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Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review: Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane) Elizabeth Hoyt

This is a grand blend of intrigue, tension and romance. Check back tomorrow for my review and giveaway of Lord of Darkness, Book 5 in the series!
Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane)
Elizabeth Hoyt

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Grand Central Pub 2012-06-26; First Edition edition (2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455508322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455508327
  • ASIN: B008XH5FTI
Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: June 26, 2012

Winter Makepeace lives a double life. By day he's the stoic headmaster of a home for foundling children. But the night brings out a darker side of Winter. As the moon rises, so does the Ghost of St. Giles-protector, judge, fugitive. When the Ghost, beaten and wounded, is rescued by a beautiful aristocrat, Winter has no idea that his two worlds are about to collide.

Lady Isabel Beckinhall enjoys nothing more than a challenge. Yet when she's asked to tutor the Home's dour manager in the ways of society-flirtation, double-entendres, and scandalous liaisons-Isabel can't help wondering why his eyes seem so familiar-and his lips so tempting.

During the day Isabel and Winter engage in a battle of wills. At night their passions are revealed . . . But when little girls start disappearing from St. Giles, Winter must avenge them. For that he might have to sacrifice everything-the Home, Isabel . . . and his life.

The book description does a good job of summarizing the primary characters and storyline.
Isabel is alone with certain liberty as a wealthy widow.  She is one of the Ladies’ benevolence patronesses who support the foundling home. One of the other aristocratic ladies, a frivolous heiress, decides they need an aristocratic manager to represent the home in society settings claiming that the commoner, Winter Makepeace, just doesn’t have the right skills. Isabel is one of several of the ladies who appreciate Makepeace’s dedication and managerial skills. She takes up the challenge to tutor him in social skills rather than allow him to be removed from the home. She would not normally mix with a common schoolteacher but she is drawn to the similar loneliness she sees in the solemn, mysterious man.

Isabel saved the Ghost of St. Giles from a mob and is intrigued by the injured man. Soon she begins to make a connection between the dashing, masked avenger and the quiet, intense schoolteacher. As she tutors Winter a desire builds in her even as he tries to resist her temptations. The tables turn when the previously celibate Winter finally succumbs to Isabel’s spell. She brings light to Winter's darkness. His desire, honor and intensity seeks to bind them for the future but she pulls away because of her own secret.

Winter has learned that young girls are being snatched off the streets to serve in a sweat shop where they are being starved and ill-treated. The location of the operation is moved just when he thinks he can rescue the girls. Now he must continue his hunt, as the Ghost of St. Giles, but he has more to risk than ever before.

There is a wonderful dance of dialogue and romance between these characters. The action begins immediately and the background story is filled with the dangers and evils in St. Giles and heroic efforts to help innocent children.  Although the sexual scenes are a bit raw in graphic description of the passion, there is love, natural chemistry and wonder shared. You can skim over the sexual details if need be and still enjoy the conflict of the relationship and the suspense, intrigue and danger of the plot. There are secrets, excitement and surprises to keep the reading moving quickly. I really like Ms. Hoyt's writing and this series for the exciting plots and the enjoyable dance of the couples as they resist the love that flows from their passions.
As Isabel tutors Winter their practice goes beyond the dance steps:
    “And yet you are a passionate woman,” he whispered as he took her hand and raised it. They circled each other as he spoke. “Has anyone cherished you just for yourself?”
    She looked up and laughed at him. “This question from the man who takes care of everyone yet whom no one takes care of?”  Page 111.
I received this book from Grand Central, Hachette for an honest review.

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