Elizabeth Hoyt returns to the blog today with the 12th installment of her Maiden Lane series, and the story of Raphael in his quest to bring down the Lords of Chaos. Please read on for my review of
Duke of Desire
A far different tone and weight than earlier titles in the series, Holt is telling the story of Raphael de Chartres, Duke of Draymore. Scarred, aloof and determined to bring down the Lords of Chaos once and for all, he’s a rather anti-heroic hero, and full of trauma and pain from his past. Believing that the Lords had been disbanded, everyone in society had breathed a sigh of relief until a new leader is chosen, one believed to be more ruthless and unconcerned with society’s censure than ever before.
When Lady Iris Jordan discovers she is the target of their next plot, and is hied off to a carriage by a man, the story starts. Unfortunately for Iris, her story almost stalls here, and while she is determined to play a part in Raphael’s investigation, and has agreed to marry him despite his not really wanting a relationship, particularly not with someone who won’t do his bidding, her story and character becomes a sort of window dressing: always there, constant, allowing Raphael’s story and struggle to take center stage.
And Raphael’s story is a traumatic one: scarred and closed off from much real emotion BUT anger and his desire to do something major, a childhood of sexual and emotional abuse stalled and hindered his well-being, and his attraction to Iris was like a plant turning to the sun – he wanted it, but at a distance. Unfortunately he was so broken and closed off for so much of the book that interactions (what few there were) that could be considered ‘romantic’ and allow the development of true feelings between Iris and he were few, and lacked much of the quick-fire banter, flintiness and lightness of Hoyt’s previous works. Yes, I understand this is a new character with plenty of baggage and a little black cloud that seems to follow him, but even Iris’ attempts to show him (as telling wasn’t even close to acceptable) that she was in his corner, wanted to be there and he was worth having that didn’t make much of an impression. Sadly, the balance of issues with hope and light was off, and the pacing in the first and second halves of the book were uneven, leaving me with conflicted feelings. Hoyt gave us a character in Raphael who was palpable and developed, with enough issues to warrant empathy and sympathy, but he didn’t move from that aloof and suspicious man until far too late. And Iris never really grabbed me: it would take a strong and determined woman, one not afraid of conflict and willing to push, prod and insert herself, challenging his reserve and remove – and she never quite hit those marks.
An interesting installment that diverges greatly from others in the series, and works well on its own as none of the other characters from this world of Maiden Lane appear or move their own earlier stories forward in this one. The highlight for me in this book was Raphael and his own struggles with a past and present that were not the easiest, and his determination to move on, if not exactly forward.
Title: Duke of Desire
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane #12
Also in this series: Dearest Rogue
Genre: Georgian, Historical Romance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Grand Central Publishing
Published on: 17 October, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 55 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible
A LADY OF LIGHT
Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.
A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS
Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.
CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER . . . AND DESIRE
Much to Raphael's irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he's drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael's past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael's own demons?
See the Maiden Lane series on Goodreads
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.