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The Importance of Being Wicked

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For Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell, finding a prospective bride always seemed easy. Perhaps too easy. With three broken engagements to his name, Win is the subject of endless gossip. Yet his current mission is quite noble: to hire a company to repair his family's fire-damaged country house. Nothing disreputable in that--until the firm's representative turns out to be For Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell, finding a prospective bride always seemed easy. Perhaps too easy. With three broken engagements to his name, Win is the subject of endless gossip. Yet his current mission is quite noble: to hire a company to repair his family's fire-damaged country house. Nothing disreputable in that--until the firm's representative turns out to be a very desirable widow. Lady Miranda Garrett expected a man of Win's reputation to be flirtatious, even charming. But the awkward truth is that she finds him thoroughly irresistible. While Miranda resides at Millworth to oversee the work, Win occupies her days, her dreams...and soon, her bed. For the first time, the wicked Win has fallen in love. And what began as a scandalous proposition may yet become a very different proposal...


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For Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell, finding a prospective bride always seemed easy. Perhaps too easy. With three broken engagements to his name, Win is the subject of endless gossip. Yet his current mission is quite noble: to hire a company to repair his family's fire-damaged country house. Nothing disreputable in that--until the firm's representative turns out to be For Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell, finding a prospective bride always seemed easy. Perhaps too easy. With three broken engagements to his name, Win is the subject of endless gossip. Yet his current mission is quite noble: to hire a company to repair his family's fire-damaged country house. Nothing disreputable in that--until the firm's representative turns out to be a very desirable widow. Lady Miranda Garrett expected a man of Win's reputation to be flirtatious, even charming. But the awkward truth is that she finds him thoroughly irresistible. While Miranda resides at Millworth to oversee the work, Win occupies her days, her dreams...and soon, her bed. For the first time, the wicked Win has fallen in love. And what began as a scandalous proposition may yet become a very different proposal...

30 review for The Importance of Being Wicked

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erika Williams

    I'll admit, I picked up the book because the title was a direct play on Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest." Which is one of my favorite plays of all time. Not only do I highly recommend the movie version with Rupert Everett, but I did my dissertation on that and two of Oscar Wilde's other plays. So I was pretty excited for a book that played on the title, which is likely one of the reasons why I was so disappointed. Needless to say, despite the title, the book had very little to do I'll admit, I picked up the book because the title was a direct play on Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest." Which is one of my favorite plays of all time. Not only do I highly recommend the movie version with Rupert Everett, but I did my dissertation on that and two of Oscar Wilde's other plays. So I was pretty excited for a book that played on the title, which is likely one of the reasons why I was so disappointed. Needless to say, despite the title, the book had very little to do with the play in terms of theme or style or pretty much anything. What we do have is a man who just lost his family estate in a fire. Winfield Elliot, who apparently is also the hero of one of Alexander's other stories, is a man who has very set ideas about the world. Firstly, that his old house is just fine the way it was and needs nothing in the way of progress. And that women have a very specific place in the world. At home, certainly not out doing things like having a job. Pfft. Let me get one thing off my chest right now. I don't want our heroine to reform him. I want her to bury him somewhere. Preferably underneath that estate she's rebuilding for him. Our heroine is Miranda Garrett, a sensible young widow who has since taken charge of her late husband's architect firm. Mostly because she was the one who had been doing the building designs in the first place and her husband had just been covering for her work. Yeah, don't worry, I hate her too after a bit. At first I liked her for being progressive and not letting the man's world dictate what she should be doing with her life even if she wasn't allowed to do it openly. But then Winfield convinced her she needed new clothes, and she eventually gave up her business because he couldn't stand the thought of her still being connected to her late husband in any way, shape or form. Honey, when your husband is jealous of the dead guy, he's going to have insecurity issues about everything, and he's totally not worth it in the first place. Which brings me to the relationship development. There is none. Two hundred pages later, their relationship is in the exact same position it was in the beginning. What changed? Oh right, it certainly wasn't his attitude. It was her clothes. And then suddenly porn. If we were going to get to the sex without much relationship development, we could have just started with the sex. It might have actually made the book more interesting. The only conflict in the relationship comes from Winfield's ridiculous notions about women and his insecurities about her dead husband. Which leads me to my least favorite part of the book. Alexander spends several pages with two of her characters discussing whether or not its possible to love two people at separate times equally to which the answer was yes. It took us several pages to get there, but the general conclusion was that her relationship with her husband should have no bearing on her relationship with Winfield and vice versa. Which is a notion I can really get behind, because widowers and divorcees need love too. Then she turns around and ruins it by deciding that Winfield is much better in the sack than her late husband, so it doesn't really matter anyway. My face, when I read that. Actually, I just really wanted to use that gif. So you know what, I didn't like this book. At all. I didn't like the characters, I didn't like the relationship development, and I certainly did not like the final conclusion about the late husband. However, Victoria Alexander is by no means a bad writer, even if I disagree with her plot and characters. If none of my above complaints bother you, then by all means, read the book, because there are plenty of other people out there who love this book. It's just not the book for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne (Under the Covers Book blog)

    Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell has had three fiancees but has yet to see the altar and has no current desire to look for his fourth, especially now that his family's home has burned down. So the last thing he expects when he hires an architect firm to rebuild his country home was the widowed Lady Miranda Garrett to step out of her carriage, in her ugly shoes, and start to take charge of not just the rebuilding of his home, but his heart as well. Miranda has always secretly wanted a wicked Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell has had three fiancees but has yet to see the altar and has no current desire to look for his fourth, especially now that his family's home has burned down. So the last thing he expects when he hires an architect firm to rebuild his country home was the widowed Lady Miranda Garrett to step out of her carriage, in her ugly shoes, and start to take charge of not just the rebuilding of his home, but his heart as well. Miranda has always secretly wanted a wicked man, and Winfield Elliott does have a certain reputation but instead of finding him charming and flirtatious he was rather...annoying and stodgy, why hasn't he kissed her yet? I am newly converted to Victoria Alexander, I love her brand of light hearted and funny historical romance. Although I have only read a few of Ms Alexander's books with each one she has created likable and dimensional characters, which just proves it doesn't all have to be doom and gloom for you to have a book containing a well drawn hero and heroine. What she also excels at is dialogue, the banter was witty and funny, even when the couple argued (which happened a lot) making a perma-smile appear on my face whilst I was reading The Importance of Being Wicked. However, if you are looking for a truly wicked hero then you have come to the wrong book, although Winfield was charming and a flirt he didn't strike me as at all wicked. When it came down to it he was just a very nice man who has previously had very bad taste in fiancees, luckily I have a soft spot for charming yet nice men. Of both of them, it was Miranda who was the most shocking (for her time) being a woman of business. Miranda also went through an ugly duckingesque transformation as she gains more confidence and I liked seeing her stand up for herself; my favourite parts of the book are seeing her tell various people off, including Win. The only part of the book I didn't like was towards the end where all sorts of misunderstanding happen that seemed to pop out the blue and didn't serve any kind of purpose and to me read a lot like page filler. Luckily by then I already liked the book and the people in it so it baffled me that this was put in. A great read, I am definitely going to continue exploring more of Victoria Alexander's books and look forward to the next book in this series.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mariana

    Reread as pleasurable as the first time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Caz

    I found this to be a thoroughly engaging book, filled with humour and warmth. Set towards the end of the 19th Century, The Importance of Being Wicked tells the story of how Winfield Elliot, Lord Stillwell finally makes it to the altar after the three failed attempts detailed in Lord Stillwell's Excellent Engagements. Our heroine is Lady Miranda Garret, a twenty-eight year-old widow who, though ostensibly just the owner of her late husband’s architectural business is actually running the business I found this to be a thoroughly engaging book, filled with humour and warmth. Set towards the end of the 19th Century, The Importance of Being Wicked tells the story of how Winfield Elliot, Lord Stillwell finally makes it to the altar after the three failed attempts detailed in Lord Stillwell's Excellent Engagements. Our heroine is Lady Miranda Garret, a twenty-eight year-old widow who, though ostensibly just the owner of her late husband’s architectural business is actually running the business as well as being its chief architect. But this is the 1880s, and were these facts known, the business would quickly fail due to the reluctance of men to hire a woman to do such a job. Miranda is sensible though, and knows she cannot keep up the charade indefinitely, and has therefore already made provision for taking care of her small staff when this happens. She is forthright and independent – without being labelled ‘feisty’ (which often denotes a modicum of stupidity as well!) - and one of the things I really liked about her was the way in which she was gradually brought to realise how much she had changed since the death of her husband. When she and Winfield meet, the sparks start flying immediately, and in fact, for the first part of their relationship, they are often barely civil to each other and eager to score points off each other. Winfield often comes off the worse in these encounters – in fact I rather liked the way he was thrown off balance by Miranda and became rather endearingly bewildered when in her presence. The real heart of the book however is Winfield himself. I’d already developed a soft spot for him while reading Lord Stillwell's Excellent Engagements - he’s handsome, charming, funny and caring, but beneath the witticisms is revealed a man who, despite his many attractive qualities and his ability to laugh at himself, is just a bit insecure about himself and wants to be loved for who he is rather than what he has. While he comes to realise he has finally fallen in love, he is – given that he has already been engaged three time - naturally cautious about becoming involved again. I always enjoy stories with plenty of good verbal sparring between the hero and heroine, and there’s no shortage of that here. I also particularly enjoyed Winfield’s relationship with his cousin Gray (whose story was told in What Happens At Christmas); there is lots of affection beneath the constant teasing and the depth of feeling between them is evident. There is also a very slender secondary plot thread surrounding the mysterious Mr Tempest, the investor in Miranda’s firm, although anyone with a passing acquaintance with Shakespeare will have worked it out by the time all is revealed. I do have one niggle with the story, however, which was the continual mention of Winfield’s reputation for ‘wickedness’ – which was then countered by someone saying ‘ you can’t believe everything you hear’ or pointing out that he was no better or worse than any other wealthy young man in his position. Young men at that time were expected to sow their wild oats before they settled down (and many continued to do so afterwards as well) so the fact that Winfield was sexually experienced shouldn’t really have been made into such an issue. In fact, I don’t think he was wicked at all – just an incredibly charming and appealing man who didn’t have any problems attracting women – and I’m sure there could have been a less repetitive way of conveying both that, and the fact that Miranda is looking for something more than the sort of placid and civilised relationship she had with her late husband. Finally, I’m surprised at the number of ‘meh’ reviews this book has received on Goodreads so far. I admit that I’ve read a number of rather disappointing historical romance titles recently, which has perhaps skewered my view somewhat, but this book delivered exactly what I’ve been missing in those others – engaging characters and the development of an actual relationship based on friendship and affection rather than the insta-lust and immediate bed-hopping which is such a poor substitute and which is sadly occurring in so many HRs at the moment. With thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the review copy

  5. 4 out of 5

    Flor

    2 stars for the heroine who truly deserved a better hero.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lady Wesley

    Review of Audible Audio edition. This is a nice story narrated very well by Michael Page. The characters are very well drawn, and the idea of a female architect in Victorian England is interesting.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nakeesha

