Duke of Pleasure
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Reviewer: Jen Twimom
Hugh Fitzroy, Duke of Kyle and bastard son of the King, is the widowed father of two young boys. His marriage to Katherine had been passionate, but a disaster, and now he’s trying to rebuild a relationship with his sons. However, he’s been tasked by the King to destroy the Lords of Chaos, a deadly secretive group who will stop at nothing to keep their identities unknown. When Hugh is attacked by some ruffians, he is helped by the mysterious Ghost of St Giles. And when Hugh realizes his savior is a woman, he cannot stop thinking about her.
Alf is the Ghost of St Giles by night and a teenage errand boy by day. She took over the roll of the Ghost recently (it’s like the Dread Pirate Roberts), and after saving Hugh, feels something she’s never allowed herself to feel as a woman. Now that Hugh has hired the boy Alf to help him uncover the truth, Alf the woman is frightened what will happen if her secret gets out.
Although I am new to the Maiden Lane series, having started with the previous full-length novel, it has quickly become one of my favorites. The Duke of Pleasure is no exception, with its smart wit, intelligent plot, exciting action, and passionate romance. Although at first, it was difficult for me to see Alf as a woman and match for Hugh because she hid herself as a boy, her character really started to blossom once the truth was discovered. And I am thankful to the author for avoiding a pedophile storyline and any attraction of an adult Hugh with an apparent underaged boy. Ms. Hoyt unveiled Alf’s true self in an incredible sexy and appropriate manner.
Alf is a wonderful character. Growing up an orphan and hiding as a boy in the worst part of London, she’s maintained a moral compass but avoided the pretentious nature of the ladies of her time. Her openness could be a deficit if she was hired by anyone other than Hugh, but with him, she is allowed to be her true self. Same goes with Hugh’s friend Iris and his men, who accept Alf as she is, and in fact, become enamored with her in their own ways.
While I was enthralled with the romance behind the story, the plot following the Lords of Chaos was utterly exciting. The interludes with Iris helped to create a suspenseful atmosphere as she uncovers hidden truths and secrets. I really liked her and that she wasn’t out to get Hugh, even questioning if she should marry him. I’m happy to report Iris gets her own story in the next title!
Duke of Pleasure is a wonderful story, which can be read as a standalone. The adventure in this one was exciting but never too dire. I found it difficult to put down the book; I was excited and engrossed from beginning to end. The romance between Hugh and Alf is passionate, and I love that they work and play together as equals. Ms. Hoyt spins exciting, interesting tales with men and women who don’t follow convention. However, the characters are never out of place in society; rather they fill his/her own niche and their strengths are well matched. I am so glad I found my way onto Maiden Lane and beyond. Duke of Pleasure is a smart, passionate historical romance.
IN THE ARMS OF DANGER
Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king’s secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley—and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.
IN THE HEAT OF DESIRE
Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she’s the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation.
ONE KISS WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER
When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be—before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Series: Maiden Lane #11
Genre: Historical Romance
Format(s): paperback (336 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley