by Scarlett Scott
“Two souls with but a single thought, Two hearts that beat as one!” – (John Keats). The writing of Keats plays a poignant role in this story, so I just had to share a quote from his writings that I think summarizes the inevitability of the lead characters in this story.
This is one of those books that will have you scolding the characters, mentally pleading with them to communicate with one another and get out of their own way. Lady Wicked is the 4th book in the ‘Notorious Ladies of London’ series by Scarlett Scott. They are a series of interconnected stand-alone novels. Reading this story about Julianna and Sidney was exquisite torture because I could not put it down once I started it – a happy problem for which I was prepared because all of this author’s books seem to have that effect. I’m not usually much of a fan of the secret baby/second chance trope combination because the wasted time in the character’s lives is always such a sad thing. In this story, the exquisite pain of that deprivation is acute, yet made compelling by the author’s skill.
I’m not going to take your time detailing the plot of the book because the blurb and other reviews will have done so. I will say that I found the heroine to be very frustrating. Her own actions led to 2 years of turmoil and heartbreak for both main characters. She reacts impulsively to something she sees and quite literally flees the country, and although her youth and her own awful upbringing make her behavior much more understandable, it is still devastating. Sidney is such a good guy and so broken-hearted over Julianna that you want to be able to reach into the pages and console him. There is one time in the book where he should have spoken up and confronted Julianna, but instead he jumps to his own wrong conclusions and thereby contributes to their mutual misery. Overall, he is a wonderful hero in this story who never really gives up on love, and who proves himself to be a swoon-worthy father.
Emily, their year-old daughter, adds depth, sunshine and “awwww” moments to this love story. Julianna and Sidney have incredible, irresistible physical chemistry that neither of them can deny, and that lights up the pages of the book. Characters from other books in the series make appearances in this one, and I am already looking forward to reading more about others in this book, particularly both Tilly and Northwich (though not together).