    Victoria Alexander has a great grasp of prose in her historical romance, "The Importance of Being Wicked." However the exposition left me feeling like an overworked bartender. You know the stereotype: someone gets drunk at a bar and winds up telling their whole life story to the bartender who won't remember any of the details. That's how I felt while reading the Prologue, which introduced Lord Stillwell, and Chapter One, which introduced Lady Garrett. The Prologue sets up the catalyst that brings Victoria Alexander has a great grasp of prose in her historical romance, "The Importance of Being Wicked." However the exposition left me feeling like an overworked bartender. You know the stereotype: someone gets drunk at a bar and winds up telling their whole life story to the bartender who won't remember any of the details. That's how I felt while reading the Prologue, which introduced Lord Stillwell, and Chapter One, which introduced Lady Garrett. The Prologue sets up the catalyst that brings these two together. That catalyst is that Lord Stillwell's homestead has sustained major damage from a fire and he'll be in need of an architectural firm. I gleaned that Stillwell was devastated but hopeful as a result of this catastrophe, and that he was the responsible type and up to the challenge of the repair efforts. This story is written in 3rd POV, staying close to Stillwell. In the prologue, Stillwell's cousin Gray is introduced. A lot of writing focused on Gray, and Stillwell and Gray seemed very similar. So much that I often forgot who was speaking and had to reread. The two men talked about a lot of characters while out surveying the damage; a lot of characters who we had yet to encounter. Add that to a male lead and a male support who were very similar and it became overwhelming for me. In Chapter One we meet the heroine, Lady Garrett, while she's at lunch with her sister who is prattling on as Lady Garrett details her entire backstory, her secrets, and her future motivations in internal monologue. Its very interesting that Lady Garrett is secretly a business women in a man's world. Its even more interesting that her prattling sister wants a divorce and Lady Garrett sanctions something so scandalous. But I had already lost interest by the time we learn all this near the end of Chapter One. There was no room left for foreplay or finding out anything new because Lady Garrett told me her whole life story and future endeavors, including hinting at her willingness to be seduced by the Hero. Even though the "cherry" hadn't been popped, as a reader I knew it was loose and that released a lot of potential dramatic tension. I decided to give the story until the Lord and Lady met. I didn't have to wait long because that happens at the top of Chapter Two. Yet when these two characters came face to face, they read to me like two totally different people. Lady Garrett came off cold and distant "reminiscent of a governess that said, far louder than words, that this was a woman not to be trifled with," and Lord Stillwell turned his devastated, responsible eyes from his ruined property and was fixing her with a charming smile that labeled him a rake. Perhaps if the work had started with Chapter Two and I could have discovered these two and their backstory in action I would have maintained my buzz instead of acquiring a hangover. ARC courtesy of Netgalley.com

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Review posted on Demon Lover's Books & More 3.75 "It could be worse." Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell, has just had his heart ripped out-and it’s not from another failed engagement (he’s had 3!). It’s because his home, the family’s home, has caught fire. And it’s devastating. It hits Win hard, but he keeps up his mantra of “It could be worse.” Miranda Garrett is a lady. But she’s also an architect. One of the best out there, in fact. But she’s been hiding behind her late husband’s name and bus Review posted on Demon Lover's Books & More 3.75 "It could be worse." Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell, has just had his heart ripped out-and it’s not from another failed engagement (he’s had 3!). It’s because his home, the family’s home, has caught fire. And it’s devastating. It hits Win hard, but he keeps up his mantra of “It could be worse.” Miranda Garrett is a lady. But she’s also an architect. One of the best out there, in fact. But she’s been hiding behind her late husband’s name and business for far too long, and when she has the opportunity to rebuild Fairfield she has to go in person. Her normal male liaison can’t leave London, and so many men won’t work with a woman, so she’s risking more than just her reputation and a job she loves. She’s risking her employees’ livelihood. With every intention of stepping carefully and tactfully, Miranda meets Win. Win, the legendary charmer, can’t seem to charm his new architect’s liaison. She doesn’t find him witty, she doesn’t laugh at his jokes, and she keeps him off-kilter. And this irritates him. The two of them are off to a fun start full of witty banter and snappy comebacks. Their romance was fun, and sweet and everything I’ve come to expect from Victoria Alexander. Towards the end, Miranda’s determination to keep her architecture secret from Win is what causes a rift between them. This is the only part that I felt was a bit too drawn out. Win had known for a while and was holding out for Miranda to trust him. Miranda knew how Win felt about ladies staying in their place (and out of the workplace-ouch), but it was based off an asinine comment he’d made the first or second time they’d met. While I can see why she wouldn’t tell him, I also think he more than proved his change of heart. Now, that being said, this was absolutely a fun romance and a delightful couple of characters. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys Historical Romance and sassy heroines. ***ARC courtesy of Kensington

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    I wanted to like this based on the title alone “The Importance of Being Wicked”… a play on one of my favorite plays about a guy named Earnest. Alas it was not to be. Victoria Alexander fails to draw me in or create a story that I can invest in. The concept is charming enough, it just doesn’t go anywhere. It is hindered greatly by awkward conversations and a generally pedantic feel to the writing. And then there is the word “wicked”… I was ready to scream every time I read it by the middle of the I wanted to like this based on the title alone “The Importance of Being Wicked”… a play on one of my favorite plays about a guy named Earnest. Alas it was not to be. Victoria Alexander fails to draw me in or create a story that I can invest in. The concept is charming enough, it just doesn’t go anywhere. It is hindered greatly by awkward conversations and a generally pedantic feel to the writing. And then there is the word “wicked”… I was ready to scream every time I read it by the middle of the book. At times it seemed as if the author had no other descriptive word to use. And in using “wicked” so much it seems to lose any meaning or impact at all. It becomes a silly throw away word. Our erstwhile lovers are Miranda and Winfield. Neither one ends up being overly compelling and since there is no dangerous situation or shadowy intrigue to form the plot this is a problem. There is no compelling dynamic between them. Winfield spends most of the book coming across as a pompous misogynist who appears clueless the majority of the time. Miranda seems to be 2 different people and not in the choosing to show 2 different sides kind of way. It honestly feels at times like she was perhaps 2 different characters combined into 1 for some unknown reason. The idea that a woman who can create detailed and well done plans for houses including new modern plumbing and electricity would somehow be completely clueless as to the financial situation of her business but still have the foresight to put aside money for her employees – it just doesn’t ring true. There just seemed to be no there there. I was provided a free copy for review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lover of Romance

