Jul 22nd, 2009
    @ 5:09 pm

    Wow, this sounds great PJ! I’ll have to get the book right away and add it to my TBR pile. 🙂


  18. PJ
    on Jul 23rd, 2009
    @ 8:48 am

    WE HAVE A WINNER!

    Congratulations to Nicki! You’ve won an autographed copy of WICKED LITTLE GAME plus other goodies from the RWA National Conference. Please send your snail mail address to me at pjpuppymom [at] yahoo [dot] com.


  19. PJ
    on Jul 23rd, 2009
    @ 8:49 am

    Thanks to everyone for your comments. I still have lots of goodies left to give away so check back often for more chances to win!


  20. Cat
    on Jul 23rd, 2009
    @ 11:24 am

    PJ, this is an amazing review. You left me wanting more….. Fantastic-and very much want to read! ~Cat


  21. Christine Wells
    on Jul 23rd, 2009
    @ 6:09 pm

    PJ, thanks so much for the lovely review. Congratulations to Nicki for winning today’s prize!

    I hope you all enjoy WICKED LITTLE GAME. Do write and let me know!

    Hugs,
    Christine


  22. Nicki
    on Jul 26th, 2009
    @ 7:42 pm

    Just got back in town! PJ, you are the best. Thanks for the review and all you do to keep us reading!

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