The Wicked Duke by Madeline Hunter is the third book in the Wicked Trilogy and is currently scheduled for release on May 31 2016. I have not read the previous books in the series, but I think I caught up fairly quickly and that the books can be enjoyed on their own. However, I think those that have read the entire trilogy will have a better grasp of the characters and their history, and therefore might get even more out of the read.
Suspected of his brother’s murder, Lancelot Hemingford, Duke of Aylesbury, was forced to give up his hell-raising habits in London for the anonymity of quiet country living. So, when an opportunity arises to clear his name in exchange for proposing to the niece of a neighbor, he sees no choice but to accept. Plus, seducing the reluctant maiden will be a most intriguing challenge. As Marianne Radley is dependent on her uncle, she must accept the Duke’s marriage proposal at her family’s request, despite her belief he is irredeemably wicked. But along with marrying him, she intends to sniff out the duke’s unsavory secrets and expose them to the world: a plan that would be flawless were it not for one minor detail, that even she, with all her determination, is not immune to the charms of a rakish duke.
The Wicked Duke makes the precarious nature of being female throughout history very obvious. Despite being bright and of an independent nature Marianne is at her uncle's mercy. Since Marianne sincerely cares about the welfare of her cousin and mother she is even more under his thumb, since if it were only about herself she would pursue other options. Lance has secrets and while she wants to discover them and expose them she finds herself falling for him. Solving the mystery of his brothers death is a nice addition to the story and keeps it going, as does her character growth. Lance is a rakish Duke, but is infatuated with Marianne and wants his name cleared in the death of his brother. I will admit that I had trouble getting into this one, and it was only the mystery portion that kept me going.
I had some trouble getting into The Wicked Duke, but I wonder how much of the problem was my only reading burn out. The mystery was good, the characters strong, and there was a good amount of wit. I think fans of the author and the series will definitely like it, and readers that enjoy the genre and elements I listed are likely to enjoy it more than myself.