I’m thrilled to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Wicked by Design by Katy Moran, the follow-up to Hester and Crow (previously published as False Lights). My thanks to Vicky at Head of Zeus for inviting me to join the tour and for my proof copy.
About the Book
1819, Cornwall. Four women sit in the candlelit drawing-room at Nansmornow, an ancient Cornish manor house. The air is thick with unspoken suspicion and secret malice. As Hester Lamorna pours tea for her three guests, she has no idea one of them is about to rock her new marriage to its very foundations.
St. Petersburg. Half a world away, Hester’s impossible and charismatic husband, Jack ‘Crow’ Crowlas, will be caught up in a chess game of sexual manipulation, played out across the sumptuous ballrooms of St. Petersburg. All Hester and Crow hold most dear will be tested to the limit and beyond: their love for each other and their child, and for Crow, the loyalty of his only brother.
Format: Hardcover (464 pp.) Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication date: 5th September 2019 Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Find Wicked by Design on Goodreads
I really enjoyed False Lights, the book that first introduced me to Lord Lamorna, aka Jack ‘Crow’ Crowlas, and the then Hester Harewood. You can read my review here. (The book has since been republished under the title Hester and Crow.) I was thrilled to learn there was to be a follow-up and opened the book with high expectations; I’m pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed. Although Wicked By Design can be read as a standalone, give yourself a treat and start with the first book in order to experience every sizzling moment of the development of Crow’s and Hester’s relationship.
Hester – spirited, resourceful, fearless – and Crow – troubled, brooding, sultry – make an ideal hero and heroine. There’s constant crackling sexual tension between them and who can be surprised when the book includes references to Crow’s ‘illustrated expanse of lean torso’ or his precise knowledge of how to leave a woman ‘in his power and wanting more’. (Excuse me a moment while I go and cool down.)
Continuing the alternate history premise first introduced in False Lights – that Wellington lost not won the Battle of Waterloo – Wicked By Design sees Crow’s loyalty to the government of England doubted despite his pivotal role in freeing the country from French occupation. Crow has made himself some dangerous and powerful enemies and it soon becomes clear they will stop at nothing to exact revenge. Across the Channel, Napoleon Bonaparte is still a force to be reckoned with and no-one knows quite where the sympathies of Tsarist Russia lie.
Transporting the reader from the rugged coastline of Cornwall (ideal for those pining the absence of Ross and Demelza Poldark from their lives) to the salons of St. Petersburg, Wicked By Design races along like a golden Turkoman mare galloping across the steppes. Along the way there are twists and turns, vividly depicted action scenes and unexpected revelations. I loved every suspenseful, breathless minute of it, especially the riveting final chapters and that ending which I’ll confess left me a little blurry-eyed. Please, please tell me this is not the end of Hester’s and Crow’s adventures?
If you like your historical fiction to come with leading characters you really care about (flaws and all), an intriguing period backdrop, a storyline that encompasses deception, personal and political intrigue, betrayal and revenge plus a generous helping of spice, then Wicked By Design is the book for you.
In three words: Enthralling, spirited, passionate
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About the Author
Katy Moran is a Carnegie nominated author who writes high-octane Regency romance which include muskets, gunpowder, Cornwall and Russia. She writes that when she is inspired by a new place ‘Regency England, Cornwall, Russia, the ancient palace of Fontainebleau – I want to actually be there. I want to take you there too, in the company of complex characters that you will fall a little (or a lot)in love with on the way.’
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