    The Importance of Being Wicked is the second book in the Millworth Manor series. Victoria Alexander has been one of my favorite author for years, and I have really enjoyed the theme of this latest series of hers. Not my favorite stories from this author, but very enjoyable. The series is based on this family that reside at Millworth Manor. This installment is about Winfield Elliot, the Viscount of Stillwell. The format of this book was in audio form, and I thought since lately I haven't listened The Importance of Being Wicked is the second book in the Millworth Manor series. Victoria Alexander has been one of my favorite author for years, and I have really enjoyed the theme of this latest series of hers. Not my favorite stories from this author, but very enjoyable. The series is based on this family that reside at Millworth Manor. This installment is about Winfield Elliot, the Viscount of Stillwell. The format of this book was in audio form, and I thought since lately I haven't listened to many historical romances, I thought that this one would be a good one to do. I have been meaning to continue with this series, and so I do love audio books. I did have a hard time sticking to this audio book though, I am not sure if it was the narrator or the way the book was written, but I have a feeling I would have enjoyed it a bit more in paperback. Despite that fact, I really enjoyed the style of this story and it had many qualities to this story that pulled me in and left me fascinated. The Importance Of Being Wicked begins with Millworth Manor, being caught in a fire, and the main living areas being burned although the outer edges remained untouched. So they are in desperate need of a architect hoping to have the work finished before their yearly ball that is a well known event among society. Win has been searching for a good architect to do the work, and seeks the help of Miranda Garrett who has been running the business since her late husband passed away. But what is not known is that she is the main architect and has been since the company first began. But because she is a woman, that fact can't be made known to the public or the very attractive Winfield. As Win and Miranda are thrown together in trying to complete the manor before the ball, and attraction forms between the two, sparks fly, and desire flames hotter than any house fire. I really loved the idea of the heroine being a talented architect, and how she somehow keeps it a secret, while keeping a priority on those that work for her. Not even her own family knows, and I enjoyed seeing the secret slowly come out, and I enjoyed the reactions of the fellow characters involved in the story. This story was a sensational read, and I loved the romance that develops between Win and Miranda. It was a bit different, since they couldn't stop arguing or doubting the others intentions, but eventually they started to really come together, and I enjoyed the bickering banter between them. Very amusing to the reader, and keeps you interested in the story. There isn't a huge major conflict other than both keeping a few secrets, but other than that, its a fun and simple love story you can relax into. There isn't much suspense or intensity, but a calming effect of a beautifully written romance that leaves a feeling of contentment once you reach the ending. A STUNNING TALE!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Lady Miranda Garrett has been the secret behind her husband’s, John, successful architectural firm until the day he was accidentally killed on a work site. Then she had to come up with a way to continue supporting his employees, keep up business as usual, without her husband to take the credit for her work. You see, London would never accept a lady architect and although she has been the designer for years to keep the business profitable she must maintain her secret. She now has the opportunity Lady Miranda Garrett has been the secret behind her husband’s, John, successful architectural firm until the day he was accidentally killed on a work site. Then she had to come up with a way to continue supporting his employees, keep up business as usual, without her husband to take the credit for her work. You see, London would never accept a lady architect and although she has been the designer for years to keep the business profitable she must maintain her secret. She now has the opportunity to work on a large job for Viscount Winfield Elliot. He is known to be wicked, engaged 3 times and somewhat of a lady’s man. Miranda must maintain her secret while keeping Winfield Elliot in the dark or all will be ruined. Viscount Winfield Elliot’s family home has been ravaged by fire and only the firm owned by Tempest and Garret can handle the rebuild in a timely matter. But all isn’t what it seems about the mysterious Lady Garrett. Not wanting to trust her firm to the rebuild, Win hires an investigator to find out all he can about Garrett and Tempest. Although there is mistrust and secrets both are inexplicitly drawn toward each other. What begins as a combative relationship soon becomes so much more. The question , can their secrets destroy it all? This was a sweet and enjoyable story filled with witty banter and lots of verbal feuding. I found the story interesting but felt the narrative between characters was quite extensive and the relationship was an extremely slow build. I also had trouble feeling the “wickedness” but found Win, our hero, charming and often reasonably befuddled. The Importance of Being Wicked was a charming, slow building historical romance. 3 stars. This ARC copy of The Importance of Being Wicked was given to me by Netgalley and Kensington Publishing Corp. - Zebra in exchange for an honest review. Publish Date January 29, 2013.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies

    I enjoyed the prequel more than I do this full-length book. Winfield Elliot, Viscount Stillwell appeared in a previous novella which explained his three previous broken engagements. In that story, Win appeared to be a nice guy who genuinely wants to get married, is respectful of women, and sensitive to their needs. In this one, he is a misogynistic, pompous prick, and no, I don't think the broken engagements were not responsible for such a drastic change of characters. It's like Victoria Alexand I enjoyed the prequel more than I do this full-length book. Winfield Elliot, Viscount Stillwell appeared in a previous novella which explained his three previous broken engagements. In that story, Win appeared to be a nice guy who genuinely wants to get married, is respectful of women, and sensitive to their needs. In this one, he is a misogynistic, pompous prick, and no, I don't think the broken engagements were not responsible for such a drastic change of characters. It's like Victoria Alexander just used the excuse of the broken engagements as a backstory and decided to change his personality when she fleshed out his character. The story revolves around the repair of Win's ancestral home, which was destroyed in a fire. Lady Miranda Garrett is a secret architect, which I find hard to believe, considering she took over her husband and his partners' business without any training whatsoever. I mean come on people, repairing and redesigning a mansion requires an architect, and we're supposed to believe that she is this genius drafter and designer without any formal training whatsoever, just whatever she gleaned from her late hubby? Please. Their attraction is inexplicable, sudden, and hard to believe for the reader. Win is a total misogynist who reacts like this: "GASP, A WOMAN MORE INTELLIGENT THAN ME? DO NOT WANT" (in the appropriate language for the time, of course). Miranda is a bitch for the sake of being contrary. I did not like the central characters at all, and did not find their interaction and conversation enjoyable. I sludged through the book for the sake of finishing it. The plot is boring, the dialogue not refreshing, witty, nor particularly poignant; in short, the book was entirely forgettable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I knew this story was going to be good because I had so much fun reading its prequel `intro' novella `Lord Stillwell's Excellent Engagements'. If you plan to read this book, I highly recommend you read the novella first because in it you'll get to know him and his life a bit better. As for this story, it was again such a breath of fresh air to read a mature and slow developing friendship, courtship and love. The heroine is no simpering miss, but a grown woman, a widow that actually has is running I knew this story was going to be good because I had so much fun reading its prequel `intro' novella `Lord Stillwell's Excellent Engagements'. If you plan to read this book, I highly recommend you read the novella first because in it you'll get to know him and his life a bit better. As for this story, it was again such a breath of fresh air to read a mature and slow developing friendship, courtship and love. The heroine is no simpering miss, but a grown woman, a widow that actually has is running a business, although naturally in the Victorian England, she's still hiding behind her husband's name and an alias male `employee' name. That part of the plot was almost as much fun to follow as the relationship between the two. When it comes to painting a Victorian Era picture, Ms. Alexander excels in making sure I `see' the setting, the costumes, the language and I'm never disappointed as I `enter' the world she creates for my pleasure. If you're like me, a long time fan of Victoria Alexander, then you'll get this one for sure. For all of you bookworms that have never had the pleasure, may as well start with this one. This is a slow, simmering and chemistry filled sensual romance filled with great verbal, witty sparring between the main characters and I do recommend you read it. *Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. Melanie for b2b

