I loved this book. It’s a take on Beauty and the Beast, which is one of my favorite tropes. The hero is tortured –and a mute, gentle giant. Fans of the Maiden Lane series will recognize Apollo Greaves as the brother to Artemis, the heroine in Duke of Midnight. He spent four years in Bedlam for a crime he didn’t commit, and now (thanks to his sister’s husband) he has escaped, but the damage done in the asylum has left him a very different man than he once was. Not only is he unable to speak, he must also remain hidden, since he is still wanted for murder.
As the story begins, Apollo is hiding out in the burned out remains of a pleasure garden, serving as a designer for its next incarnation. He works with the laborers and keeps his head down. But he doesn’t escape the notice of a curious little boy and his exploring dog. The child is fascinated with the mute man and befriends him. That puts Apollo straight into the path of Lily, an engaging actress, who happens to be the boy’s mother.
I loved the sparks that flew between these two almost from the very beginning. The way Elizabeth Hoyt was able to construct a believable building relationship without words from the hero was masterfully done. The sexual tension was palpable. It practically burns up the page. I’m always a fan of an ugly hero and the way Hoyt crafts Lily’s attraction to him anyway… it’s so organic and earthy… and hot.
There are some great twists and turns here as a the story progresses. It kept me guessing throughout, not just with the mysteries in Apollo’s life, but the secrets in Lily’s as well. The best part is the romance, but the entire book was very well done. One my favorite historical romances of the year.
*ARC Provided by Grand Central
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing