Title: Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10)
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Expected Publishing Date: May 31, 2016
Genre: Historical, Romance
Format: eBook, Mass Market Paperback
Page Count: 368
Rating: 3 Stars
“I am vengeance. I am hate. I am sin personified. Never mistake me for the hero of this tale, for I am not and shall never be. I am the villain.”
My first ever Elizabeth Hoyt‘s book and I’d have to pick one from the midst of ongoing series, with such complex grey character.
In fact, his grey shade was such a dark one it’s skirting on the edge of total black, really; capable of all kind of atrocity and debauchery, yet benevolent and honest in his own weird way.
Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, was an antihero of this tale. Raised in madness, mayhem, murder, misery of a pair of parents who had loathed each other, it made him always hunger for power from others, so nobody could hurt him anymore.
He treated blackmail as a hobby. And kidnapped people to orchestrate his wanted result. I found myself amused, despised, and pitied Val all at the same time.
The heroine was one no-nonsense Bridget Crumb, a bastard born daughter of an aristocrat. Her loyalty to her mother was admiring, considering. Her sensible and take-charge tendencies often caused constant butting-heads with Val, which inevitably build-up to attractions between them.
With quite a few names thrown in the scenes, aristocrats and plebeians alike, the MC still appeared as an island sort of individuals. Which was sad. On Val’s part, it was self-inflected as defense mechanism, which – considering his background – pretty understandable. It’s no less painful on Bridget’s side who was cheated out of better upbringing. It made for rather gloom atmosphere throughout the chapters.
While I was prepared to read story with redeemed blackguard as characters, that he could do so with no apparent consequences was bugging me. I’m sure even in old England days, murder still left traces – be it a lowly life or high-born. But here, it seems all one had to do was flip the page and the body(ies) disappeared without a trace.
And let’s not forget the latest victim of Val’s kidnapping. This portion of the story seemed only to provide better reason for Val to make a move on Bridget – like, she’d be cold and wet to the bones so he could peel off her clothes, and so on and so forth then BAM! the consummation of their desire could start.
As to familial connections on both MC’s sides, aside from talking of the past I though there was not enough engagement on more promising notes.
After the patricide and (in my mind) unconditional love Val had done to his sister, I expect more of sibling’s heart to heart than shown here. Yes, it would likely make the book longer, but I thought said scenes would have brought forward the pair’s strong bound and feeling. This, I felt lack in this book.
The same could be said for Bridget with her sudden familial acceptance. It would be nice to see more of her embracing them (and vice versa) after such benevolent exchanges of past. After all, the reunion also triggered chains of events that moved their relationship to a new path. Although I wish it wouldn’t go so predictable and rushy as this.
If only and I wish aside, I’d consider this a successful initiation to Elizabeth Hoyt’s universe. In fact, I am so looking forward to the next book which will feature (one of) Val’s old enemy, the Duke of Kyle, and the mysterious Alf. While waiting for said book release, I have nine other Maiden Lane books to catch up on.
ARC is kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the exchange of a fair and honest review.
A MAN OF SIN
Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.
A WOMAN OF HONOR
Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery’s household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.
A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY THEM BOTH
Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can’t resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .