Series: Maiden Lane, Book 7
Genre: Historical Romance
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Elizabeth Hoyt Reading Order
A Man Condemned…
Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown’s soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he’s quickly driven to distraction…
A Desperate Woman…
London’s premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she’s forced to move into a scorched theater with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren’t the only inhabitants—a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there’s more to this man than meets the eye.
Out of Ashes, Desire Flares
Though a scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he’s forced to make a choice: his love for Lily…or the explosive truth that will set him free.
A hero in hiding, an actress with a secret, an adorable young boy, a daffy dog, and a love story that will leave you smiling… What more can you ask for? Darling Beast has all these things and more. Elizabeth Hoyt never fails to entertain and the seventh installment to her Maiden Lane series has all the originality I’ve come to expect from her books.
Quite possibly my favorite thing about Ms. Hoyt’s writing is her unique characters. Lily is an actress who has found herself in reduced circumstances after the theater she works at burns down. She’s also secretly a playwright and a talented one at that. Lily is a mother, a giver, and a woman who makes the best of what she has while trying to get back on her feet. She’s an unusual heroine for the era, which of course makes her a perfect fit for Apollo. Apollo is a viscount who was wrongfully sent to Bedlam and bears both internal and external scars from what was done to him. He’s also an unusual aristocrat to begin with, a beast of a man more at home in the garden than in a ballroom. I was fascinated by the many facets of Apollo’s character and Ms. Hoyt definitely kept me guessing as to how he would be able to clear his name. The two of them complement each other perfectly and it’s easy to root for them to find their happily ever after.
Romance aside, there’s plenty of action to be found in Darling Beast in the form of the mystery plot. Apollo spends much of the story in hiding as he and his unlikely bunch of allies try to find out who murdered Apollo’s friends and framed him for it. Among those allies are Captain James Trevillion, the man who arrested him (and a reoccurring character in the series), and Valentine Napier, Duke of Montgomery. Montgomery in particular brings added spark to Darling Beast – I could not stop grinning every time the raffish, Loki-like duke sauntered onto the page.
Darling Beast is the seventh book in the Maiden Lane series, but it can be read as a standalone. That being said, fans of the series will delight in revisiting some past favorite characters. Ms. Hoyt also sets the stage for future books, particularly in the case of Captain Trevillion and Phoebe Batten, of the upcoming Dearest Rogue. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the series or are just starting out, by the time you finish Darling Beast you’ll be eager to dive into more Maiden Lane books!
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.