Thursday, November 26, 2015

Aloha to Elizabeth Hoyt and SWEETEST SCOUNDREL - Book Review



Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother's investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London's premier pleasure garden, Harte's Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can't be controlled.


Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn't have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden's larger-than-life owner, he's already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He's not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.


In spite of her lack of theatrical experience—and her fiery clashes with Asa—Eve is determined to turn Harte's Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There's no denying the smoldering fire between them—and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all.

Procession of Characters from Shakespeare's Plays by an unknown artist
Public Domain (link)

No great scoundrel is ever uninteresting. - Murray Kempton

Asa Makepeace is anything but uninteresting.  He is loud and proud of Harte's Folly - a pleasure garden, theater, and opera all in one for Georgian London to enjoy.  Asa's love of theater earned him the wrath of his father and distanced him from his siblings.  Although Harte's Folly burned down (presumably in a previous book in the series), Asa has a new sponsor (and fellow scoundrel) to help rebuild - the Duke of Montgomery.

The Duke tasks his half sister, Eve Dinwoody, to manage his financial investment in Harte's Folly. Asa is aghast to be audited ... and Eve is aghast to find Asa in bed with the opera singer.  Yet Eve takes her job seriously to please her brother, the only person who cares about the mousy bastard of his father.  She is soon drawn into the theater world, taking an interest in the dancers' welfare, participating in the rehearsals, and even rescuing a mangy dog despite her fear of dogs.  Along the way, Eve appreciates Asa's passion for the arts.  She blooms into a confident woman who realizes she wants more from life than simply relying upon her brother.   
Likewise, Asa allows Eve into his cynical heart.  She inspires him to reconnect with his family (characters in previous books) and see that he can have a life other than the theater.  

SWEETEST SCOUNDREL is my first entry into the Maiden Lane series.  Somehow, I missed the previous eight books.  Still, I was able to read SWEETEST SCOUNDREL as a stand alone book - the focus is on Asa Makepeace and Eve Dinwoody.  Hoyt creates two unique characters who give readers a different perspective of the Georgian Era; its not all about the London Ton.  Asa reminds of me of Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeake in Love - his quest for theatrical perfection intersects with his growing love for Eve.  Does he have enough passion for both? Is Eve willing to share Asa with the theater world?

Hoyt adds extra drama and humor to the story with the colorful cast and tidbits about theater.  Hoyt sets SWEETEST SCOUNDREL apart from other historical romances with steamy scenes in which Asa teaches Eve about pleasure. Finally, Hoyt introduces each chapter with an excerpt from a fairy tale which symbolizes the upcoming action in SWEETEST SCOUNDREL.   This added bonus reminds me of the fairy tales Hoyt included in her debut, THE RAVEN PRINCE.   Since then, Hoyt has written 15 full length historicals.  It was a pleasure to read SWEETEST SCOUNDREL to see how Hoyt has matured as a writer and even have confidence to take a chance on extraordinary characters.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from Forever Romance.

The Globe Theater
Public Domain (link)

Forever Romance is giving away a copy of SWEETEST SCOUNDREL to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about the theater - do you have a favorite play, musical, or opera?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 28, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 29.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Forever Romance is also hosting a tour wide giveaway at this link.

Shakespeare's Skum (link)
at the Maryland Renaissance Festival 


  1. No, I have never been to the theatre!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  2. Nope,I don't have favorite.Happy Thanksgiving :)

  3. I just finished this book.....loved it. Please do not enter me in this drawing.

  4. I love LES MISERABLE and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF - both great on film & stage.

  5. I've never been to the theater!

  6. I do love musicals. So many to enjoy, no favorite.

  7. I loved Wicked! Thanks for the fun giveaway and hope everyone had an awesome holiday :)

  8. I like so many. Monty Python's Spamalot is so funny, I laughed so hard I cried during the opening number.

  9. I love going to the theater. Some of my favorite musicals are Cats, Camelot, and Phantom of the Opera.

  10. I've never really been keen on going to the theater. Love Elizabeth's Maiden Lane series, and have been looking forward to this one.

  11. I was fortunate to see Mary Poppins on Broadway a few years ago and loved it.

  12. I do enjoy going to the theater but don't often get the chance. I'd love to see something on Broadway.

  13. We saw a one woman show at the theater a few months back. Called "The Pianist of Willesdan Lane." It's a true story and was increbibly moving.

  14. The only theater I ever see is the Nutcracker each Christmas.

  15. I've seen Phantom of the Opera in three different counties and 5 times in the US.