October 28, 2013
Return to Maiden Lane!!! What a place!
Elizabeth Hoyt has given us the sixth book in a wonderful series. Actually, Maiden Lane is one of my favorite series; I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she's able to keep the momentum
This review comes with a warning...there be some gushing ahead! From the superb writing to the wonderful characters, I loved this book. Oh sure, there were some minor hiccups, but g-o-l-l-y this was a most satisfying read. And, repeat after me...We want Apollo! We want Apollo! We want Apollo! What a great secondary character just screaming for his own book. Also waiting in the wings is another wonderful character, Phoebe. Her character doesn't scream for her own book, just gently whispers.
Let's take a look at the main characters in this one: our heroine, Artemis, and our hero, Maximus. Love those names! Both of these characters are strong, as a couple and as individuals. Maximus Batten, the Duke of Wakefield, is one of those proper, cold aristocrats. He's on the lookout for the perfect woman to marry. He doesn't necessarily have to be fond of her, but she has to be perfect and not make any demands on him. And, it is with that choice that I had a bit of a problem. He has his eyes on Lady Penelope Chadwicke - a flippertigibbet if ever there was one, so, she's not perfect. But, anyway, she's the one he is watching. However, in the background catching his eye is Artemis, her companion.
For those of you not following this story, a common thread throughout is the Ghost of St. Giles - a Robin Hood of sorts. Spoilers ahead. Well, it just so happens that the Ghost is more than one man and in this book it is Maximus. And one night while goofy Penelope and I-tried-to-talk-her-out-of-the-bet Artemis are wandering through the back streets of St. Giles they are set upon by some hooligans. The Ghost to the rescue. Of course, as happens in romance books, his signet rings falls off his finger and into Artemis' hand. Funny how rings and things fall off after staying in place for years and years. Anyway, it doesn't take Artemis long to put together that the "big" Ghost and the "big" Duke are one and the same person. So, she decides to blackmail him into helping her rescue her brother, Apollo, from Bedlam. And then the race is on to the HEA.
Watching Maximus and Artemis circle each other was absolutely fascinating. He was so sure of what he wanted and even when he realizes he's falling in love with Artemis he still plans to marry Penelope. His plan is to take Artemis as his mistress. The scene where she agrees to his plan is one dynamic scene. He knows that he will lose her even though she has given him what he wants. He becomes more and more desperate, makes outrageous promises - one house, two houses, anything.
The Duke of Midnight is one of the strongest in Ms. Hoyt's series. I loved almost everything about it. If I had any quibbles, it would be with Penelope being viewed as a perfect mate for Maximus, and then the out-of-character explosive hissy fit at the theater didn't quite ring true for Penelope. Oh sure, she was a self-centered creature, but I never had the opinion she was mean-spirited, just oblivious to the way she treated people. However, the theater scene where she screams at Artemis raised Penelope from heedless goofball to vicious viper.
I do highly recommend The Duke of Midnight. This story is one dark, dangerous adventure with two fully-developed mature characters. This is a solid read! We want Apollo! We Want Apollo!
Time/Place: Georgian England