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Search tags: Maiden-Lane
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review 2017-11-18 22:31
Once Upon a Maiden Lane Mini Review
Once Upon a Maiden Lane - Elizabeth Hoyt

Perfect novella at the perfect time. I adore this series and when I saw that this novella came out, I snatched it up. Sweet, romantic, sexy, and a few twists thrown in. Loved Mary and Henry as a couple. Bonus for small glimpses of other Maiden Lane characters from the series. 

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review 2017-11-08 13:32
Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt
Once Upon a Maiden Lane - Elizabeth Hoyt

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

"I want to learn all of you. I want you to know me in return. When I next kiss you, I want you to welcome my lips like a lover instead of a stranger." 
 
A novella listed as #12.5 in the Maiden Lane series, you could still read this as a standalone. Mary grew up in the orphanage featured in the series and we've seen glimpses of her and a couple other characters before but the hero and their romance is a new introduction.
 
With some Cinderella inspiration, nursemaid Mary is identified in a bookstore by our hero Lord Henry Blackwell to be the missing Albright twin. Twin babies stolen by their nursemaid, while Johanna was recovered Cecilia was never found. Henry is taken aback by how much Mary looks like Johanna and immediately claims she is Cecilia. Now, this is a novella, so the tempo gets pushed up. Henry's immediate claim Mary is Cecilia and the family accepting it is a bit side-eyeing but the relationship Henry and Mary have, made up for it for me.
 
He looked at her, at her straight black brows and the big brown eyes regarding him so seriously, and yet with a spark of humor, and it was as if something turned over in his chest. She was playing with him, this woman. 
 
I instantly felt a spark between the two, Hoyt's skill with sexual tension was evident but the friendship and sheer compatibility between the two won the show for me. Mary's guardedness but also strength paired with Henry's charm provided a delightful give and take between them. 
 
"And you? Did you have a pet as a child?"
"Yes, several," he replied. "Dogs and cats. Now I've got two hounds---Mole and Timberline."
"Mole?"
"His ears are very soft," he said a tad defensively.
 

 
I also thought this story was laced with skillful writing moments that a top author like Hoyt can provide; showing, instead of being told, little nuances of a character make the reading so much richer. You'll also get a pretty good feel for the times (1700s) as Hoyt focuses on the clothing through Mary being dressed as a lady for the first time.
 
As I mentioned, the Cinderella story, and all it’s in and outs, has some forced and awkward moments and the ending was a tad rushed but there is an epilogue that works to soothe that (you'll see a lot of past characters show up here). This is a novella and if you're looking for a quick hit of romance warmth, Once Upon a Maiden Lane would provide that and a friendly return to the Maiden Lane world. 
 
It was like a fairy tale come true. 

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review 2017-11-08 05:30
Review: Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt
Once Upon a Maiden Lane - Elizabeth Hoyt

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin

 

Once Upon a Maiden Lane is an utterly charming read! Mary Whitsun was introduced to readers in the first Maiden Lane book, Wicked Intentions, so I was delighted that – as the series comes to a close – the now-adult Mary gets a story of her own. Mary is witty, kind, and an overall endearing heroine. Even though she has grown up under the loving care of Temperance, now Lady Caire, Mary has never had a life all her own and there’s something a bit lonely about her at the beginning of the story. That’s why she’s wary, yet hopeful, when she learns that she might have a family that has been looking for her all her life.

Mary simply shines in this story and comes into her own, though not just because of her change in status. She’s a lovely woman and I wanted her to have the fairytale life and love she so deserves. What happens I will not spoil, but since this is a romance it’s safe to say that a happily ever after is guaranteed. I absolutely adored Mary and Henry’s love story. Henry may be an aristocrat, but he’s no snob. He’s a kind, loving man with charm and good looks to spare. He and Mary had instant chemistry and I cannot count the number of times they made me smile. The two of them fit like lock and key; they have friendship, passion, shared interests, and they just simply work as a couple. As this is a novella, the timeline of the romance is a bit swift, but I didn’t mind being swept away because I was so entranced by Elizabeth Hoyt’s writing.

Once Upon a Maiden Lane can be read as a standalone and is sure to delight anyone who likes a good fairytale-like historical romance. That being said, part of what made this story so satisfying to me was getting to see or hear mention of some of my favorite Maiden Lane heroes and heroines. Temperance, for example, plays a significant supporting role and warms my heart, and of course it takes no time at all for the irreverent Duke of Montgomery to steal the page. I cannot adequately express how much I enjoyed Once Upon a Maiden Lane. It’s a heartwarming story I know I will be reading again and again and again.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/11/review-once-upon-maiden-lane-by.html
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-01-30 09:30
Duke of Pleasure
Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane) - Elizabeth Hoyt

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts...

