A wonderfully thrilling, sweeping romantic historical adventure that keeps you gripped until the last page
1819: Cornwall and St Petersburg
High society England is awash with gossip and scandal. For Lady Hester, it’s just typical that the wickedest gossip focuses on her beautiful, impossible husband Crow. Hester loves him fiercely, but the Earl of Lamorna has a wild past. Rumours of an illegitimate child with his black hair and grey eyes wound Hester more than she’d like to admit.
Crow’s enemies also want him tried for treason, and soon Hester and her daughter are in danger. There’s nothing Hester won’t do to protect their child. So when Countess Lieven drops her guard and says, Take your baby, Hester and run, Hester does exactly that.
Meanwhile, Crow will do anything to save his family, even accepting a final mission that might end in losing them for good
Reader advisory: this book includes mention of PTSD, sexual assault, racism and violence.
***A correction to the historical note in the first print editions of Wicked by Design: originally, I pointed readers towards The Cavalry Maiden by Nadezhda Durova as one of my sources of inspiration for Nadezhda Kurakina in Wicked by Design. The introduction to my edition of this biography characterises Nadezhda Durova as a woman in disguise as a man. However, the author of The Cavalry Maiden was actually known for most of their life as Alexander Durov. Like Nadezhda, they had a gift for communicating with horses, and were tasked with delivering a herd for use by the army. In Wicked by Design, Nadezhda is a young woman who disguises herself as a man in order to achieve a specific objective. It seems very likely indeed that Durov’s gender identity was far more complex.
PRAISE FOR WICKED BY DESIGN
“Katy Moran took me from page one and battered emotions out of me all along the way, right up until that last line. I felt dangled on a string, I wanted to lash out at the characters sometimes, but all I can say is that her writing, her story, made me feel” —BookPhenomena
“Badly behaved aristocrats, gloriously opinionated women, and danger at every turn”—iNews Best of Books of 2019
“A decadent and enjoyable read that kept me hooked throughout”—Annabellereadsbooks
“A passionate, intelligent and beguiling tale rich in romance, action, intrigue and adventure that will more than make up for the lack of Ross Poldark in our lives”—Bookish Jottings
“A thrilling, sexy romp through brilliantly-reimagined history. Hester is one of my very favourite heroines and it’s probably best not to ask what I’d like to do with Crow… Totally absorbing.”—Holly Hepburn
“Sweeping and romantic, with a hero to rival Ross Poldark, Wicked By Design is a fantastic and compelling novel that draws you in and paints a glorious alternative St Petersburg, keeping you hooked until the end”
“Transporting the reader from the rugged coastline of Cornwall (ideal for those pining the absence of Ross and Demelza Poldark from their lives) to the salons of St. Petersburg, Wicked By Design races along like a golden Turkoman mare galloping across the steppes. Along the way there are twists and turns, vividly depicted action scenes and unexpected revelations. I loved every suspenseful, breathless minute of it, especially the riveting final chapters and that ending which I’ll confess left me a little blurry-eyed. Please, please tell me this is not the end of Hester’s and Crow’s adventures?.”—What Cathy Read Next
“A master of pace, plotting and action packed scenes”
“It’s pretty hard to pull off a good Georgette Heyer homage, but Moran makes it look easy with this addictive sequel set in a world where Napoleon has won the battle of Waterloo” —iNews
“Katy Moran’s passionate, smart and action-packed novels set in a world where Napoleon won the battle of Waterloo – are stuffed full not just of heart-pumping romance but also clever one-liners.”—Sarah Hughes, Guardian
“Poldark collides with War and Peace in this fast paced and fun historical adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed this and am eagerly awaiting the sequel!”—Reading in Wellies