Review: Wicked Designs by Lauren Smith

wickeddesignsWicked Designs by Lauren Smith (League of Rogues #1)
Released: January 7, 2014
Historical Romance

Reviewed by Mandi

Oh I had such high hopes for this book when it first starts. Emily Parr’s parents died at sea, so she is forced to live with her uncle who doesn’t really care about her. All Emily wants is to get married and have her sum of money held in trust from her parents, transferred to her husband and hopefully they can live happy ever after. She isn’t having much luck in her first season out, but she still has hope. Heading to a ball one night, her carriage gets off course and she ends up being kidnapped by five men. The leader (our hero) Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex is part of The League of Rogues, five guys who take what they want, when they want it. We’ll get back to the League in a moment. Godric asks his friends to help him kidnap Emily because her uncle owes Godric a great deal of money. He plans to hold Emily as ransom until the money is returned.

Emily won’t go easy though. And this is where I started to get excited for this book. She fights, she bites, she does not give up when they try to pull her out of the carriage. You can tell the men are not going to cause her physical harm, but she does not want to end up with a ruined reputation. They finally have to drug her with laudanum to  take her back to one of their estates. And now she is a prisoner. Let me also note here that Godric is set up well to start the book. Sexy, big, mad at her uncle. Selfish for taking Emily for his own reasons.

But then things started happening that sink this book quickly. It bummed me out. While Emily does try to escape after they drag her back to the estate, she didn’t feel like the same Emily that starts the book. She becomes too nice to these guys. Too worried about hurting their feelings. I didn’t have a problem with her thinking Godric was sexy, but she didn’t have to feel like she has to make nice conversation with them, or be polite. I wanted her to have rage and be stubborn and mad as all hell that they kidnapped her.

I found her to be very naive, and so when Godric, who is very worldly and has had many mistresses, makes advances on her, and eventually sleeps with her, she immediately tells herself she is in love with him. But to me it feels like she only thinks this because he is showing her such great attention and pleasure. Emily hasn’t had anyone close to her in her life since her parents died. No close girlfriends, no close family. This guys shows up, locks her in a bedroom, and eventually she accepts sexual advances from him, and she has never been so joyful. She mentions that she never wanted him to leave. Her underlying loneliness and innocence is strong – is it just that? Is she lonely and likes the attention, or is it true love? It was hard to tell.

Godric starts out a bit angry and mysterious but soon turns into almost a puppy-like hero. All he can think about is for Emily to become his mistress (because he doesn’t know how to love) and if any of the other guys got too close he would immediately warn them away. He wasn’t the big, brooding, hero full of revenge that I was expecting. He had a young vibe to him.

I love brotherly camaraderie, and we get some of that here between the five members of The League of Rogues. Which by the way I would have loved to learn a little bit more about. They have rules to they way they live but we don’t go into great depth.

This one had potential, but I personally didn’t like the way it played out.

Rating: C

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  1. Karen says

    I loved this book myself. I loved how fiesty Emily was and the friendship she developed with the other league members. She kept them on their toes. It was nice to see a group of friends that had each others back but also were not afraid to say or do something if they thought Godrick went over the line. I fell in love with all the characters of this book and I cannot wait to read the next league of rogues book.

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