So happy to say that I’ve been following the long running, much loved Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt almost since the beginning! I discovered Ms. Hoyt’s books back in 2011 and haven’t looked back ever since. And we’ve certainly come a long way with this one! Duke of Pleasure is the 11th installment and I have to say it was, uhh, not what I was hoping for. Actually not sure what I was looking for since Alf, the h of this story, was not a character I thought would have a book of her own, let alone a full-length one. I mean she’s ‘Alf’, the little urchin who masqueraded as a beggar boy to live in the dark and filthy St. Giles where she grew up. No one knew who she was, or even, that she was a girl. She had no family to speak of. Had no life beyond St. Giles... she didn’t even have a full name FGS! I totally thought that Hippolyta Royle, the richest heiress of England, was going to have a full-length novel; instead she got a novella. :/

Anyway, now that that’s outta my chest.......... Personally, this is probably the only long-running series of which I’ve been a part of almost since the beginning, so I’m a little overwhelmed here. I don’t think a recap of all the other 10 installments is possible so I’d ask that you start from the beginning, Wicked Intentions. Besides, if you haven’t read the series from the beginning, you really shouldn’t be reading this review. The installments connect each-other with ongoing events, or characters, or an event that was hinted at on one installment and you will find it taking shape in another. So yes, true to Ms. Hoyt’s style, it’s a very interconnected series and you may find information confusing at times.

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review 2017-01-12 05:25
Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt
Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane) - Elizabeth Hoyt

I read this for the Virgin square (heroine is one) for Romance bingo.

3.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hugh is the bastard son of the King but with the given title of Duke of Kyle, he finds himself existing in two worlds. Tasked with bringing down a secret society called The Lords of Chaos, he finds he'll need some help from an unexpected source.
Alf was born and bred in St. Giles and has masked her true identity as a woman since she was five years old. However, clashing with Hugh has brought desires and thoughts she never knew she could have.
To bring down The Lords of Chaos, Hugh and Alf are going to have to work together and become who they were meant to be all along.

Never let them see you cry, he'd said. Never show them your weakness.

If you've been a frequent Maiden Lane series reader, you'll remember Alf. We've had fleeting glimpses of her and how she has navigated and survived St. Giles. It's hard for me to get excited about the woman dressed as a man trope because of its past frequency but Alf's reasons weren't frivolous, done for comic relief, or scandal. Dressing as a boy was survival for Alf and Hoyt did a great job showing how this seemingly innocuous action emotionally shaped Alf; how it affected her thought processes and how it psychologically wore on her.

I've said it before but I miss how long romance books used to be and I think this particular story would have benefited greatly from a longer page count. The first 40% or so gave us a wonderful building up of Hugh and Alf; we got to know them separately. I cared about these characters and my anticipation for them to come together was only heightened because I had the solid foundation for how right their relationship was going to be. I miss this gradual weaving that seems to be left behind for instant lust and gratification.

Even though I was anxious to see them together, I was a little disappointed when it did happen. Not because I didn't feel they belonged together but because Hugh's love felt a bit instant. He doesn't know Alf is a woman until around the 40% mark and while he knew the Ghost of St. Giles was a woman and felt drawn to her, he didn't know it was Alf. I think he had 3 or 4 encounters with the Ghost, they are sexually attracted to one another but their conversations aren't lengthy or anything. It felt, to me, like a quick loving without knowing because Alf was basically unknown to him.

He admired her even as he feared for her.

I liked the bonus of Alf being the Ghost of St. Giles, even if I felt she didn't get to shine in the role as much as others. I would have liked to have seen more scenes with her and St. Godric. Hugh's support and belief in Alf as a competent being was one of his sexiest attributes and how it was obvious that he completely accepted Alf for who she was. Their star gazing scene was my favorite and I thought beautifully showcased the author's talent for creating two characters that felt so right for one another; even if I felt it was a bit rushed.

I like the villainous Lords of Chaos' storyline but they were somewhat regulated to naked men in animal masks here and I wanted a little more of their workings or stratagems. I hope there's more to their plot than occasional nighttime naked gatherings to unsuccessfully rape women. Don't misunderstand, I'm very glad they're unsuccessful, but there were rumblings about how they infect all of society, even the government; I'd like a new devious plot.

The ending felt a bit awkward to me with a misunderstanding you could see a mile away and a resolution that came super quick. The lack of building conversations between our leads before the love made it feel instant. I want to clarify though, that I felt this couple belonged together, I just wanted more scenes to prove and deepen what I was feeling.

I'll definitely be reading the next in the series because I liked Iris, the heroine of the next, right off the bat and am intrigued by the dark and scarred hero. Hoyt's talent in creating a world and characters can't be denied but I hope she's given more pages to really let them breathe and take off.

 

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