Elizabeth Hoyt continues to impress me with this first book in her Maiden Lane series. I’ve read later books in this series –and loved them. Here, I really enjoyed going back to see where it all began and to meet some of the characters who go on to play pivotal roles in future stories. Other characters make me even more excited to delve in further with a few more backlist reads.
Our heroine is Temperance, who helps run a foundling home with her brother Winter (whose story I LOVED in Thief of Shadows.) She is a woman who cares deeply about others, sometime to her own detriment. She is a widow, nursing a shameful secret –one she feels she must atone for– and living in service to the orphans goes a long way towards doing that. Unfortunately, the orphanage is in grave danger of closing. Their only patron is dead and now they can’t afford to keep it running.
Enter Lord Caire. He first spies Temperance on the wicked streets of St. Giles as she rescues a dying baby. He is drawn to her and thinks to use her familiarity with the neighborhood to help him find his mistress’s killer. He offers her a bargain. If she’ll open the doors of St. Giles for his search, he’ll open the doors of society to help her find a new benefactor.
Caire is a man who is unable to maintain a traditional relationship. He is pained by the touch of another and he is a bit renowned for his peculiar sexual proclivities. It was kind of a big deal in the book, so I was worried it would be something totally out there… fortunately, it’s not. Anyway, he thinks he will never be able to love anyone and never be able to bear their touch, so he’s not exactly your typical romance hero. What he is, however, is wonderfully broken. Watching him heal and surpass his own grim predictions is very satisfying. This is a romance, after all, so you know that love is, indeed, in his future.
Temperance isn’t exactly the paragon she appears to be at first, which is kind of a good thing. It gives her a little more depth. You’d think this would be all about Caire’s growth, but Temperance has to find peace with herself and her past as well. They both have serious issues to overcome, but they teach each other so much. It’s emotional and passionate. It’s sexy and exciting.
The mystery is good. The plot moves quickly –and I didn’t find the resolution predictable. It’s really quite good. And Hoyt really does a good job planting the seeds for future books. Though Hero is the lead of the next book, it’s really Temperance’s sister Silence who steals the show with her heartbreaking story. I’m really looking forward to book 3!
A good start to what I know turns out to be a great series.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: August 1, 2010
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing