Sara’s Review of Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt
I would like to thank Forever – Grand Central Publishing for not only letting me participated in the launch day event for Elizabeth Hoyt’s Duke of Pleasure but for also providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review, murr! =^.^=
This is only the second full novel (not counting a novella) from Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series that I’ve read, and I must admit that I’m wondering why I never tried this series sooner. Rest assured I am making plans to get caught up on the previous books next year because I truly am enjoying Hoyt’s writing and characters, and I anticipate reading the next book when it comes out too. There is no question that I have become a fan of this author, murr!
I just loved Alf! She’s cheeky, strong-willed, intelligent, and everything I enjoy in a female lead character. She reminded me a lot of Eponine from Les Miserables, especially when she assumed her boy persona, and I enjoyed her Ghost of St. Giles persona as well, though I would have liked to have seen more of that side of her. Hugh, meanwhile, is the kind of character who took me a little bit of time to warm up to, but that was mostly due to the fact that he’s a complex character with a complex background. He’s both a protector, a father, an acknowledged son of the king, an investigator/spy, and man of arms. As such, it is hard for me to say which role of his I enjoy more, though I’m leaning strongly toward that of father. Many of the scenes in the book focused on Hugh’s relationship with his sons and it was a pleasure to watch them reconnect with each other. It helped that Alf was there to act as a bit of a bridge. But I also liked watching him interact with his men and with his wife’s friend Iris. I’m rather looking forward to reading the earlier books and seeing when these two characters initially come in because I know this isn’t the first time we see them. I mean, Alf doesn’t just become the Ghost of St. Giles without some sort of lead up. And that more than anything is what I’ve come to enjoy with these books: they all tie together not just in location, but also in characters, and yet they can pretty much all be read as stand-alone novels, which is great because it means that a reader can pick the series up at any time and not feel pressured to read the earlier books before hand. Though I suspect that like me, they will quickly end up wanting to read those books at some point. Heehee.
The relationship between Hugh and Alf was slow to build in this novel. There was mutual interest, but the romance wasn’t instant lust, which I greatly appreciated. Instead it started as a slow simmer that heated up more with each chapter, and when they finally came together it felt natural rather than rushed. The only thing that irked me regarding their relationship was how Hugh continually fought his feelings in the beginning because he was worried that he’d have the same experience with Alf as he had with his wife, never mind that he clearly could identify the many ways Alf was different from her. Hoyt definitely knows how to write believable relationships and realistic characters. Their internal, personal struggles make them easy to connect with, and thus allows for the reader to slip in and view events clearly not just with their mind’s eye, but with their emotions as well. I cared about the characters in this book, all of the characters, not just the main couple. In most books I often end up overlooking the secondary/minor characters, but in Hoyt’s books I find myself actively looking at everyone and wanting to know more about them and discovering how they all connect within the area that is St. Giles and Maiden Lane.
The pacing of the story was smooth and held just the right amount of suspense to keep me reading chapter after chapter just to see what would happen next. Most of the questions I had as I was reading were answered by the time I finished, and those few questions that remain I suspect will be answered in the next novel, or their answers can be found in previous books. There is one question in particular, more of a hunch if you will, that I have which surrounds a character we meet toward the end of the story. It will be interesting to see how this character ties in with everyone and discover what happened to make him who he is now, if he’s who I suspect he is. My curiosity has certainly been piqued to say the least.
Overall this was a fun book to read. There were several scenes where I couldn’t help but smirk at the interaction between Alf and Hugh, a few scenes with Peter and Kit (Hugh’s sons) that melted my heart, and many others that left me nodding my head in appreciation for a well-written story. I feel confident in saying that fans of Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series and of historical romance will enjoy this book. And to those readers who are debating on whether to give this series a read or not, my suggestion to you is read it, don’t wait any longer. I know there are a lot of series out there to choose from, but this is one that you’ll not want to miss out on. Trust me. =^.^=
WICKED INTENTIONS is now FREE for a limited time!
The ebook edition of WICKED INTENTIONS, the first book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s bestselling Maiden Lane series will be FREE from November 28 through December 12! This is a great opportunity to introduce friends to the series! On December 13 the price returns to $5.99.
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.