Series: Maiden Lane #1
Published by Grand Central Publishing on August 1, 2010
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: Courtesy review copy
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A man controlled by his desires...
Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London's most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows St. Giles like the back of her hand— she's spent a lifetime caring for its inhabitants at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk.
A woman haunted by her past...
Caire makes a simple offer—in return for Temperance's help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to London's high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as cold calculation soon falls prey to a passion that neither can control—one that may well destroy them both.
A bargain neither could refuse.
I recently read the newest book in the Maiden Lane series, Duke of Sin. It was fantastic, intriguing and decadent. I was offered the chance to to read the first book in the series, so of course I said yes.
But I didn’t love this one. I’m definitely glad this wasn’t my first foray into Ms. Hoyt’s Maiden Lane; I might not have continued on. That being said, I did like the book, but it took me longer than I’d have liked to get to that point.
So many things were set up for future books, I wasn’t sure I liked that either. There was a whole lot packed into this book, and I feel it suffers from FBIS (First Book in Series Syndrome). What’s odd about that, is that you usually see that in Urban Fantasy and Paranormals due to all the world-building, not necessarily Historicals.
Once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. I warmed up to it close to around 35% in, and from that point on I didn’t want to put it down. Ms. Hoyt is a bit wordy, but her writing works. I also like how this isn’t a Regency. We’re looking at the 1730s, and it’s a fun change. The men are dressed decadently, in silks and wigs. The women are strong and know what they want. And it looks like politics will feature in this series as well.
Mrs. Dews runs a foundling home with one of her brothers. She’s called out in the middle of the night to save a newborn baby girl. As she’s out, her servant/companion says to hurry since both the Ghost of St. Giles and Lord Caire are out. The Ghost of St. Giles is maybe a murderer, maybe a Robin Hood type. No one knows, yet everyone knows of him. Lord Caire on the other hand is known to have odd…sexual proclivities as I believe it’s stated. Basically he likes to tie up and blindfold his woman. This isn’t done in a BDSM way, but in a way that he can’t bear to be touched. It pains him to even have his valet help him get ready in the mornings. I do wish that had been explained better, though.
So that night, Temperance sees Caire standing over a prone body, and assumes the worst. Her servant natters on about the Ghost of St. Giles, and all that does is scare her more. And of course, wouldn’t you know it, Caire notices Temperance. Boy does he notice her.
He breaks into her kitchen and asks for her help. He’s looking for a murderer and no one will talk to him. He thinks she can get the people of St. Giles to open up to him. Besides, he needs a guide to get around the area. She needs money for her orphanage and school, so she agrees. Very quickly she realizes that he isn’t the scoundrel he likes to pretend he is. And very quickly he realizes that he can’t do without her in his life.
These two begin the hunt for a murderer, but find love on the way. It’s a sexy book set in a sultry and sometimes scary world. As their relationship grows, I like how they are together, and I like how they act together. They each grow up a little bit, and sometimes character growth can make or break a book, you know? I especially like how Caire’s sensitivity to touch never quite goes away. She doesn’t “heal” him immediately. It’s something they work on, and it takes time. There’s a happy ending for the two of them, but so many side characters are brought in that the ending is obvious sequel bait.
I’ll definitely continue reading on, and I since I’ve seen how Ms. Hoyt’s writing has matured, but her voice has stayed the same, I think I’ll really like this series. Final verdict: Read this series. I know I will.
***Review copy courtesy of Grand Central Publishing