Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt
Book Ten of the Maiden Lane series
Publisher: Grand Central
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***
Summary (from Goodreads):
A MAN OF SIN
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.
A WOMAN OF HONOR
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.
A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY THEM BOTH
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 . . .
What I Liked:
Oh my heart. I knew I would love this book, but I really had no idea just how much. I've enjoyed the Maiden Lane series, from books one to nine (and now ten). My favorite has always been Duke of Midnight, but I'm pretty sure this book is a co-favorite in the series. Val's story is every bit as wicked and as complex as I'd hoped, and then some!
Bridget Crumb is the Duke of Montgomery's housekeeper, as well as a bastard daughter of nobility. The Duke of Montgomery ("Val") has been away from London, but now he is back, and just as scheming and wicked as ever. But Bridget needs to find something so that Val can't keep blackmailing her her aristocratic mother. To Val, knowledge can be used for blackmailing, and blackmailing means power. Val is intrigued by his housekeeper; she seems like a saint, yet she has been rifling around in his chambers. Unfortunately for Bridget, no one can resist the duke, not even her... and she'll find that the duke has more secrets than her, secrets that make her see him completely differently.
Val is quite possibly the most interesting character in the Maiden Lane series. I believe we're introduced to him at the very end of Duke of Midnight, and we see a lot of him in Sweetest Scoundrel, in which his sister Eve is featured against Asa Makepeace. Val is so strange! He has a taste for certain colors and matching clothes and other vain things. Val likes pleasure, but has no taste for love. It almost seems like he doesn't care for the concept of right and wrong. He wants and he gets, and he is always hungry for power.
Bridget is a bastard daughter of a noblewoman, who left Bridget to be in the care of a working family in the country. Bridget became a housekeeper at a young age (she is only twenty-six, in this novel), and she is very effective at her job. She seems prim and saintly and almost bored with the duke's antics, but Bridget is no saint. Not only has she been snooping in the duke's personal chambers, but she has found herself intrigued by the duke, and admiring him. Things housekeepers shouldn't do.
The dynamic of these two! Bridget seems prim and perfect, and the duke is flirtatious and charming and downright wicked. It seems like no one likes him (he can blackmail just about anyone), and unfortunately he is always really misjudged. Much of his ways are because of his childhood - which we learn a great deal about, in this book. Bridget is the first person to see beyond the facade that has become one with the man. She likes him despite not liking him, if that makes sense. Val, on the other hand, likes Bridget and wants her and has no problem with this (despite the fact that she is his housekeeper).
This book was so swoony and steamy! Both all wrapped into one! The first sex scene doesn't even appear until nearly two-thirds of the way in, yet the sexual tension is very present in the entire book. There are steamy steamy scenes, but then there are also very swoon scenes. And then there are scenes that made me want to cry, for Val. It's no wonder everyone misjudges him - no one knows his story. He is a sinful, wicked man, but one that I couldn't help but fall for.
I love how interconnected this series is! You can read these books as standalones, but if you read them as a series (one after the other), the bigger picture is so satisfying. I love how the characters are connected in some way or the other, how everything weaves in and out of each other.
Fun fact - the Ghost of St. Giles may or may not make an appearance in the next book, Duke of Pleasure. I am so excited!
Anyway, as you can tell, I really enjoyed this book. It was a no-brainer to give it five stars! I've given two five-star ratings and eight four-star ratings (ten books so far) in this series - that is a sign of books well written! I can't get enough of Hoyt's historical romances. Bring on Alf and the Duke of Kyle!
What I Did Not Like:
I have nothing to say here! I'll be rereading this book ASAP.
Would I Recommend It:
I highly recommend this book! This one and Duke of Midnight are my favorite of the Maiden Lane series. But I also really recommend the series in general. You don't have to read any/all of the books, in any order! It's just more satisfying if you do start from the beginning. Historical romance fans, this is a series you do not want to miss!
4.5 stars -> rounded up to 5 stars. All the stars for Val and Bridget! They are such a swoony pair. I adored this book so much!
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