Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

December 8, 2016
Just three more to go.

Yes, my little Petunias, according to Ms. Hoyt's website 2017 will see the end of the Maiden Lane series. According to her there will be two novellas and a full-length novel. Then I shall be in tears, because I love Maiden Lane - not necessarily the Ghost of St Giles - but the lane itself was such an fascinating place. Anyway, it's not over yet so I will save my whining for later.

In the Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt we have as our hero Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle and our heroine Alf. If you remember Alf correctly you will remember she is a woman masquerading as a boy and she been jumping from building to building in a number of books. I haven't been all that interested in her, because the woman aka boy disguise isn't one of my favorite story lines. In the Duke of Pleasures, that story line isn't as irritating because of the way the author has written it.

You see, Alf has been walking around as a boy almost her entire life. One of the problems she has is imagining herself as a woman. I found this to be an interesting way of looking at a standard Romanceland cliché. It could have been intriguing and that, my dears, is my top complaint about this book. It was a "could have been" book. Much to my disappointment this was not one of my favorite books by Ms. Hoyt. For me this book lacked a "completeness." Alf and Hugh were ok, but their characters were not as developed as other Hoyt characters. This book was 261 pages, but the actual story ended on page 234 - the rest was just previews/upcoming/miscellaneous. Even though this book was 234 pages long, for me it had the feel of a short story. It just seemed to me to be a "tired" book.

Then there were the reappearance of the Ghost of St Giles and the return of the Lord of Chaos. I thought maybe we'd seen the last of the Ghost a few books ago, because really it was time for that guy to retire. But guess what - spoiler ahead - not only is Alf a disguised boy during the day, at night she is roof-hopping as the Ghost. We also have (once again) a hero who is the smartest spy in the world but cannot see a woman dressed as a boy when she's standing right in front of him.

Maybe there was just too much going on in this book for the characters or story line to be fully developed. Alf is trying to be a spy and save orphans; in fact there are two orphans she visits. She works for the oblivious Hugh, who has two sons. One of these sons hates his father and the other one has screaming nightmares (never really explained). Hugh is trying to find the Lords of Chaos and at the same time thinking about marrying the friendly widow Lady Jordan, who steals the diary of Hugh's wife and can cypher code. She gives the diary back after she has removed some pages because the boys are just tooooo young to understand, but when they get older and ask, then she will let them see what a whore their mother was - sounds like a sound plan to me. Then there is Raphael de Chartres, who has a scarred face and has been keeping his eye on Alf, but he's really interested in Lady Jordan. The last time we saw him he disappeared into the dark woods. Oh yeah, then there are the Lords of Chaos - a filler if ever there was one.

I think this was my most disappointing Elizabeth Hoyt read. There was just nothing which drew me in. There wasn't any trademark Hoyt vividness. I did not become enthralled, entranced, or fascinated with the main characters. The characters were just ok and not what I have come to expect of Ms. Hoyt. As I said before, this book has a tired feeling. Bummer.

Time/Place: 1700s Maiden Lane
Sensuality: Don't remember, think it was hot.

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