Saturday, July 2, 2016

Review: Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane #10)

Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane #10)

by Elizabeth Hoyt 

Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.
Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery's household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.
Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can't resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .
Themes: historical              
Rating: 3.5 stars
Heat Rating: 
 Wow! That was an interesting way for a man to find himself turned from villain to—well...not hero, but definitely into a human man. Anyone that has read the recent installments of this series well knows the dastardly deeds that Valentine Napier, Duke of Montgomery, is capable of and there is certainly no denying that the man leads a lifestyle that even in the much freer society we currently live in would be considered disreputable.  This series has evolved through many different paths and taking us down the road of reforming (sort of) this villain into a man worthy of the love of a good woman was going to be a challenge, but Elizabeth certainly meets and possibly even exceeds my  expectations. I loved seeing Bridget sparring with Val as she tried to get around him to meet her goal, but as she starts to see the true man behind the mask of indulgence and insolence and fall in love I fear for her sanity.  Val was the kind of man that always has an endgame in sight, always 12 steps ahead of his opponents, until he finds the strangely compelling Bridget sneaking through his room.  She throws his world upside down and there is no way for him to deny that he wants her.  But the more she denies the connection and possibilities between them the more he wants her.  The question becomes will he be willing to give up on his lifelong goals in order to keep the woman he has inexplicably fallen in love with from being sacrificed for his goals. 
I loved this story, mainly because it really is a story of a man that has gone far off the path of righteousness in order to protect those  in need, while still maintaining a nonchalant and over-the-top way of life, one that is expected from his family name.  Valentine is one of those characters that you love to hate until you just have to love him.  He knows what he wants and though he is willing to work for it, his ways are often not-so-mainstream.  Seeing him interacting with, and seducing, the timid and understated Bridget and knowing that he might not ever be worthy to hold such a treasure leads him to make some very questionable choices.  Bridget on the other hand knows what she is doing is wrong, even as she falls into his arms and into his bed, but resisting him is unbearable to both heart and body.  Seeing them falling in love as they both worked to keep their chess game from imploding was more that fun, it was the game of a lifetime.  I cannot wait to see whose story will be next, though I have my suspicions and if I’m right it could be very interesting.  All in all another Hoyt masterpiece in a series I can see evolving and lasting for a long time more.

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

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