Wicked Designs


“Wicked Designs” is an old school historical romance by Lauren Smith and the first book in the League of Rogues series. The tale unfolds in Regency England, where Emily Parr ends up in London with her uncle after the unexpected death of her parents. Her only hope is to make a decent marriage in order to escape the dreary household and the unwelcome attentions of her uncle’s oily friend, Mr. Blankenship. Emily is willing to accept an older man, a widower, or a lesser noble, as long as he is kind. Having a decent library would be helpful too.


The Duke of Essex doesn’t take being swindled sitting down. Instead, he resorts to kidnapping the swindler's niece when none of his previous methods work. His plan is that this ultimate revenge will result in monetary gain or at the very least upset the swindling uncle’s plans. What he doesn’t count on is the spirited Emily and how she makes him long to change his lifestyle.

Lauren Smith shows talent when weaving together the personalities and dialogue of the rogues. Her skill is also apparent in creating historic scenes. With all this ability, it is a shame that trite situations that fit 1970’s bodice-rippers litter the book. The hero kidnaps an innocent woman, roughs her up, and uses her as a pawn because he’s mad at her uncle is not heroic or romantic in any way.

Are you missing your old school romance where the man can be just as bad as he wants to be and the woman still melts at his feet?  Your book has arrived. 

Morgan Stamm