  14. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This was a fun read. I'm quickly becoming a fan of Victoria Alexander. I loved Miranda, the main character, and her boldness in pursuing a "man's profession". And she has the nerve to be good at it, too! Of course, she's surrounded by the wonderful and quirky Hadley-Attwater family, who will be familiar to readers of the Effingtons series. Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell, is the rakish fellow who has scandalously had not one but three engagements, none of which has led to marriage. Peeling This was a fun read. I'm quickly becoming a fan of Victoria Alexander. I loved Miranda, the main character, and her boldness in pursuing a "man's profession". And she has the nerve to be good at it, too! Of course, she's surrounded by the wonderful and quirky Hadley-Attwater family, who will be familiar to readers of the Effingtons series. Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell, is the rakish fellow who has scandalously had not one but three engagements, none of which has led to marriage. Peeling back the layers of his character is one of the main joys of this book. My one complaint is the whole 'wicked' thing is overdone. I mean, OK, I get where the whole 'three engagements' debacle would result in his being labeled wicked. But in the pages of this book, the word 'wicked' is used to an excessive degree. Its probably supposed to be tongue in cheek, but I found it a little annoying. I checked the author's bio to see if she was from Boston, which would have excused it, but she appears not to hail from that area.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    I got to 36% and stopped. I've been working on this book for weeks and I just can't get into it. Nothing has happened. It's a shame really. I enjoyed meeting Lord Stilwell in his novella about his three failed engagements, but in this book, that charming person is just not the same. VA is usually hit or miss for me and while I was really looking forward to reading this, I just can't get excited about it now. The writing is good as usual, but this one was just plain boring. I got to 36% and stopped. I've been working on this book for weeks and I just can't get into it. Nothing has happened. It's a shame really. I enjoyed meeting Lord Stilwell in his novella about his three failed engagements, but in this book, that charming person is just not the same. VA is usually hit or miss for me and while I was really looking forward to reading this, I just can't get excited about it now. The writing is good as usual, but this one was just plain boring.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Adams

    Pretty sure this was another new author for me , and I’m hooked. Great characters. I’m also a sucker for a strong female lead, and Miranda was awesome. Funny and sweet story as well. Definitely reading more of this author and this series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    An Odd1

    Miranda Garrett 28, widow "nearly 3 years" p 13 thinks "the key to handling [thrice-engaged] Lord Stillwell" to rebuild burned-out Fairborough Hall is "bringing the horse to water". "Holding his head under?" "If necessary" p 46 .. "allow him to believe his architect is the elusive Mr Tempest" p 47, "silent investor" p 48 partner in her late husband's firm. Extra Bonus is "three fiancées .. he had planned to love" p 137. (view spoiler)[ "I will not be your second fiancé .. But I will be your last Miranda Garrett 28, widow "nearly 3 years" p 13 thinks "the key to handling [thrice-engaged] Lord Stillwell" to rebuild burned-out Fairborough Hall is "bringing the horse to water". "Holding his head under?" "If necessary" p 46 .. "allow him to believe his architect is the elusive Mr Tempest" p 47, "silent investor" p 48 partner in her late husband's firm. Extra Bonus is "three fiancées .. he had planned to love" p 137. (view spoiler)[ "I will not be your second fiancé .. But I will be your last" p 350. Win counters her proposal. (hide spoiler)] "Bianca huffed p 228. "Lady Waterston huffed" p 296. Even in bonus, fiancée Lucille "She huffed" p 395 when Win affectionately calls her 'Lucy', "Win huffed" p 412 (why don't his third sweet fiancée Caroline bidding farewell to her beloved Lawrence hear Win huff?), "He huffed" p 370. Miranda does her share. "She huffed" p 147. "She huffed" p 188. "Win huffed" p 40. "He watched her for a moment, then huffed" p 188. "He huffed" p 160. "He huffed" p 204. "He huffed" p 236. The plenitude of huffs overwhelms. Am I caught in poorly constructed piglet houses attacked by fairy tale wolf? "'While I may be many things, I am not a fool.' Even if Lady Garrett disagreed" p 42. "And is Lord Stillwell a progressive sort?" "Lord Stillwell is a twit." "Be that as it may. . ." Clara choked back a laugh. "He is a twit with a great deal of money." "Which makes him a valued client although no less of a twit" p 43. From sister Camille who knows him well, and Miranda who just met him, poor Win gets insulted all round. The more "twit" is repeated, the more likely the opinion is to be believed, especially by readers. "You are an annoying, obstinate, complicated, twit of a man and I will not allow you to stalk out of my life in a huff of foolish pride and misunderstanding" p 348. "Winfield huffed in frustration" p 349. "She was wrong about Winfield Elliot. He was indeed a twit after all. And for that he'd have to pay" p 153. His offer for bonus "If the Midsummer Ball can be held at Fairborough" as usual p 147 has such an obvious loophole. No surprises. "I am a woman of business" p 245. Naive Miranda provokes shock from older brother Adrian. (view spoiler)[ Adrian funded her as silent Mr Tempest p 285. (hide spoiler)] "I have never been as stupid as you have thought I was". Miranda's 'woman of business' reminds me of first time I heard, got away with misunderstanding "working women" phrase in a hotel applied to streetwalkers off the street. "One never knows how anyone might react. Honesty is certainly not worth the risk" p 193. Confusion over Bianca and other Millworth series roles lessens after I don't try to place everyone, just enjoy banter, exaggeration for humor. Miranda "resolved", will confess architect work to her family. "Sooner rather than later. Not today and probably not tomorrow, but definitely sooner" p 83. Men do dominate in 2000 century, not as overt as 1800s. "The only reason that you are doing it [being architect] in a clandestine manner is because men have driven you to it. Men rule the world and men make the rules. Fortunately for us, the vast majority of them are idiots. And while one shouldn't usually take advantage of those less fortunate, men are the exception" p 193. "I do think complete and total honesty is without doubt the worst thing that can happen to two people" p 324 future mother-in-law Lady Fairborough advises Miranda. Lord Fairborough "chuckled" at his son. "Marrying a woman who is nearly as intelligent as you are is both challenging and infuriating. It won't be easy. But it is a great deal of fun" p 303. Some attitudes might be ahead of their times. I can overlook little annoyances, "huffing" repetition. Overall author Victoria Alexander gives fun happy love-struck couples who provoke and thoroughly enjoy each other.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Atunah

