|Series:||Maiden Lane #1|
|Pub. Date:||August 1, 2010|
I'm totally reading this series out of order, having first read (and loved) Duke of Sin. I really wish someone would have told me about Elizabeth Hoyt sooner... she writes super interesting historical characters, especially the dark, damaged and broody heroes!
The Maiden Lane series starts out at a home for unfortunate children on Maiden Lane in the St. Giles area of London. The Makepeace family established the school and orphanage, and they are quite the unusual family - right down to their names. Verity, Concord, Asa, Winter, Temperance and Silence. The whole family is not involved with the children in this first book. Winter runs the school and Temperance runs the home of twenty-eight children all named Mary and Joseph. Seriously! Mary Whitsun, Mary Sweet, Mary Hope, Mary Darling, Joseph Tinbox, Joseph Little... what's with all the Marys and Josephs?
Temperance Dews is the heroine of this first installment. Temperance is a twenty-eight year old widow and the second youngest of the family, just ahead of her sister, Silence. Temperance is constantly punishing herself for a mistake she committed in the past, and what she believes is a shameful sensual nature. This leads Temperance to avoid anything pleasurable or that would make her happy. She won't hold the orphans for fear of becoming attached, and she sacrifices her own happiness to take care of others. I enjoyed Temperance's character. As daughter of a brewer, a commoner, she was a down-to-earth capable female. She ran around the worst part of London saving children, yet did just as well among society members talking up her charity and trying to find a patron.
Our tortured hero is Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire. I'm not sure exactly what his title was... but he was an aristocrat with a notorious reputation for unnatural sexual proclivities. Having seen Temperance running around St. Giles, Caire bargains with her to be his guide on his search through London's underbelly for the murderer of his mistress. Hoyt does tortured heroes very well. Lord Caire was quite intriguing with long silver hair and a darkly sexual appetite. I had a great picture of him in my head, though I was never quite clear on his aversion to touch. But he was definitely my favorite type of hero, and I hope the rest of the series has more like him.
The relationship between Caire and Temperance unfolded at a nice pace. He was drawn to her from the first, but Caire had turned his emotions off. Around Temperance, he starts to feel again... and that causes him to lash out at times just so he can revel in her emotions.
The pain he'd caused her provoked a strange tenderness. He wanted to heal the hurt and then hurt her again just to make it better.
So the relationship between them was complicated and dark and dramatic. It was mesmerizingly dysfunctional and I loved it! I am really enjoying that Hoyt's historicals are of a darker nature and more steamy than the typical fare. I did feel that the ending of this one was a bit rushed with respect to the relationship between Caire and his mother, and resolving his aversion to touch. So that's the only reason this one didn't get an extra star from me.
I received a free copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing in exchange for an honest review.