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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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text 2017-01-09 04:48
55%
Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane) - Elizabeth Hoyt

He leaned down, shoving his face into her, and growled, "You can because I need a woman, Alf. Not a boy, not a girl disguised as a boy. Not a vigilante Ghost. Not an urchin informant. A woman. You. I need you. Become the woman you already are, Alf. Do it for me."

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text 2017-01-08 00:54
Reading Update: Page 1
Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane) - Elizabeth Hoyt

It's -11 windchill outside. This is all we got.

  

 

    

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review 2016-11-29 04:53
Review: Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt
Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane) - Elizabeth Hoyt

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2016/11/review-duke-of-pleasure-by-elizabeth.html

 

Whenever I start an Elizabeth Hoyt book, I know I’m in for an addictive read with refreshingly original characters and Duke of Pleasure does not disappoint. Alf and Hugh’s story is exciting, sexy, and wonderfully unique.

Alf is one of Ms. Hoyt’s most unconventional heroines yet. Raised in the slums of St. Giles, she’s lived her entire life disguised as a boy, for both safety and survival. By day, she’s a teenage boy informant, one who has charmed me throughout a number of books over the course of the series. By night, Alf becomes the masked harlequin known as the Ghost of St. Giles, leaping over rooftops and protecting those in parts of London the law turns a blind eye to. It’s a precarious existence, and the necessity of constantly living in disguise is starting to wear on her. I loved Alf’s spirit, her exuberance when she’s high above the streets of London and her sauciness when she matches wits with Hugh. Her life has been a hard one and my heart broke for her when she allowed herself a few moments of vulnerability. Alf is an intriguing mix of cunning and kindness and one of my favorite things about this story is watching her take her chance at coming fully into her own.

No ordinary hero would be a match for Alf, which is why it’s a good thing Hugh is no ordinary duke. He’s the illegitimate son of the king and has spent a good number of years in service to the crown. His latest task – to take down the Lords of Chaos – nearly kills him and leaves his young sons orphaned when the Ghost of St. Giles swoops down to save him…before she kisses him. I loved that Hugh never looked down on Alf, that he treated her as an equal and appreciated her talents, even before he knew her full identity. It was a treat to watch Hugh come to know Alf as both the street urchin and the sensual masked hero. The dynamic between them in both instances is fantastic and their relationship evolved in a gracefully natural manner. Their love story is vibrant, sexy, and quite simply fun to read. I hated to put the book down because I was so enchanted watching them both find the love and acceptance they deserved.

The Lords of Chaos plot adds a dose of intrigue and danger to Duke of Pleasure, rounding out the story extremely well. The Lords of Chaos were first delved into in depth in the previous Maiden Lane book, Duke of Sin. You don’t have to have read that story to follow the events of this book (provided you don’t mind minor spoilers), though you would be missing out on a fantastic tale. I’m looking forward to seeing where this plotline goes next in Duke of Desire, as it’s clear the hero and heroine of that book (who you’ll get to know in this one) will be facing off against these villains as well.

The Maiden Lane series has been a stand-out historical romance series from the very first book, and Duke of Pleasure shows exactly why I find Ms. Hoyt’s world so engaging. The characters are unique, impeccably-drawn, and compelling, the romance is exciting and sensual, and the world comes alive on the page. I loved Duke of Pleasure and I can’t wait to read the next Maiden Lane story!


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/2016/11/review-duke-of-pleasure-by-elizabeth.html
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