    I really enjoyed this one. A woman that runs a business and is a gifted architect, which she has to keep secret for obvious reasons. What I really liked most in this book was the witty verbal sparring between the characters. Most of it between the leads, but also with the cast. Nobody here seems to be stuck in their thoughts. You know some books where someone thinks about something for pages and pages until you forget what the character was actually doing or who they were interacting with. Nothi I really enjoyed this one. A woman that runs a business and is a gifted architect, which she has to keep secret for obvious reasons. What I really liked most in this book was the witty verbal sparring between the characters. Most of it between the leads, but also with the cast. Nobody here seems to be stuck in their thoughts. You know some books where someone thinks about something for pages and pages until you forget what the character was actually doing or who they were interacting with. Nothing like this here. They actually talk with each other. Communicate. Of course there are still some secrets left to be found out. But to me they happened pretty organically. Until the end where it was a bit annoying and drawn out. But the verbal fencing in this is such a delight to read. It makes the characters come alive and be believable in their interactions. I am usually OCD about reading a series in order. But I had reserved this one at the library without checking so I didn't know there were other books before. The Novella about Win and his 3 failed engagements is actually at the end of the paperback. So I read that one first when I found out. So I wasn't familiar with some of the other characters. It doesn't happen often to me reading a series out of order. :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Review featured on www.books-n-kisses.com I have been a fan of Victoria Alexander’s for a while now but I don’t think this will be one of my favorites which is weird because I enjoyed the first book and the novella about Win’s engagements so much. The problem was I didn’t feel a connection between Win and Miranda. Win did not seem to be light-hearted man he was in the first 1 ½ books. While the story was good in general and I think would have been better if we had not met Win before in the previo Review featured on www.books-n-kisses.com I have been a fan of Victoria Alexander’s for a while now but I don’t think this will be one of my favorites which is weird because I enjoyed the first book and the novella about Win’s engagements so much. The problem was I didn’t feel a connection between Win and Miranda. Win did not seem to be light-hearted man he was in the first 1 ½ books. While the story was good in general and I think would have been better if we had not met Win before in the previous books. He was such a great background that I was thrilled his story was coming out but maybe I just had my hopes too high for his story. I didn’t like the way Miranda deceived Win so much either. I know the times were different and women did not work back then but it just seemed there were so many opportunities for her to fess up and she didn’t. With all that being said no Alexander book is bad. She is a phenomenal author who adds humor to the straight laced historical times. You can never go wrong reading a Alexander novel. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Elsborg

    The first book I've read of Ms Alexander and I really liked it. It was witty and different and kept me turning the page. I'm not usually a fan of stories set in this period - Victorian age - but really, apart from the mention of electricity and trains to London- it felt like a regency romance to me. I liked the story line - Win has almost married three times - and now his ancestral home has been badly damaged in a fire, he needs it rebuilt and who should he engage but Miranda - who pretends not The first book I've read of Ms Alexander and I really liked it. It was witty and different and kept me turning the page. I'm not usually a fan of stories set in this period - Victorian age - but really, apart from the mention of electricity and trains to London- it felt like a regency romance to me. I liked the story line - Win has almost married three times - and now his ancestral home has been badly damaged in a fire, he needs it rebuilt and who should he engage but Miranda - who pretends not to be the architect, but is. Not giving anything away there. There are lots of misunderstandings, lots of sexual tension, great banter and it was a very good read. I liked the three little stories at the end that explained his first three engagements. I'll def. read more by this author. I was glad to see at the front of the book that I have others I can get hold of.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book has a light comic tone, which I enjoyed. I also liked the main couple, especially Miranda. Miranda runs a business and designs buildings. Since neither of those activities is socially acceptable for a woman, she conceals her work from her family and the public. She falls in love with one of her clients, but worries how he'll react to her unorthodox behavior. I thought this was an interesting problem. However, it gets solved pretty early on, but the book continues. You could easily cut This book has a light comic tone, which I enjoyed. I also liked the main couple, especially Miranda. Miranda runs a business and designs buildings. Since neither of those activities is socially acceptable for a woman, she conceals her work from her family and the public. She falls in love with one of her clients, but worries how he'll react to her unorthodox behavior. I thought this was an interesting problem. However, it gets solved pretty early on, but the book continues. You could easily cut 50 pages without taking away from the book. There were so many passages about what Winfield is thinking, what Miranda is thinking, Miranda talking to her family about what she is thinking, Winfield talking to his family about what he is thinking, etc. It's a little tedious. If you read this book, feel free to skip large portions of it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nita

    Enjoyed the premise; I like historical romances with women doing unconventional occupations for the time period. In this case our heroine, Lady Miranda Garrett, is an architect, though nobody outside the company knows she's doing this work. The characters were pretty disappointing, though. Winfield Elliott is supposed to be very wicked and a ladies man. But his character plays more awkward than wicked. We really only get to hear about his wicked ways and not experience them. And the only thing I Enjoyed the premise; I like historical romances with women doing unconventional occupations for the time period. In this case our heroine, Lady Miranda Garrett, is an architect, though nobody outside the company knows she's doing this work. The characters were pretty disappointing, though. Winfield Elliott is supposed to be very wicked and a ladies man. But his character plays more awkward than wicked. We really only get to hear about his wicked ways and not experience them. And the only thing I really found interesting about Miranda was her neat occupation. I will say I did like Win's reaction to finding out Miranda is the architect. It was the complete opposite of what I was expecting. It was the only time I really liked this character. ARC provided through NetGalley.

