I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I'm Only Wicked with You (The Palace of Rogues, #3) by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #3
Published by Avon on August 24, 2021
FINAL DECISION: A solid entry in the series that was slow to develop, but ended in a satisfying fashion. The book is my least favorite in the series as I didn’t find enough emotional conflict in the story, but even an average Long book is better than most books I read.
THE STORY: Hugh Cassidy is an American who has traveled to London searching for a missing woman. Instead, he finds Lillias Vaughn, a lady who is a bit out of the ordinary and strains against acceptable lady behavior. The two meet at the Grand Palace on the Thames where the boardinghouse guests must adhere to rules which require them to interact with one another. Hugh and Lillias, however, have difficulties with the “civilly” part of the rules. Instead, they needle one another as each has interests elsewhere, and yet the two end up in a compromising situation necessitating a hasty engagement. But there is hope that the engagement could be unraveled with a little effort from both of them.
OPINION: I struggled through the first third of this book. There was a lot of talking but not much conflict that felt interesting. Once the forced engagement occurred, the pace of the book picked up and I felt that the relationship between Lillias and Hugh became emotional and engaging. I was willing to give the story time to develop, but less dedicated readers might have given up by then. I’m not sure why that first portion of the book was so unengaging, but I think it might be because so much time is given to explaining Lillias’s unconventional outlook on life. The real conflicts in the story (her other connection) are kept as a surprise and the reader doesn’t really get a good sense of Lillias’s interior emotional life.
At the same time, once the surprise reveal occurs, the emotional depth between these two main characters had resonance. This was a book where I could see the first third of the book excised and then expanded in the last portion. I loved Lillias’s parents who become real characters by the end.
Why did I rate this so highly when the first part was disappointing? Because if that portion did not exist, the story would have been fulfilling just based on the last two-thirds. I finished the book satisfied with these characters’ story even if it took a while to get to the good part.
WORTH MENTIONING: Readers of Long’s Pennyroyal Green series will be happy to know that this series takes place in the same universe. Watch for the reference!
CONNECTED BOOKS: I’M ONLY WICKED WITH YOU is the third book in the Palace of Rogues series. This book can be read as stand-alone although the supporting characters appear in other books in the series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.