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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Bilson

When A Lady Desires A Wicked Lord by Tara Kingston

Set in the 1890s, this romance is set around the era’s fascination with all things Egyptian. The heroine, Alexandra, is a scholar of Egyptology, and the hero, Benedict, is a… tomb raider. The two have a Past, and are brought back together when Alexandra’s mentor sends Benedict back to England to protect her just before he is murdered.

Sadly, that was the most exciting thing about the novel. Benedict doesn’t do any tomb raiding (apart from seducing Alexandra and abandoning her for a second time). Alexandra doesn’t get to use her knowledge. They don’t even use the treasure map her mentor lent them. Almost the entire book occurs within the confines of Alexandra’s London townhouse, when the early part of the book seemed to be setting it up for a magnificent quest for a lost tomb in Egypt.

I kind of bought into the romance between Alex and Benedict, but then again, I kind of didn’t. If he’d actually cared about her and respected her opinion (and her formidable intelligence!), Benedict would have told her the truth about the money issues with his estate long before. Instead he has the gall to get huffy when she expects him to behave as he’s always done, when he’s literally given her no cause to trust him whatsoever.

Alex was, frankly, far too good for him. Beautiful, smart and well-off, I don’t quite understand why she didn’t have besotted Egyptologists falling at her feet anyway. This is the 1890s, where educated women were becoming much more valued, especially in the upper echelons of society where Alex moved. Instead she seemed to be one of those heroines who sits around in limbo until the hero comes back into her life, which didn’t suit her strong, independent personality at all.

I think the author was aiming for an Evie and Rick (from The Mummy, of course) vibe, and it just didn’t quite come off. The action was flat, the promised treasure-hunt never eventuated and I didn’t think Benedict deserved Alex in the end. It’s not badly-written, but it really didn’t hit the spot for me, I’m afraid. Three stars.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.

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