Saturday, July 20, 2013
Thief of Shadows
The title: Thief of Shadows
The author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Publication: Hachette, 2012
Got it from: Indigo Saint John, 2012
This book suffered from an unfortunate case of "lateritis." I was reading it and enjoying it, and then whoops, I was going away on vacation. Then I picked it up and started reading it again, and oops, I had to read some books that were due back at the library. The end result was that my reading of this book was very fragmented. Which is a shame, because I thoroughly enjoyed it and it did not deserve to be kept on the back burner. But such is the case when you have a TBR list as enormous as mine.
This is the fourth book in the Maiden Lane series, set in early 1700's London. (Note - I have not read the other books in the series). The hero is Winter Makepeace, a very serious, almost humourless manager of the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children - at least by day. By night he is the Ghost of St. Giles, a masked crimefighter who protects the innocent and rescues people in one of London's most notorious slums. Lady Isabel Beckinhall is a widow who rescues the Ghost one night and likes what she sees. She is also on a charity committee for the orphanage, and Winter is in danger of being ousted as manager. Isabel must tutor him in the ways of polite society so he can keep his position. He doesn't take the tutoring well.
I loved this book. The 18th century is an unusual setting for a historical romance, and it made the whole masked crimefighter plot more believable. (FYI - I bought this book for the masked crimefighter plot. It's possibly my most favourite romance trope). The differences between the hero and the heroine made for an interesting dynamic. Isabel is a full six years older than Winter (she's 32), and she's rich, titled, and worldly. By contrast, Winter grew up in poverty, is very straightforward and practical and has no experience in the world of the aristocracy - and he's also a virgin. Winter is a great hero and a refreshing change from the usual rogues and rakes. He cares deeply about the children in his care and uses his alter ego as the ghost to stop their abuse. It's fun to watch Isabel turn him into more of a badass, in a sexy way.
I have only one minor quibble with the book. Characters from the other books in the series kept popping up or were referenced and I couldn't keep them straight. I suppose that can happen when you want someone to read the whole series. But I can't complain too much since I really enjoyed the book.