Sunday, May 29, 2016

Duke of Sin- Elizabeth Hoyt

Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane Series #10)- Elizabeth Hoyt
Grand Central Publishing, Hachette
Release Date: May 31, 2016

SynopsisDevastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans. Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery's household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous. Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can't resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .

Duke of Sin has been the book I've been waiting for for ages. How was Elizabeth Hoyt going to turn villain Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, into a hero?  Followers of her Maiden Lane series have been trying to figure out Montgomery for several books, especially after November's Sweetest Scoundrel, when we got to know Val better through his sister Eve.  We've seen him through others as vain, unscrupulous, seductive, with no morals and questionable sanity.  How would we see the 'real' Val, through his own eyes?

The 'real' Val is vain, unscrupulous, seductive, has no morals, and questionable sanity.  Like The Avenger's Loki, Once Upon a Time's Rumplestiltskin, and Nalini Singh's Kaleb Krycheck- Valentine Napier was written for those of us who love the villain.

But Bridget Crumb, Val's housekeeper and the woman who falls in love with him, brings out the more human aspects of Val, even if he wouldn't think of it that way.  Val may be the most emotionally damaged of Hoyt's heroes- so damaged even he refuses to acknowledge the problems.  Being a duke, he generally gets away with anything so his feeling is: why worry?.  But through Eve, and now Bridget, even Val realizes there are a few people who he will do anything to make happy, who are essential to him.  

Bridget is a strong woman with a bone deep sense of right and wrong and the backbone to stand up to even a duke (and her employer) when she sees the line being crossed.  She doesn't resent the fact that she's a bastard, she enjoys her work and takes pride in it. One of the things I liked best about Bridget was that she doesn't try to change Val.  She may try to convince him to modify some of his actions (there are times when kittens work just as well as blackmail and murder after all) but she accepts him as he is, as the man she fell in love with- flaws and all. 

Like all of Hoyt's books, Duke of Sin is beautifully written, bringing the reader into another world through gorgeous descriptions of both opulence and squalor.  Her characters are complex and three dimensional, and those who give cameo appearances from other books are drawn for new readers in simple, elegant pen strokes.  You become immersed in her world from the first page and come up reluctantly only after the last page.

New readers and those who are already Hoyt devotees will fall in love with the Duke of Sin.  It's a thrilling, fast paced, sexy, and deeply moving read.  But be warned: once you start this book you won't be able to put it down! Do not start reading Duke of Sin at night if you have to be up early the next morning!

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.

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