Thursday, November 17, 2011

REVIEW: "Scandalous Desires" by Elizabeth Hoyt

TITLE: Scandalous Desires
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Hoyt
SERIES: Maiden Lane #3
GENRE: Adult-Historical Romance-Georgian
PUBLISHER: Piatkus Books
READ DATE: November 2011
SOURCE: Book Depository
SUMMARY: Can a pirate learn that the only true treasure lies within a woman’s heart? “Charming” Mickey O’Connor is the most ruthless river pirate in London. Devastatingly handsome and fearsomely intelligent, he clawed his way up through London’s criminal underworld. Mickey has no use for tender emotions like compassion and love, and he sees people as pawns to be manipulated. Yet he’s never been able to forget the naive captain’s wife who came to him a year ago for help—and spent one memorable night in his bed...talking.
Widowed Silence Hollingbrook is impoverished, lovely, and kind--and a year ago she made a horrible mistake. She went to a river pirate for help in saving her husband and in the process made a bargain that cost her her marriage. That night wounded her so terribly that she hides in the foundling home she helps run with her brother. Except now that same river pirate is back...and he’s asking for her help.


Let me begin by saying that I am a huge Elizabeth Hoyt fangirl!  I read her debut, The Raven Prince, a couple days after it came out and have savored every single book since then.  What I enjoy most about her writing is the unique characters and settings.  She takes normal romance novel cliches and gives them a complete makeover.  Due to my love of Ms. Hoyt, it is no wonder that I could not wait to read the third book in her fascinating Maiden Lane series and I was not disappointed.

This book is why I love historical romance.  There are well-drawn characters, lush settings, vivid historical details, and of course plenty of sexy goodness that Ms. Hoyt specializes in.  To give a quick recap, the Maiden Lane series focuses on a children's home in St. Giles during the Georgian era in England.  This home is run by the Makepeace family who have such lovely English names as Temperance, Silence, and Winter.  Much of the series deals with the difficulties that residents of St. Giles face on a daily basis during this time period.

The heroine of Scandalous Desires is Silence Hollingbrook who is instrumental in keeping the children's home run along with her brother Winter.  Silence is an impoverished widow whose husband recently perished while at sea.  The hero is Mickey O'Connor, a wealthy pirate who has control over almost all the sea traffic in London. 

These two people seemed to be living very different lives until they collided in the previous books of the series.  In an effort to save her husband's life and position, Silence made a deal with Mickey that ultimately ruined her reputation and her marriage and now looks upon Mickey as the very devil.  But, when one of Silence's wards, Mary Darling, at the home is discovered to be the daughter of Mickey and is simultaneously taken to reside in his house to hide her from his enemies, Silence chooses to go with the baby and must interact with the pirate on a daily basis.

I really liked both of these characters.  Silence had seemed like a wimp earlier in the series, but she definitely grew a spine through all her hardships.  She has a strong will and is determined to do whatever she needs to in order to protect Mary Darling.  But, Silence has a soft side that figures out the inner workings of Mickey's personality and strives to understand them.  On the other hand, Mickey is a product of St. Giles who has always relied on himself in order to survive and never gotten the love he deserves.  I found him to be fairly reminiscient of Lisa Kleypas's famous hero Derek Craven from Dreaming of You

Together Silence and Mickey had a lot of sexual tension in everything from their dialogue to their physical interactions.  As a reader, it just oozed off the page.  The sex scenes were pretty hot and coincided with the tension nicely.  Both of the characters had to learn to trust and rely on the other person so there was a realistic buildup to the confession scenes.  By the end, I could see how they would last in the long term which is hard to do in romance novels.

Another part of SD that I loved was seeing the introduction of Winter's future heroine and the buildup of their relationship.  Isabel is a donor for the children's home and she clashes with Winter from the very beginning.  Winter is a unique character that seems to have many layers to his personality which, I believe, we have only just begun to see.  I love opposites attract stories so I can't wait for more about Winter and Isabel in next year's Thief of Shadows.

A few other key points about this book and why I enjoyed it so much.  We did get to see the previous books' couples appear in realistic situations beyond the token "look how happy we are" moments that can happen in series reunions.  The mysterious Ghost of St. Giles, who had been reeking havoc throughout the earlier books, was finally revealed so it will be fun to see what happens with that plotline next.  And finally, the historical setting is full of rich details and obviously well-researched without becoming a textbook full of needless descriptions.  This book had everything I love about historical romance so I recommend it to anyone looking for a good story with realistic characters and steamy romance. 



“He treasured her, treasured her tears, treasured her love for others. Her heart might even be big enough to fill that empty space in his own chest. Perhaps she could be his heart as well.”

“He watched her retreat, his eyes lazy, and his body unmoving. A trickle of blood seeped slowly from the corner of his mouth. He let her get nearly out of the room before he spoke, “I may not have the right, Silence, me love,” he drawled so soft she nearly didn’t catch the words. “But I would’ve listened to ye. I would’ve believed ye.”


*Wicked Intentions (Lazarus and Temperance)
*Notorious Pleasures (Griffin and Hero)
*Scandalous Desires (Mickey and Silence)
*Thief of Shadows (Winter and Isabel) [To Be Released 2012]
*Lord of Darkness (Godric) [To Be Released 2013]
*Duke of Midnight (Maximus) [To Be Released 2013]



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