Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane #3)
By: Elizabeth Hoyt
Published date: June 26, 2012
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
How hot is it: 3.5 out of 5
Hero: Winter Makepeace
Heroine: Lady Isabel Beckinhall
Right, so yes, another Elizabeth Hoyt novel, wherein I finally get a handle on not writing her name as Elizabeth “Holt.” I’m not even going to try to pretend that I’m not mildly obsessed with these books. I thought I loved the Four Soldiers series, but I am totally hooked on the Ghost of St. Giles! He’s dark, he’s mysterious, he’s often a martyr of some kind, I just love the secrets and the drama of it.
Winter Makepeace is the least likely person to be the Ghost as he’s quite taciturn, and more or less, a fuddy duddy schoolmaster. He’s also a virgin, talk about a romance novel first, right? Anyway, he’s taken a personal vow to take care of the children of St. Giles so it’s his entire life, he eschews personal relationships and deep emotions. Until, of course, he meets Lady Isabel, a new patroness of his Home for Foundling Children, the actual name of the home is long and hilarious, but I’m far too lazy to look it up, you’ll just have to believe me when I say it’s ridiculous.
Lady Isabel is a witty widow who likes to poke at Winter’s solemn nature, and this comes to a head when she is tasked with tutoring him in polite behavior to secure his position at the home. They flirt, it’s charming and sexy, and we see that Isabel is more than just a shallow society lady. She and Winter begin to know each other without the masks they wear for others, and their romance is intriguing, surprising in a lot of ways, and deeply emotional. My favorite part of it was that Winter was so self-confident that there wasn’t this back and forth that he wasn’t good enough for a baroness because he was a common man. I’d been prepared for that kind of plot device, and it was so refreshing to watch two self-assured people unexpectedly fall in love with each other. As a reader of romance, I can say with some authority that this is not especially common.
I’m definitely finishing this series, and officially cannot wait until the next installment is out in May. It’s been the perfect antidote for a cold, miserable winter. The ominous backdrop of St. Giles and the rogue-ish Ghost were compelling and lent a little grit to the fluffy ballrooms and house parties we usually get in historicals. The only regret I have is that there are only two more left to read!