Monday, February 11, 2008

If His Kiss Is Wicked Review

Book: If His Kiss is Wicked
Author: Jo Goodman
Category: Historical
Grade: A-

Shy by nature, Emma Hathaway usually leaves the drama to her rebellious cousin, Marisol. But when Emma agrees to meet with her cousin's secret lover to end the affair, she is pulled into a dangerous game. Now Emma is convinced her involvement in the scandal has put her life in jeopardy. The trouble is none of Emma's confidantes believe anyone is trying to harm her. As whispers of madness begin, Emma turns to the only person who might be able to help...

The very handsome, barely respectable Restell Gardner has gained a reputation for helping people out of compromising positions. Never one to turn away a lady in need, Restell agrees to help solve the intrigue. Sensing there is more to the green-eyed beauty than meets the eye, Restell feels himself falling for Emma. But he resists succumbing to his passion... at least until he learns the truth about the danger that is haunting her. For if he gives in to temptation to soon, he could lose Emma forever...

As I admitted in a previous post, If His Kiss Is Wicked is my first Jo Goodman read. Since I'd heard little to nothing about Goodman's writing prior to this book, I went into reading about Emma and Restell with some apprehension.

I am happy to say that my skepticism was unfounded.

Emma is asked by her cousin, Marisol, to take a break-up note to one of her male flirtations. Emma, agrees, albeit a little reluctantly, because Marisol is engaged and she feels that it is best for her cousin to break off all relations with men other than her fiance. Emma wears, Marisol's bonnet and shall when she leaves to deliver the note. In the course of her leaving the house and performing the task at hand, something terrible happens; leading Emma to believe that she was mistaken for her cousin and that Marisol's life is in danger.

This is where Emma goes to Restell, a man who assists people when they want minimal attention brought to their situation. Restell is not completely convinced that it is Marisol's life that is jeopardy, but that Emma may very well be the cousin in immediate danger. He agrees to take on Emma's case, and from there the story takes off.

I think the element that really stood out to me in this book was that Emma and Restell became married halfway through the book, at a point where story wasn't anywhere near finished. They still had to work through a heap of problems, but it was done in a very believable manner.

If His Kiss Is Wicked was a very enjoyable read. I felt a connection to all of the characters, even the ones that stayed on my last nerve. The love between the hero and heroine progressed in a truly believable way that. No contrived circumstances there, everything that happened seemed to fit seamlessly into the story as a whole and move it forward. Grade A-

Question: Now, I am a novice when it comes to Goodman, and I'm not sure if the rest of her books are as good as this one was (to me), but I have to wonder--given that Goodman has been writing for close to two decades--why the buzz around her work is so quiet?

I mean, is IHKIW a diamond in the rough, or are all of Goodman's books as good as this one? Thoughts?


  1. Goodman is the best! You must read A Season to Be Sinful. I have a review up for it on my blog that links to my DIK at AAR.

    Or read her Compass Club series... I think all for are fab. Oh the Dennehy Sisters...

    Jo Goodman is one of those authors everyone should know about!!! Her next one sound grand as well. Hope you get a chance to read more!

  2. I do think she's been one of romance's best kept secrets. When I chanced upon the romance blogsphere, I was really surprised to discover how little she was read (or, at least, no-one really mentioned her). Part of it could be that she isn't an active on-line presence (?) although her website is always up to date. Otherwise - I don't know! I've been reading her stuff for years, so I feel a little smug at the moment, but I'm also the one person in the world who isn't wholeheartedly enjoying her latest works.

    You could say I'm old school: I would recommend the Dennhey's (a series about 5 sisters), the Thorne Brothers (the second in this trilogy is one of my all time favourite romances, My Reckless Heart) and the Marshall brothers - very angsty.

    She's written 7 regencies on the trot now, and they've been very popular. My favourite of the regencies are probably The first of the Compass Club (Let me be the one) and One Forbidden Evening.

    I could go on about this... (I think my review of If his kiss is wicked was about 3 pages long... eek.)

  3. HI Sybil, thanks for stopping by. You are the third person to recommend the Compass Club series to me so I guess now I need to order the first book in the series. :)

    Meriam, I read and enjoyed your review. It's good to get some perspective from a long term Goodman reader.

    And thank you for the recs!

  4. "I mean, is IHKIW a diamond in the rough, or are all of Goodman's books as good as this one? Thoughts?"

    In a word - YES. All her books are wonderful. Actually IHKIW is the third in a loosely related series. The first one is A Season to be Sinful which Sybil mentions, the second one is One Forbidden Evening. In addition to the Compass Club series, another one I really enjoyed was More Than You Know and More Than You Wished - two in a short series about a brother and sister. And then there was another series with three brothers (The Thorne Brothers that Meriam mentions) - My Steadfast Heart, My Reckless Heart and With All My Heart. And then of course there is The Dennehy Sisters. One thing odd about this one is all the sisters had the same first name.
    As I said earlier - I'm beyond delighted that she finally seems to be getting the recognition she deserves and like Meriam, I feel rather smug that I've known about her for years :)

  5. Hey there Brie :) A lot of ppl have been wondering the same as you, why isn't Ms Goodman more popular. Personally, she doesn't work for me :( Anyway, if you'd like some reviews for her books, you can head to Book Binge and look through Casee's reviews. She's been on a Goodman binge not too long ago. Hope it helps :)

  6. Another new-to-me author to explore! I generally stay away from Regencies but love Victorians. I hope she wrote something other than Regencies.

    I'm taking Nath's suggestion to browse Casee's reviews. *grin*

  7. People should read this.