Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt
Book Eight of the Maiden Lane series
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***
Summary (from Goodreads):
HE CAN GUARD HER
Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.
FROM EVERY DANGER
Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King's dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she's targeted by kidnappers.
BUT PASSION ITSELF
Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they're confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier's hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.
What I Liked:
Ahhhh, I love this series so much. I started the series in March 2013, reading Lord of Darkness first (which is book five), and then going back and reading books one through four. Then book six, seven, and now, eight. While book six, Duke of Midnight, is still firmly my favorite book of the series, I really enjoyed this novel, featuring Phoebe and James!
Phoebe is the younger sister of Maximus (the hero of Duke of Midnight). He's been sheltering her ever since she was an adolescent, when her sight started to fade. Now just in her twenties, Phoebe's sight is gone. She's blind, and the sister of one of the most powerful men in England. So Maximus hires Captain James Trevillion, former dragoon of the King, to guard Phoebe. This is quite the step down from his previous work, but with his lame leg, James can't serve the King like he once was able. Protecting Lady Phoebe from dangerous threats is one... protecting her from himself is quite another.
I knew I was going to read this book regardless of who the hero and heroine would be... but I was immediately intrigued to see that this book would feature Phoebe - and James. I'd never think to pair the two of them together. But also, I thought it would be interesting to see a book come about from Phoebe's point-of-view. She's blind, and, well, I've never read any book told from the perspective of a blind character, let alone a historical romance novel. Nevertheless, Hoyt does an excellent job of characterizing Phoebe, staying true to who we see as Phoebe in previous books.
I'd always like Phoebe, from the previous books in the series. She seemed to be treated as if she were delicate and breakable, especially by Maximus. But it has always been clear that she has a will of her own, and that she isn't happy with being treated like a china doll. I liked getting inside of her head and understanding her a little better.
Hoyt does a really great job of showing us Phoebe's fierce spirit, but also showing us that there is reason to keep Phoebe on a shelf locked away. Hoyt includes scenes and events in which Phoebe demands her freedom, but also, scenes in which Phoebe looks foolish and impulsive for going behind Maximus's back to do things. Like, we all empathize with her, and want her to be free of her cage. But at the same time, it's so obvious why Phoebe needs to handled a little - she's blind, as well as she's the sister of a very important and powerful man.
James protects her as best as he can, but it's her will against his, and he bows to her will at times. James seems cold and detached, but Phoebe pries her way into his life. It's like a small miracle when he smiles and laughs (eventually). But he isn't smiling and laughing when Phoebe is almost attacked, abducted, almost taken, and then truly taken, and he has to find her and rescue her. Sometimes I had to roll my eyes at Phoebe's naivety, but then I also really felt for her.
I really felt for James. He has such a hard past, present, and future, and not just because of his leg. He doesn't often feel sorry for himself or let himself feel sorry for himself, in terms of his life. But it's clear that he's had a difficult, and we find out why as we read. Eventually, we get to see the source of his melancholy up close and personal, which I thought was really interesting. This is about halfway into the book.
The romance between James and Phoebe is very sweet and heartbreaking and of the simmery type. Phoebe is very innocent, with no experience and no exposure to lurid pamphlets or gossip or anything of the debauchery sort. James is a decade or so older than her. But it seems so natural, how they fall for each other. They balance each other, James and his surliness, Phoebe and her innocence. There is plenty of chemistry and hot scenes in this book, and it all fit quite naturally with the progression of James and Phoebe's relationship!
The story itself is interesting as well! As always, Hoyt's books are never just a romance story. Phoebe is in constant danger, and James is constantly saving her. Half of the book is spent away from Maximus's home (much to Maximus's displeasure), in order to keep Phoebe. James's past is linked to the story, and we get to experience a lot of backstory mixed with the forefront. This book has less of a connection to St. Giles than the others (James is not a Ghost, and Phoebe doesn't know much about the Ghosts), but this book was an excellent addition to the series!
What I Did Not Like:
Like I mentioned above, this book has less of a connection to St. Giles than the other books. We get to see most of the title characters in the previous books - Megs (and her baby!), Lady Caire (Temperance), Artemis (the Duchess), Hero (and her kids!) - nothing from Silence and Michael though (booo, they were one of my favorite couples). Basically, since the heroine of this story didn't live in St. Giles (like Temperance or Winter or Silence), or wasn't a Ghost (like Godric or Maximus), there was little connection to St. Giles. Which is fine, this is a great historical romance novel nonetheless! But I love that thread that ties this series together. St. Giles is still present! I somewhat miss the "Ghost" drama though. But that ship sailed with Maximus, I think!
Would I Recommend It:
Yes! The whole series, as I'm sure many of you have seen me say before. The Maiden Lane books are among my favorite books in the historical romance genre! If not THE favorite. I don't care if there are forty books in the series, I will keep reading! Adult recommended, of course. Hoyt turns up the steam in every book!
4 stars. A wonderful addition to a fabulous series! I'm very, very excited to read the next book - featuring Asa, and Eve (a woman we meet in this book, Dearest Rogue). I've been looking forward to reading about Asa for quite some time! Also the pictures of the photo shoot for the cover of Sweetest Scoundrel - love! Go on Elizabeth's Facebook page to see them! I can't wait to see the cover!
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Book seven, Darling Beast, is currently $1.99!