Friday, May 13, 2016

Aloha to Elizabaeth Hoyt and DUKE OF SIN (Maiden Lane Book 10) - Book Review


Reminder: I have a special giveaway for Military Appreciation Month at this link.


Devastatingly 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 . . .

Covent Gardens
Public Domain (link)

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall. - William Shakespeare

Val enjoys being the villain - he has blackmailed several characters throughout the series.  In one case, the blackmail was for a good reason. He coerced Lady Caire to include his bastard sister, Eve, in ladies' charitable projects while he held onto sensitive letters in her handwriting. Although Lady Caire compiled with the Duke's instructions, she asks her own bastard daughter, Bridget Crumb, to apply as a housekeeper to his home. As Bridget searches for the letters (and other items he holds over the ton), she discovers that Val was not born wicked. Instead, he is the product of a monstrous father and a neglectful mother. His destructive attitude - the antithesis of her nurturing life - intrigues her as she considers how to save her mother, the other blackmail victims, and the Duke of Montgomery himself.

Hoyt is a master storyteller.  Her writing is rich, decadent, and delicious, much like dark chocolate. Alas, Val is dark chocolate personified.  Despite his villainous actions in previous books, Hoyt writes Val in a way that I applaud his bravado. He imbibes in retorts while gorging his ego. Val challenges Georgian society for their blatant hypocrisy. He is fascinated by Mrs. Crumb.  Val wonders why she hides her hair under a mobcap. He questions who gives her the authority to lecture him - a Duke! - about morality. Val even asks what is her Christian name. When she refuses to answer him, he calls her Seraphine,

"This is who I am, Seraphine. Naked, with blade and blood. I am vengeance. I am hate. I am sin personified. Never mistake me for the hero of this tale, for I am not and shall never be. I am the villain."

DUKE OF SIN is grittier than I prefer but Hoyt tackles the wicked indulgences within Georgian society. That is the beauty of Hoyt's writing - she takes readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions to celebrate love and grieve loss, all part of the circle of life. The plot itself is predictable. Yet Hoyt includes her trademark fairy tale to introduce each chapter, adding an extra dimension to the "fiction that points to truth". Kudos to Hoyt for the scene with Val, a child, and a kitten - more dark chocolate, this time with a creamy center!

The question remains - did Bridget's love inspire Val to redeem himself?  You'll have to read DUKE OF SIN to make your own judgement.

DUKE OF SIN can be read as a stand alone novel.  It is closely connected to SWEETEST SCOUNDREL, Book 9, with his sister Eve as the heroine. I have only read Book 9 and 10, yet I was able to understand the themes running throughout the Maiden Lane series.

I received an ARC from Forever Romance for an honest review.

DUKE OF SIN is available on May 31, 2016.

Can Bridget spin a happy ending?

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about lockets (one item Val stole to blackmail an heiress) - would I find one in your jewelry box? I have a heart shaped locket I bought at an antique market in
Tongeren, Belgium (link).

2. This giveaway is open to US readers.

3. Comments are open through Saturday, May 14, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 15.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Elizabeth and her books at



  1. I have a locket that holds a picture of my daughter and husband inside it.

    1. I have a locket but I have to look for it.

  2. I do have a locket with pictures from when I was a child.

  3. Oh how I adore the Maiden Lane series. Each book is so much fun and I always look forward to the next release. So yay, the 31st is getting close!

    I have a great steampunk/Alice in Wonderland locket. A tiny teacup hangs off the chain beside the clock.

  4. I don't have a locket, and I'm sad about that.

    OMG, I'm dying to read Duke of Sin....this Maiden Lane series is the bees knees.

  5. I have one that my daughter bought when she was very young at one of those Santa Corners in school. I wore it when she was young but it now resides in my jewelry box as a special treasure.

  6. I have at least three gold heart-shaped lockets: one from my husband, one from my parents, and one my dad found in a parking lot.

    I have a another which is just costume jewelry, but it has my birthstone (fake), so I hold onto it. Was from a Christmas exchange in 4th grade. The person who gave it to me has the same birthday. We still keep in touch on FB.


  7. Love the Maiden Lane series and can't wait to read Duke of Sin. I have 2 lockets, one I bought at an estate sale years ago and one from my children from a past Christmas.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  8. I have two lockets. One is very old and the gold is worn quite thin. I was told my great grandmother wore it. Very ornate and the glass comes straight out the front for the photo and is raised even after it is back into the locket. A photo of me as a child is in it. The second locket is from my hubby about 20 years ago. Silver is all he could afford but it is very dear to me. Photos of he and I are in that locket. What an interesting question! Thanks, Kim.

  9. I remember having a locket when I was a child, but I don't know what happened to it.

  10. I have a heart shaped locket my Dad had given my Mom.

  11. I love lockets with cameos on them. I do not have a locket myself.

  12. I do have a costume jewelry locket.

  13. I have a couple lockets, including a larger (between quarter and half dollar) sized costume jewelry one I bought when the kids were young. It gave them something to play with when we were out places. :-)

  14. I have one special locket it was given to me by my mom

  15. No locker

  16. I love this series and its gothic over tones. I hadn't realized there were more books out. W will have to do some catching up.

  17. Forget to mention that yes I do have several lockets.