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Thursday, October 31, 2013

REVIEW: "Duke of Midnight' by Elizabeth Hoyt

Duke of Midnight (Maiden Lane, #6)
Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt
For Ages 18+
Historical Romance -- Georgian England
Grand Central Publishing -- October 15, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 360 pages
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Alpha Heroes, Across the Tracks, Tearjerker, Fairy Tales

SUMMARY
WHEN A MASKED MAN . . .

Twenty years ago Maximus Batten witnessed the brutal murders of his parents. Now the autocratic Duke of Wakefield, he spends his days ruling Parliament. But by night, disguised as the Ghost of St. Giles, he prowls the grim alleys of St. Giles, ever on the hunt for the murderer. One night he finds a fiery woman who meets him toe-to-toe—and won't back down . . .

MEETS HIS MATCH . . .

Artemis Greaves toils as a lady's companion, but hiding beneath the plain brown serge of her dress is the heart of a huntress. When the Ghost of St. Giles rescues her from footpads, she recognizes a kindred spirit-and is intrigued. She's even more intrigued when she realizes who exactly the notorious Ghost is by day . . .

DESIRE IGNITES A DANGEROUS PASSION

Artemis makes a bold move: she demands that Maximus use his influence to free her imprisoned brother-or she will expose him as the Ghost. But blackmailing a powerful duke isn't without risks. Now that she has the tiger by the tail, can she withstand his ire-or the temptation of his embrace?

FIRST LINE
"Artemis Greaves did not like to think of herself as a cynical person, but when the masked figure dropped into the moonlit alley to confront the three toughs already menacing her and her cousin, the hand on the knife in her boot tightened."

MY THOUGHTS
And she has done it again!  There is just something about Elizabeth Hoyt's stories that makes me connect with her characters and really care about what happens to them.  I first discovered her with her debut novel, The Raven Prince, and have collected all her books since then.  The Maiden Lane series has been particularly intriguing with its Georgian setting, superhero overlay, and intriguing social commentary.

Despite my love of her work, I was a bit worried that Elizabeth Hoyt wouldn't be able to change my initial impression of Maximus, Duke of Wakefield.  He was not the most endearing character before, though he was interesting, but I wasn't sure if he would ever be hero material.  Well, I was proven wrong and I adored Duke of Midnight.

Maximus definitely reminded me of Bruce Wayne of Batman fame which I know was an inspiration for the author.  He was wealthy and powerful, but had some dark secrets which shaped his personality as much as anything else.  I loved how this book showed why he acted the way that he did in earlier books though he did still have a few jerk moments.  I just loved the depth of his character and how he slowly revealed his true nature to the audience and his heroine.

And then there's Artemis Greaves, poor relation and companion to her spoiled cousin, who is easily in the lead for my favorite heroine of 2013.  I read a lot of historical romances and am pretty picky when it comes to be heroines, but she had everything that I look for from her intelligence to her genuine nature to her ambition that never ventured into recklessness.  She has had a difficult time with her brother being considered mad and dealing the fallout from that scandal.  But, she never rested on her laurels and continued doing everything she could to help her brother.

Artemis and Maximus were an electric couple from the moment they met.  I loved how they both immediately felt the connection and spent quite a bit of time trying to ignore it.  Their backgrounds may be different, but they obviously understood one another and were as good together as they were apart.  Plus it was fun to see a story where the hero and heroine saved each other by the end.  Their love scenes were wonderfully spicy (like Ms. Hoyt's always are) and did a great job of developing their relationship beyond the physical.

I loved most of the side characters as well.  Elizabeth Hoyt excels at balancing a large cast of characters which she shows in this book.  My personal favorites were Maximus's sister, Phoebe, who suffers from vision issues, Craven, the manservant who was a great "Alfred" for Maximus's "Bruce Wayne", and Artemis's twin brother, Apollo.  I was not the biggest fan of Artemis's cousin, Penelope, but I understood her role in the book and thought the development of her character has been interesting over the past few books.

Besides the romance, Duke of Midnight focused on Maximus's life as the Ghost of St. Giles and his lengthy pursuit of his parents' murderer.  There is finally a resolution to this great mystery and I was surprised by the twists that occurred.  Overall I have liked the Ghost of St. Giles subplot, but I am pretty happy that it appears to be coming to an end.  The ending has really set things up for the next level of the series and I can't wait to see where Elizabeth Hoyt goes next.

While I do believe this book can be read as a stand-alone, I think it works best as part of the series.  There is a large cast and quite a bit of overlapping subplots that are much more interesting if read in order.  Plus it is fun to see the evolution of Maximus's character from overbearing jerk to leading man.  I highly recommend the Maiden Lane series (and the rest of Hoyt's books) for fans of spicy, thought-provoking historical romance!

4.5 STARS


FAVORITE QUOTE
"I’ll never tire of you," he said, knowing with every thread of his soul that he spoke the absolute truth.
"Then prove it."
He knew what she asked with such an open and vulnerable face. Something within him shriveled and died... he’d been on the rack too long for a penance he wasn’t sure he could ever entirely pay, "You know..."  His voice was hoarse, the croaking of a dying man. He licked his lips. "You know why I cannot."


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Wicked Intentions
2. Notorious Pleasures
3. Scandalous Desires
4. Thief of Shadows
5. Lord of Darkness
6. Duke of Midnight 

4 comments:

  1. awesome review!! I also have enjoyed this author quite a bit. I haven't read this one yet, just waiting for it to become available at my library. So crossing my fingers that it will be soon. Great quote by the way! Thanks for sharing it.

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  2. I've been eying this series for a while -- I think I'll pick up the first one and go from there! I love the quote; I'm dying to know why he can't prove it...

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  3. I love this series! (I'm still waiting for my paperback copy to arrive. >_<)

    When they introduced Maximus in Hero's story, I was definitely curious about him. ^_^

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  4. I love this series and Duke of Midnight proved not to be a disappointment! I had been waiting with baited breath for my copy to arrive. The mail man dropped it off about 4 in the afternoon yesterday. Last night at 9 I started readin it. I' m sorry I finished it and now have to wait for the next book in the Madien Lane Series!

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