"Wicked Angel" is an unusually original romance set against the backdrop of the War of 1812. Miss Jocelyn Angelica Woodbridge, (Joss), is the plain, ungainly daughter of a Methodist preacher. She is known as "Holy Hannah" by the ton, as she would much rather work nursing London's destitute and reforming her fallen sisters than taking her place in society. Her father is the 2nd son of an earl who was disowned by his family when he left the Church of England and married a governess.
During a brawl on the London docks, started by one of Rev. Woodbridge's sermons, Joss is saved from being trampled by Alexander Blackthorne, a newcomer to England. Alex, the American son of an English noblewoman and her Muskogee Indian husband, has been sent to live with his mother's people to reform his rowdy ways and become a gentleman. Alex is immediately drawn to Joss' intelligence, wit and unconventionality. She is smitten at first glance by his tall good looks and kindness. A fast friendship forms between the two. However, Joss accepts her plain, gawky appearance and understands that Alex can never love her as a woman - especially as he has most of London's females, society ladies and Cyprians, at his feet. The two seem to continuously get into humorous and dangerous scrapes from which they rescue each other, until Joss finds herself in a terrible predicament that may be impossible to escape. True to form, Alex comes to the rescue with a most unusual proposal. And the excitement, steamy and otherwise, really begins.
Shirl Henke has written a delightful romance, one of her best. The novel clips along at a nice pace. Her characters, from the hero and heroine to their friends, family and enemies, are wonderful and very original. The subplot, the War of 1812 and the British plans to woo the American Creek and Seminole Indians to their side is fascinating. Ms. Henke's research is impeccable. "Wicked Angel" is light entertainment at its best.