Sara’s Review of Once Upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt
I’d like to sincerely thank Forever Yours – Grand Central Publishing for letting me participate in the launch event for Hoyt’s newest novel and for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review! =^.^=
As my first taste of Hoyt’s writing, I have to say that this was an okay read. While it didn’t entirely standout for me, it didn’t leave me regretting having spent my time reading it. I definitely want to check out the Maiden Lane series from the beginning and give Hoyt’s other books a try. At the very least I want to hold judgement on whether I’m going to fully enjoy Hoyt’s writing until after I’ve read a full length novel of hers.
Novellas are usually hard for me to rate because I always feel as though the plot in them would be better if they were longer. Often times the pacing of the plot feels rushed in novellas, but in the case of this particular tale the pacing worked rather well. The only place where I felt things were rushed was toward the end when Hippolyta is suddenly married to Matthew. The jump in time gave me a bit of a jolt due to the unexpectedness of it. Yes, I knew they would eventually wed, but I didn’t think it would be that sudden. Other than that, the pacing was great and worked for the events in the story, for the most part.
Hippolyta was an interesting character. I found her to be both strong and vulnerable respectively. She’s not the sort of woman who’s afraid to speak her mind in matters of her place in society or what she expects out of life and men, yet once she’s faced with potential ruin both physically and socially she runs from her troubles rather than fighting them, at least until she’s given the strength to do so by those who love her. In this I’d have loved for her to have had a full length story because I feel as though there is more that Hoyt could have done with her to make Hippolyta a truly enjoyable character. Here we get just a quick glance into who she is and what she’s capable of, rather than the full growth and examination that are afforded to other women in the series, and from what I hear from other readers of this series, Hippolyta is the character that most readers wanted to see more of in the previous books. As for Matthew, for most of the story he rub my fur entirely the wrong way. His behavior and assumptions toward Hippolyta not only were disrespectful, but bordered on cruel. I had a difficult time dredging up any respect for him as the story progressed. He didn’t have many opportunities to prove himself as being worthy of Hippolyta’s affections, didn’t strike me as having developed much emotionally, and pretty much made me doubt whether the two of them really would have ended up together in the end if circumstances had been different. And this is where having their story be a full length novel would have resulted in a higher rating from me: I wanted more character development for them!
What also kept me from giving this book a higher rating was the conflict wasn’t what I was originally led to believe it would be. When we first meet Hippolyta she is being pursued by a pack of hunting hounds after she escaped from a gentleman who had her kidnapped to force her to marry him. As I was reading this story, I kept expecting Hippolyta and Matthew to eventually have to confront this gentleman and in the process of doing so, Matthew would earn his favor with Hippolyta. Having this, Hippolyta’s escape back to London, be the tone and focus of the first half of the novella is what drove my interest in the story. I wanted to know what would happen to her where this issue was concerned. I wanted to know if she would end up being caught again. But by the time I got to the three-quarter mark of the novella the conflict became something else entirely and completely threw off my enjoyment of the book. The motives behind the new conflict seemed weak and didn’t hold any relevance to the majority of the tale. While it is true that the reader is told of Hippolyta’s background, the impact of this didn’t strike me as something that would play that large of a role later in the story. So here I am expecting one ending for this book only to end up with an entirely different one. Yeah, I was not a happy feline. I genuinely would have liked the book more had the initial conflict been what was resolved in the end.
Now to be fair the premise of this story is a good one. Hippolyta is an enjoyable character whom I feel readers will readily connect with and as I said, the pacing works well for the length of the story. I can’t say that I didn’t like reading this title because up until the shift in the conflict I was actually enjoying the story despite not being overly enamored with Matthew, and had the conflict not become something else, I’d have definitely given this novella a four paw rating.
So if asked if I would recommend this book to readers, I’d say yes, it’s worth giving it a read. Just be aware that things aren’t going to go in the direction you originally think they are going to go. And if you’ve already read this book, please feel free to share your thoughts on it in the comments section below. I’d love to hear other readers’ views on this story, especially from those who have read the other books in the series, murr! =^.^=
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.
If you would like to win 1 (one) of 10 (ten) paperback copies of Elizabeth Hoyt’s Duke of Sin, book #10 in her Maiden Lane series, please click on the Rafflecopter link below: