The Vixen is book #2 in the Wicked Wallflowers series. Unlike the first book, this story feels like it solidly belongs in the new series instead of a continuation of the previous one, which was a bonus.
Ophelia Killoran is one of the bastard daughters of Mac Diggory and grew up a street rat in his gang. Now living at the Hell and Sin gaming club with her sister, Gertrude, and street brother, Broderick, she is next in line to be pushed into the Ton’s marriage mart. Ripped away from the life she knew, she is soon in misery at dinner parties and in the ballrooms of London.
Connor Steele is a private investigator that was forced into a street life after his parents’ deaths. He and Ophelia met a few times as they grew up, with a chance encounter causing Connor to be rescued and raised by a noble. His current investigation causes their paths to cross again, and secrets from their pasts will put the two to their test.
The organic growth of Ophelia and Connor’s relationship was a definite boon in this story. They had to build up trust with one another, and both had rocky pasts that made it quite difficult. Both characters were likeable and had a drive to accomplish what they wanted, even when life was trying to steer them away.
I rated this one star lower than I had The Hellion because, despite the character growth and awesome organic relationship, the book was lacking in places it shouldn’t have been.
Ophelia’s current ambition is to protect street children from preying men, which we encounter early on, but then, aside from her being concerned and thinking about it, she doesn’t go on anymore late night crusades for justice. I wanted to see her be more active, sneaking out and not being trapped in prim-and-proper-ville. The overuse of the word “gypsy” drove me crazy. How many times do we need to read about people have “gypsy lashes”? Finally, there was no epilogue. The final chapter was short, and feeling like we’re missing that small jump forward to make the HEA more complete (to a wedding day or whatever) detracts a bit from the ending.
Overall, the book is adventurous, both in romance and with the seedier side of London. Not everything is glamorous here, and how much stain has touched even respected families becomes more apparent. It’s solid writing that you expect from a Caldwell book, minus my complaints from above.
I’m really looking forward to Gertrude’s story, and hope she does a better job at putting Broderick Killoran’s overambitious and pushy marriage agenda in its place.
The Vixen is free via Kindle Unlimited, available as an eBook ($4.99), or in paperback ($9.99).
I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.