Tuesday, October 17, 2017

ARC Review and Author's Top 5: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Series:     Maiden Lane #12
Pub. Date:Oct 17, 2017
Publisher:Grand Central
Length:364 pages

Duke of Desire is the conclusion to the Maiden Lane series, and man did Elizabeth Hoyt take us out with a bang. I was supposed to be packing today for my big move, but this book kept me totally distracted and camped out my couch turning page after page.

Lady Iris Jordan was the friend of Hugh Fitzroy, Duke of Kyle, from Duke of Pleasure. Thought to be Kyle's new wife, Iris was kidnapped by the Lords of Chaos, a group of sadistic and pedophilic men operating in the dark of London society.  Iris is a widow and, after her unhappy first marriage, she was hoping to marry again for love and children. Finding herself married to the beastly Duke of Dyemore was not in the cards, but Iris found herself compelled by his dark vulnerability. I really liked this heroine. She was mature and did not despair of her circumstances. She looked past Dyemore's scarred visage and saw the wounded boy underneath, and the good man that he was trying to be. I liked that she was brave in her uncertainty and didn't allow the Duke to push her away or intimidate her.

Raphael de Chartres, Duke of Dyemore, was a tortured hero in the extreme. As son of the former Dionysus of the Lords of Chaos, Raphel had firsthand knowledge of the group's evil nature and  vile desires. Now his sole motivation in life seems to be revenge and bringing the Lords down, but he couldn't stop himself from acquiring Iris' light when the opportunity presented itself. I found Raphael's character to be extremely compelling. Your soul hurt for the tragedy he suffered, and you couldn't help being drawn to his wounded nature. I liked the dark/light interplay the author used to balance the hero and heroine.

This story did not feel like instalove, despite our couple having a hasty marriage of convenience at the outset of the story. Raphael was like a wounded animal that Iris had to coax into the light and prove that he was not the monster he believed himself to be. Despite the story's dark nature, there were some steamy moments weaved in that seemed all the more intense for the twisted emotions the rest of the tale evoked. The entire storyline and romance in this final installment was very intense, and I was riveted to the page.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Grand Central Publishing.


About the Author

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

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Elizabeth Hoyt's

Top 5 Moments in the Maiden Lane Series

1. The ending of Scandalous Desires…because I’m a sadist.

2. Also the ending of Thief of Shadows for the same reason. There’s a reviewer who shouts a line from the end of that book every time she sees me. ;-)

3. All of Duke of Sin—that was a fun book to write!

4. The first scene in Alf’s point of view in Duke of Pleasure. It was lovely to finally see inside her head.

5. The epilogue in Duke of Desire. This is a couple that really, really deserved their HEA. ;-)


Maiden Lane

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