Monday, October 20, 2014

Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt

    Title: Darling Beast
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre:  Historical Romance/Erotic
    Series: Maiden Lane
    Format: Paperback; 352 pages
    Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 14, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 1455586307
    ISBN-13: 978-1455586301
    Author's Website:
    Notes: I received and eARC loan from the publisher.

    He's a wanted man with many secrets trying to clear his name.

She's the toast of London's theater district with secrets of her own which could ruin her.

    Thrown together by fate, will they prove to be each other's down fall or each others saving grace?


    This is the seventh book of the Maiden Lane series. It can be read without picking up any of the previous books in the series. You won't feel lost or like you've missed anything, although, after reading this book, I can't guarantee you won't feel the urge to pick up its predecessors and emerse yourself in some great stories. Sorry, I just can't. *Smirk*  

    Lily Stump, who performs under the stage name Robin Goodfellow, is one of London's best comedic actresses of her time, but she's been blackballed by her former employer for taking an offer from one of his competitors, Mr. Harte had offered Lily an exorbitant amount of money, twice her current salary, to work exclusively for him. If all had gone well she would have done quite well for herself. Fate, however, had other plans when six months ago a fire broke out in the theater and spread to the surrounding pleasure garden burning the majority of the theater and garden to a crisp. With no means to make an income, she was forced to give up the elaborate rooms she, her son Indio, and his nurse maid, Maude, had shared. Mr. Harte feeling responsible for the blackballing had taken pity on them and was allowing them to stay in a portion of the theater which had the least amount of damage and was still safe to dwell in. What Mr. Harte had forgotten to do, however, was inform the other occupant of the area, Apollo Greaves, aka Viscount Kilbourne of the arrangement. This made for a humorous first meeting between the two. 

Apollo has been lying low and attempting to avoid notice after he escaped from Bedlam. Accused of murder, he's attempting to find out who did the deed so he can clear his name and get his life back. The key to his being able to do so is to keep anyone from finding out he resides on the ground of the pleasure garden. He's posing as a gardener which suits him as it's something he loves to do and is good at. Ms. Goodfellow's presence is bound to attract unwanted attention to the area and possibly cause someone who knows the Viscount to start poking around. As Apollo is the type of man who stands out like a sore thumb--over six feet tall and broad in the shoulders, he's the type people notice.

    What I loved about this story is that while the two were instantly attracted to each other, they didn't immediately fall in love. Apollo, by the way, had suffered an injury while in bedlam that had taken away his ability to speak. His inability to speak created some fun situations which allowed him to see a side of Lily he might never have been privileged enough to have seen had they been introduced in polite society. Lily doesn't hold a high opinion of the aristocracy, with good reason, and would probably have never given Apollo the time of day had she known who he was. Likewise, his patient interaction with her son shows Lily a side of Apollo she'd never would have seen because she keeps Indio hidden from the rest of the world. 

Now, I have to mention the tale which is told piece by piece at the beginning of every chapter--The Minotaur. I recommend reading the pieces all together after reading the main story instead of piece by piece as the story progresses. I found it difficult to follow and figure out the link between the two when I attempted to read it that way. When I went back and read the Minotaur in its entirety all at once, I saw the similarities between the two stories much more clearly and I adored how the two fit together. Granted, Ms. Hoyt changed the tale from it's original version, but I found I quite liked her clever twist to the tale.

    I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. This one held a wonderful combination of humor, suspense and mystery all wrapped up within a fabulously steamy love story. I loved how Apollo saw Lily for who she truly was and loved all of her, despite what the ton might have thought. I have to admit, however, she seemed to be held in high esteem by both the ladies and gentlemen in her audiences, which I'm guessing would have been unusual at the time. I also enjoyed how Lily was a bit more independent than most woman of her time which made the story that much more fun. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a SHOWER rating--a cold shower is necessary (need I say more?). Some books should come with a warning - make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order. lol Definitely a book I Highly recommend. Just be warned, Ms. Hoyt cranked up the heat in this one. :)

Order of the Maiden Lane series:

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