This is the first book that I've ever read by Madaline Hunter - I was actually planning to grab The Wicked Duke when I saw it advertised a while back, but changed my mind once I realized that there were two previous books in this series. Well written and with an art-mystery to be solved, His Wicked Reputation was a fast-paced and satisfying read full of entertaining dialogue and a couple of unexpected twists and turns.
Gareth Fitzallen is the bastard son of a duke. But in spite his illegitimacy, he enjoys a good relationship with his surviving half-brothers. Doors to ballrooms are open to him, and the women can't seem to get enough! But when he inherits a run-down property and becomes involved in the search for a missing art collection, it's not a wealthy society lady who draws his attention, but a spinster struggling to ensure her sister's future.
Eva Russell's life has been a struggle since her brother's death. Especially since she's determined to keep her property and get her younger sister suitably settled. A passionate artist, she scrapes her income together by copying famous paintings with no expectation of ever doing anything more. But then Gareth arrives in town and her world turns upside down, not only because of her undeniable attraction to him, but because the paintings she's be copying are his - borrowed from the attic of the house he's just inherited.
I found this to be a delightful read. Gareth and Eva were wonderful characters, and I especially liked them at the end when they owned their mistakes and trusted each other instead of getting angry and throwing accusations around, because it could easily have gone that way too. Instead, I found the resolution to be perfect and Madeline Hunter's writing style and plot extremely enjoyable. I will definitely be grabbing the following books in this series!