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Friday, November 7, 2014

REVIEW: "Darling Beast" by Elizabeth Hoyt

Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, #7)
Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt
For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Georgian England

Grand Central Publishing -- Published in October 2014
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Read in October 2014
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Tortured Hero, Across the Track Romance

SUMMARY
A MAN CONDEMNED . . .
Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown's soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he's quickly driven to distraction . . .

A DESPERATE WOMAN . . .
London's premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she's forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren't the only inhabitants—a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there's more to this man than meets the eye.

OUT OF ASH, DESIRE FLARES
Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he's forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.



FIRST LINE
"As the mother of a seven year old boy, Lily Stump was used to odd topics of conversation."

MY THOUGHTS
Fans of Hoyt's Maiden Lane series will remember their first meeting with Apollo Greaves, the lord who is residing in Bedlam after being accused of murder.  He finally escapes thanks to the help of his sister, Artemis, and her soon-to-be husband, the Duke of Wakefield in Duke of Midnight.  Book seven in the Maiden Lane series, Darling Beast, tells the story of Apollo's attempt to clear his name and avoid being captured by soldiers once again.  Things get even more complicated when he comes across Lily Stump, an out of work actress, and sparks fly.

I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Hoyt and her ability to make any type of character a romantic hero or heroine.  Apollo is described as huge and comely while also being unable to speak due to an almost deadly beating in Bedlam.  Despite this, he quickly becomes a very swoon-worthy hero with his determination to clear his name, his genuine fondness for Lily and her son, and his dry sense of humor.

For her part, I found Lily to be a very admirable heroine.  Her acting career changed forever when the pleasure garden burned and now she barely squeaks out a living through her play writing while the garden is rebuilt.  But, she never mopes around about her situation.  She just keeps working and providing for her son and nursemaid.  I also respected her for her ingenuity when it comes to certain plot points later in the book.

The romance of Apollo and Lily was a wonderful combination of sweet and sexy.  Hoyt is known for her steamy love scenes and tantalizing chemistry which she shows off here.  But, these two also have much more going for them than just lust.  They spend time together at the pleasure garden while Apollo is working and start a friendship before jumping into bed.  I especially enjoyed the way they laughed together.

In terms of side characters, I was pretty happy with them as well.  Lily's son, Indio, was sweet and smart without moving into cliche.  Maude, his nursemaid, wasn't extremely developed, but I liked her from the beginning.  It was also nice to see more of Lady Phoebe Batten and her bodyguard, Captain Trevillian, since they will be the focus of the next Maiden Lane book.  And I am crossing my fingers that we don't have to wait too long to get the Duke of Montgomery's story.  He stole every scene he was in and I have to know what is really going on in that diabolical head right now!

While I loved the characters and the romance, I had a bit of trouble with the pacing of the plot especially towards the end.  My favorite parts were when Lily and Apollo were getting to know each other and hung out together in the garden.  For me, things got a little boring in the latter third of the book.  I appreciated that Apollo had to figure out who the real murderer was, but I thought it was resolved too quickly.  The house party was fun and provided plenty of drama...it just felt off to me.

But, despite the pacing problem, I still really liked Darling Beast and continue to be a huge fan of Elizabeth Hoyt.  She just has such a different way of looking at historical romance that always has me coming back for more.  Now, I have to find a way to be patient about waiting for the release of Dearest Rogue (Phoebe and Trevillian's story) and hopefully Montgomery's book.


4 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Fever -- Definitely graphic, but still emotional descriptions. 

FAVORITE QUOTE
"Morning is the best time to discover the inhabitants of a house sneaking out of bedrooms not their own."  The duke gave him an entirely too-innocent look.
Apollo glared.  "I'll thank you not to spread my connection to her about."
"Why would I do that?" Montgomery looked honestly puzzled, "What good is knowledge if one shares it with everyone?"

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Wicked Intentions
2. Notorious Pleasures
2.5. Clever John
3. Scandalous Desires
4. Thief of Shadows
5. Lord of Darkness
6. Duke of Midnight
6.5. A Maiden Lane Christmas Special
7. Darling Beast
8. Dearest Rogue (Coming 2015)

OTHER REVIEWS
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (A-)
Smexybooks (B)
The Romance Dish (5 Stars)

6 comments:

  1. Lovely review, Jennifer! I haven't picked this one up yet but it's definitely on my reading list. :) I'm so glad to hear that Phoebe will be getting her own book! Yay! And also, I've been hearing a lot about this Duke of Montgomery! lol :) It seemed like he did make a very big impression to readers and fans of the series. :) Now I can't remember, but is he a new character or an old one we've already met previously in the other books in the series?

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    1. I think he first appeared in book 6 (Duke of Midnight). I didn't remember him much from that book, but he makes an impression here. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. This Maiden Lane series is intriguing. I've never read anything by Elizabeth Hoyt, but I've been curious about her for a long time. Although I love historical romance, I tends to be quite picky about what I actually really like.

    I'm glad you liked this, even though it had some slow parts.

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    1. Elizabeth Hoyt's style is very different than other historical romance authors. All her books take place in Georgian England and are very gritty and dark. What I love most is her ability to take the comeliest of characters and make them swoon-worthy by the end. Her debut, The Raven Prince, is one of my all-time favorites so I always recommend starting with that one. Thanks for visiting!

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  3. Oh I am so hoping for Montgomery's book too! I loved him. I didn't see any mention of a book yet for him when I checked over the next couple releasing but fingers crossed :D

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    1. Yeah...I know that Phoebe and Trevillion are next and I would guess Asa's story would be afterwards. We can all keep our fingers crossed about Montgomery!

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