Wicked by Design

Lush, dark, utterly real and above all achingly romantic— Ruth Ware

A thrilling, sexy romp through a brilliantly reimagined history… Totally absorbing’ —Holly Hepburn

Lamorna Cove, 1819. In Hester’s opinion, it was exactly like Crow to invite all the men most suspicious of his ambition to drink their cellar dry. Tension rises as politicians and diplomats gather at Nansmornow – but genteel conversation cannot conceal mistrust and treachery for long. A wild heist on a windswept Cornish beach leads Crow to a chess-match of sexual manipulation enacted with terrible precision across the glittering ballrooms of St Petersburg, but also to a passionate young soldier with a secret that must be hidden at all cost. Must Crow pay for past sins with the loss of all that is most precious to him?

All Hester and Crow hold most dear will be tested to the limit and beyond: their love for each other and for their child, and for Crow the loyalty of his only brother. Together, Hester and Crow’s story is one of lust, betrayal, and a love that knows no bounds.



“Those who like their action on the swashbuckling side will enjoy this fabulous debut set in a world in which Napoleon won the Battle of Waterloo. A cross between Georgette Heyer, Dorothy Dunnett and Poldark”

“The quality of the story in itself is sufficient to carry this novel, but excellent writing and characterisation pushes it up several notches — with special mention for Hester: a fizzing-with-life, believable and resourceful heroine if ever there was one.”
Daily Mail

“Featuring Cornish separatist rebels, Napoleon’s brother Jerome on the English throne, and a mixed-race heroine (not to mention another particularly wonderful depiction of a working-class woman whose capacity for military strategy wins her the Duke of Wellington’s respect), it’s like a glorious mashup of Frenchman’s Creek and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (but without the magic.)”
Elle Thinks

“Rugged scenery combined with even more rugged leading men and feisty leading ladies does make this a book that one can easily compare to Poldark – but Whittaker provides depth and nuance to her characters – meaning that the intensity of the plot is only amplified by quite how much she makes you care about the characters it revolves around.”
The Bookbag

“Wars, murder, rebellion, slavery, PTSD, bravery and love, all scrambled into this one hell of a ride for both characters and readers.”
Our First Year Here

“K J Whittaker draws the reader into a world full of adventure, romance, treachery, and espionage, with believable characters and wonderfully evocative settings of Scilly, Cornwall and London.”
Mostly Books

“Adventurous, dark, brooding and mysterious.”
Rachel Bustin

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