by Barbara Dawson Smith

April 1999
ISBN: 0-312-96893-0
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

Miss Jane Mayhew has been in love with Ethan Sinclair long before he inherited the title of Earl of Chasebourne. While she watches him flirt with the other girls in the village, she longs for him to do the same with her. But although Jane may be more than passing in looks, Ethan has always thought her shrewish in nature. Of course, their relationship (a little more than mere acquaintances) changes when a baby, with a note in the basket claiming to be Ethan's, is left at Jane's doorstep.

Jane, always self-righteous and quick to assume, barged into Ethan's room demanding that he take care of Marianne, presumably his abandoned baby. Upon seeing Ethan with another woman in bed didn't overset her much at the time but it did change her mind as to who the guardian of the baby should be. Already set to be a spinster, Jane never imagined she could be a mother but at the sight of Marianne, she longed to be just that. Ethan, although he was quick to deny parentage, was ready to legally sign over Marianne to Jane. Until Ethan's mother, Lady Chasebourne, came in and threw the document in the fire, insisting that Marianne be kept in the family while scheming to get Jane involved as well.

It was nice to see Jane change from a frump to a beautiful lady, with the help of her godmother, Lady Chasebourne. It was disappointing that it took a new wardrobe and some makeup for Ethan to notice Jane and to acknowledge the easy camaraderie that they have shared for a long time, even when they would bicker like children. It is a delightful contrast for Ethan, however, to be so rakish and, at the same time, indulge in a talent that is usually associated with profound sensibilities. Nevertheless, it works since Ms. Dawson's consistency in portraying two Ethans - the insensitive and dissolute womanizing rake and the faithful and honorable peer - is quite convincing.

It was satisfying to see Ethan and Jane grow as characters as their romance blossom. It was only at the very end where the book failed to depict Ethan's change of heart, which happened too sudden to be convincing. Regardless, Too Wicked To Love is a fun read from beginning to end.

Reviewed in October 2001 by Veronica.

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