The title: Dearest Rogue
The author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Publication: Hachette, 2015
Got it from: The library
It's book #8 in the Maiden Lane series! (Previously reviewed: #3, #4 and #6.) The couple in this one were featured characters in Duke of Midnight and I looked forward to reading their story. Lady Phoebe Batten is the younger sister of the hero in Duke of Midnight, Maximus Batten. Normally I haaaaaaate ingenue romances with a passion (she's only 21) but she is forgiven by me because - in an unusual-for-romance twist - she has slowly gone blind. Her disability, which in the early eighteenth century was even more difficult to live with, makes her older and wiser for her age. But she's still very young and vivacious, and she chafes at the restrictions her brother places on her because of her status and disability.
Phoebe is a target for kidnappers, which is why Maximus hires James Trevillion, former dragoon captain, as her bodyguard. Trevillion is the sort of no-nonsense hero who's a perfect foil for Phoebe's lightheartedness. He also has a disability of his own. In Duke of Midnight his horse fell on him while he was helping the Ghost of St. Giles (Maximus) chase a criminal. Ever since he's had a permanent limp and has to walk with a cane.
It goes without saying that for me the Maiden Lane series is just so darn good. The couples from the other books in the series always play a role in later books so the that area of London is starting to feel like one big friend reunion to me. (I do love books about communities). This book is the perfect blend of character development, action, historical detail and humour. There is never a dull moment and much to reward an intelligent reader. For instance, there's the fact that the hero and heroine both have disabilities that are particularly irksome to them. Trevillion, as a man of action, has the bad leg, while Phoebe who has a love of beautiful things, particularly flowers, can't see. They could have been given any number of disabilities, but having the two most frustrating ones for each of their characters makes the story that more interesting. It's that kind of care Hoyt puts into her stories that makes them worth reading.