October 28, 2014
Never work with children or animals.
There is a reason for that old show business adage. The reason actors don't like working with
children or animals is that they steal scenes. The audience is interested in what that child or animal will be doing next and doesn't care what's going on around them. I believe the same can be said about adding children and animals to books. An author needs to tread very carefully when adding these scene-stealers. Well, in Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt there are two scene thieves: an adorable child and an equally adorable dog. I was especially fond of the dog because at one time I was the proud (or embarrassed) owner of an Italian Greyhound. The dog in this story, Daffodil, is an Italian Greyhound and if there is a more goofy, loveable, fun breed of dogs I wouldn't know where to find one. Nothing says sillier than having to carry a dog because they are afraid of falling leaves. Anyway, I thought the boy, Indio, was adorable and actually quite enjoyable and he was needed in this story for the plot to work. If he had been the only distraction to the story it would have worked a lot better, but Ms. Hoyt added the dog and as much as I love Greyhounds, Daffodil was just a little too much.
Now, to our hero and heroine, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Killbourne; and Lily Stump. If you are following Ms. Hoyt's Maiden Lane series, you will know Apollo from previous books. He has just recently escaped from Bedlam. Not only does he have the dark experience of Bedlam hanging over his head, he's also been accused of being a murderer and on top of that he's mute. Needless to say, Apollo's a bit of an angsty guy. I was actually a little surprised that with all of the doom and gloom surrounding him, he had quite a sense of humor. I especially enjoyed his encounters with his male acquaintances/friend. Speaking of which, on top of the scene-stealing dog and child, one of the secondary characters just jumps off the pages - the Duke of Montgomery. I am really excited about his story and I wish it were next.
There is an almost immediate attraction between Apollo and Lily. Who can blame Lily. After all, she is presented with one of those wet, shirtless, hero-in-water scenes, so it's hard for her to think straight. For a short time, she thinks he is mentally deficit, which leads to some funny scenes, and it isn't long before she figures out the only thing wrong with him is an inability to talk.
Over a period of time they become friends, then lovers. I loved Lily and Apollo as a couple. They both have issues and secrets, but they trust each other enough to talk about those issues. By the way, the sensuality in the book is very hot!
I was also pleased that even though there was a separation in class between Apollo and Lily, and even though Lily had some qualms about being accepted into Apollo's world, that issue wasn't made into a BIG I'm-not-good-enough quandary. And while I liked this story very much, I have noticed in the few last couple or so romances that I've read in order for our couple to have HEA they have to do some mighty big lying to do so. In fact I'd say that a few of our recent HEA couples are reduced to what might be considered unethical behavior if not down-right illegal activities. I believe in all the cases they have involved hiding the identity of the adorable child.
Even with a tad bit shady HEA, I thought this was a wonderful book and I really recommend it. I've loved all of the Maiden Lane series and this one is a great addition to this wonderful series. Next up is Captain James Trevillion and blind Phoebe.
Time/Place: Regency England