  23. 4 out of 5

    ARomanceLover

    When Lord Win's ancestral home burns down he hires the firm of Garrett and Tempest to rebuild. Since before her husband died, Miranda Garrett has been the architect for Garrett and Tempest but since it is an improper for a women to be in business and do "man's work" she keeps it a secret. She comes to the country to supervise the rebuilding of Win's house personally and finds that she enjoys sparring with Win despite her previous reserved and aquiescing personality. Though I felt this book dragg When Lord Win's ancestral home burns down he hires the firm of Garrett and Tempest to rebuild. Since before her husband died, Miranda Garrett has been the architect for Garrett and Tempest but since it is an improper for a women to be in business and do "man's work" she keeps it a secret. She comes to the country to supervise the rebuilding of Win's house personally and finds that she enjoys sparring with Win despite her previous reserved and aquiescing personality. Though I felt this book dragged on and I was bored throughout the middle part I liked the way it ended and genuinely felt the emotions on both sides.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell is devastated when his family's country home has a terrible fire. When he looks for a firm with the skill to restore it to the original condition as well as the original historical features, he finds only one firm can meet his criteria. The firm is Garrett and Tempest. He is surprised to find the representative of the company is Lady Miranda Garrett. She comes with architectural drawings which can restore the basic property but also adding improved plumbing as Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell is devastated when his family's country home has a terrible fire. When he looks for a firm with the skill to restore it to the original condition as well as the original historical features, he finds only one firm can meet his criteria. The firm is Garrett and Tempest. He is surprised to find the representative of the company is Lady Miranda Garrett. She comes with architectural drawings which can restore the basic property but also adding improved plumbing as well as electricity. Win is not happy with the idea of electricity being brought into his home. He is voted down by his mother, his father was well as his cousin who was raised with him. There will be electricity. Miranda is a widow who inherited her late husband's company. She was always the architect for the company even when her husband was alive. For the past three years, she has made certain that her company can continue as it was in the past. She wants to be sure that her employees are able to continue to work and make good livings. These two people are very different in many ways. But, in basic character, they are quite similar. Both are devoted to family. Both are intelligent. Both appear one way to the world but in reality are basically much different people. Miranda has kept her situation as well as her true personality secret from her family. She loves her family. She is the youngest and it has always been the family perspective that she is quiet, shy and unassuming. Since her husband's death, she has found that she is capable of running the company, doing the architectural drawings and enjoying every minute of it. Win has three failed engagements in his past. Each of the women ended their engagement and each of them were not the right women to marry him. Win has taken over managing his family's investments and is doing a wonderful job. He loves his parents, and feels that his cousin is like a brother. His past has made him determine that although he will need to marry and produce an heir, he will never commit his heart. Ms Alexander has created two characters who are entertaining and likable. Their arguments are fun for the reader just as they are for Miranda and Win. Family members add a great deal to the story. There are surprises within each family. But, most of all there is a great deal of family love. I enjoyed meeting Miranda and Win. And I think it was perfect that none of Win's three engagements led to marriage. The plot moves along at a good pace. It is a well written book by Ms Alexander. Just as I expected.

  25. 4 out of 5

    RoloPoloBookBlog

    The Importance of Being Wicked by Victoria Alexander Source: Netgalley Rating: 4/5 stars March 1887: Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell stands and watches as his beloved family home, Fairborough Hall burns. Win keeps reminding himself it could be worse, the Hall could have burned to the ground, his family could have been hurt and, he could be far too poor to rebuild the great Hall. Fortunately, much of the great hall did survive, all his family is well and accounted for, and he certainly has the The Importance of Being Wicked by Victoria Alexander Source: Netgalley Rating: 4/5 stars March 1887: Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell stands and watches as his beloved family home, Fairborough Hall burns. Win keeps reminding himself it could be worse, the Hall could have burned to the ground, his family could have been hurt and, he could be far too poor to rebuild the great Hall. Fortunately, much of the great hall did survive, all his family is well and accounted for, and he certainly has the means to hire a top-notch architectural firm to rebuild and restore his home. After three failed engagements, Winfield Elliott never does anything without proper thought and consideration. He investigates every possible avenue for increasing his family’s wealth before investing and he certainly inquires as to the quality and character of those he may be doing business with. The architectural firm of Garrett and Tempest comes highly recommended so when the firm’s representative shows up to meet Win outside his ruined home, he is absolutely prepared. Until Miranda Hadley-Attwater Garrett steps out of the coach and into his life. Miranda Hadley-Attwater Garrett is unlike anyone Win has ever met. She is confident, intelligent, quick-witted, and completely at ease with overseeing the re-construction of Fairborough Hall. And why shouldn’t she be? For the past six years unbeknownst to virtually everyone, Miranda has been Garrett and Tempest’s chief architect and designer. Following her husband’s death, Miranda assumed the company’s debt and continued to work behind the scenes creating all the plans for each and every client while one of her male employees oversees the work and deals with clients face-to-face. Miranda has not only managed to decrease the debt but has even seen her business begin to turn quite a profit. The only problem? If word were to ever get out that Garrett and Tempest were run by a woman, the business would fail and all Miranda’s employees would be without an income. This is something Miranda simply cannot allow. Instantly, Miranda and Win are at odds with one another. Win is as completely unsure about a woman overseeing construction as Miranda is sure about her abilities and qualifications. Miranda is no-nonsense and straightforward and refuses to allow the stunningly handsome man to intimidate her. Miranda knows architecture and convinces Win she and Garrett and Tempest are the best firm for the project. Miranda even convinces the old-fashioned and as his mother calls him “stodgy” Winfield to modernize the place with electricity!! As construction on Fairborough Hall progresses so do the snarky comments, pokes and jabs between Miranda and Win. The two absolutely infuriate one another but there is also an underlying attraction that each wants desperately to ignore. Win doesn’t completely trust Miranda, he knows she is hiding something and is fearful of giving himself over to her before knowing all her dark secrets. In order to satisfy his curiosity, and because simply asking would just be too damn simple, Win hires a private investigator to dig into Miranda’s life. Miranda is hiding something from Win and is desperately afraid he will turn away from her if he discovers her true role at Garrett and Tempest. While Miranda know she will eventually have to tell Win her dirty little secret, she hopes it is not before she completes the Fairborough project and secures her employees’ future. Perhaps my favorite part of this read is the constant bickering between Win and Miranda. The two are ruthless with their barbs and are often left wondering about their own snarkiness. Miranda refuses to back down and Win refuses to be bested though he often is.  Both characters are as fun as they are frustrating and so easy to connect to; you want them to fight so when they do finally get together it will be well worth the wait! Easily my second favorite part of the book is the moment when Miranda confesses virtually everything, including her feelings for Win in an outburst of anger to her family. All of Miranda’s finest qualities come screaming to her aid as she quite succinctly albeit rather politely tells everyone to go to hell! Fantastic moment for Miranda and the reader  My third favorite part of this read, Miranda and Win’s mothers. Those two old birds have got everything figured out and maneuver everyone just as they need to be and just when they need to be in order to get Miranda and Win together at last. Love those two ladies somethin’ fierce  The Bottom Line: The Importance of Being Wicked is a fine historical romance with relatable, funny and caring characters. The dialogue is witty, snarky and funny (personal faves!!) and caries the reader easily through the book. While there are no hugely intense moments of action there is a very steady pace to the read with little to no slow spots. There is little to no cursing and only a few light naughty bits so I would feel safe recommending this thoroughly enjoyable historical romance read to new adult readers and beyond. Favorite quotes: Win’s mother: “Do try to be pleasant.” Win: “I am being pleasant!” Win’s mother: “My mistake then. I thought you were being rather stiff and stodgy and annoyed and just the tiniest bit outraged. I’m sure no one else noticed.” pages 56-57) ******************** He watched her for a moment, then huffed. How on earth had she managed to turn the tables? Why, as he had clearly won, did he feel as though he had somehow lost? “I know exactly what you just did, you know,” he called after her. “Good.” (page 212ish) ******************** She did so love annoying him and everything was so much easier when he was confused. This was going quite well thus far. (page 349)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Swan Creates

    This was an interesting read. I liked the main characters and the banter between the two was fun, but coming down to the end, I was kind of just wishing for the book to come to a conclusion already. I think the book dragged on a little too much and I kept waiting for when they would get romantic already. And when that part finally arrived, the speed of the book went from 0 to 80 and so much happened in a short period of time, I got whiplash. There was also a curveball in the book when they finally This was an interesting read. I liked the main characters and the banter between the two was fun, but coming down to the end, I was kind of just wishing for the book to come to a conclusion already. I think the book dragged on a little too much and I kept waiting for when they would get romantic already. And when that part finally arrived, the speed of the book went from 0 to 80 and so much happened in a short period of time, I got whiplash. There was also a curveball in the book when they finally saw each other again (no spoilers) that would have been so cool IF it was done better. It more felt like an afterthought rather than a main plot of the novel. Other than that, it was quite enjoyable.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anita D

    2.5 - but I'm rounding down lol. This book started off terrible and it slowly warmed up through the book. I think what I disliked the most was the dialogue which I found embarrassing and not witty. Repetitive phrases were annoying about the " little boys dream", wanting a " wicked man" blah blah. They had super inappropriate conversations in front of family members ( awkward and weird)... and I think some of the behaviour was not really period appropriate but whatever I suspended disbelief. In t 2.5 - but I'm rounding down lol. This book started off terrible and it slowly warmed up through the book. I think what I disliked the most was the dialogue which I found embarrassing and not witty. Repetitive phrases were annoying about the " little boys dream", wanting a " wicked man" blah blah. They had super inappropriate conversations in front of family members ( awkward and weird)... and I think some of the behaviour was not really period appropriate but whatever I suspended disbelief. In the end it was ok. I didn't care for either of them.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    Without it being too overdone the antics of our main characters and the supporting ones had some surprising moments married in with the more predictable ones. After steeping myself within the confines of a trio of Young Adult reads that were filled with things to bring a reader down this was an uplifting read without it being too far-fetched for a Historical Romance. The romance in this was slow-growing but for sure Miranda and Win never ceased to reach beyond the pages and keep one invested in wh Without it being too overdone the antics of our main characters and the supporting ones had some surprising moments married in with the more predictable ones. After steeping myself within the confines of a trio of Young Adult reads that were filled with things to bring a reader down this was an uplifting read without it being too far-fetched for a Historical Romance. The romance in this was slow-growing but for sure Miranda and Win never ceased to reach beyond the pages and keep one invested in what would happen next.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I LOVED this book. I loved it SO much. Win and Miranda are both incredibly charming. I loved the banter. I loved having a female architect during the Victorian period as the heroine. I LOVED it. I loved it so much that it was shocking to realize that I had read two previous books in the series and hated them both. This book, while sort of long, was so well crafted. I loved the pesky family members and the jokes. I just really loved it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Miriamgreen

    refreshingly unique plot among the overwhelming waterfall of regency romances and sex manuals set in the regency time. alexander has the most amazing sense of sarcasm and banter. i had not connected this to the millworth manner series until later. have since been reading many more titles of hers, all have the same biting dialogue which is so appreciated, along with characters you think about after the lights are out. the regency plots most encountered are truncated repetitions of old tropes whic refreshingly unique plot among the overwhelming waterfall of regency romances and sex manuals set in the regency time. alexander has the most amazing sense of sarcasm and banter. i had not connected this to the millworth manner series until later. have since been reading many more titles of hers, all have the same biting dialogue which is so appreciated, along with characters you think about after the lights are out. the regency plots most encountered are truncated repetitions of old tropes which sustains the statement from Ecclesiastes 'there is nothing new under the sun'. however this plot was something out of the ordinary and a definite reread.

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