Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane #5
Also in this series: Wicked Intentions, Wicked Intentions, Darling Beast, Dearest Rogue, Sweetest Scoundrel, Duke of Sin, Once Upon a Moonlit Night, Duke of Pleasure
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: February 26th 2013
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"Elizabeth Hoyt has outdone herself." --Jennifer Ashley, New York Times bestselling author
WHEN STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT
He lives in the shadows. As the mysterious masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles, Godric St. John's only goal is to protect the innocent of London. Until the night he confronts a fearless young lady pointing a pistol at his head-and realizes she is his wife . . .
BECOME LOVERS . . .
Lady Margaret Reading has vowed to kill the Ghost of St. Giles-the man who murdered her one true love. Returning to London, and to the man she hasn't seen since their wedding day, Margaret does not recognize the man behind the mask. Fierce, commanding, and dangerous, the notorious Ghost of St. Giles is everything she feared he would be-and so much more . . .
DESIRE IS THE ULTIMATE DANGER
When passion flares, these two intimate strangers can't keep from revealing more of themselves than they had ever planned. But when Margaret learns the truth-that the Ghost is her husband-the game is up and the players must surrender . . . to the temptation that could destroy them both.
Lady Margaret Reading has vowed to kill the Ghost of St. Giles—the man who murdered her one true love. Returning to London, and to the man she hasn’t seen since their wedding day, Margaret does not recognize the man behind the mask. Fierce, commanding, and dangerous, the notorious Ghost of St. Giles is everything she feared he would be—and so much more.
When passion flares, these two intimate strangers can’t keep from revealing more of themselves than they had ever planned. But when Margaret learns the truth—that the Ghost is her husband—the game is up and the players must surrender…to the temptation that could destroy them both.
For readers just encountering Elizabeth Hoyt this will be a delightful introduction to her wit and writing expertise, a really good historical romance full of the verve and vitality she brings to all her work. For those of us who have been enjoying her Maiden Lane series, this novel keeps the stories coming that revolve around a mysterious individual known as the Ghost of St. Giles, a do-gooder who seems able to appear and disappear at will, whose singular focus is keeping the worst evils at bay for the residents of this less-than-noble section of old London. The main characters in this novel were introduced in the previous novel, but now their story picks up after a couple of years have elapsed. That they are married is almost incidental to the story–Margaret or “Megs” as she was known in a previous novel, was bereft after the murder of her lover, a man she was set to marry and with whom she now shared a baby. Her reputation in shreds, Godric was prevailed upon to give her his name. He did so with the understanding that she would spend her life apart from him at one of his country estates. But there is a truism that states that ” . . . when one is making plans, life happens.” So it was with these two.
It is obvious that the main characters in this novel are at odds for a variety of reasons. Both were nursing deep hurts, both were living in the past to different degrees, but that is where their hearts lay. Both had closed themselves off from any future romantic involvement and both were simply “putting in their time.” Reality did intrude upon these two, and that is where the “battle is joined,” a battle that involved their dormant emotions, their sense of right and wrong, and the sense of violation done to justice. For Margaret the injustice of her lover’s death never left her. For Godric, he faced the injustice done to the residents of St. Giles in the only way he knew how: appearing and disappearing as the infamous Ghost, often engaging the authorities who had made it their mission in life to apprehend him, coming away from those encounters severely injured, but managing to preserve his real identity. That is, until his own wife came very close to unmasking him.
There is a pervasive energy in this book, born from the tension between Margaret and Godric, the deep angers both harbored over the hurts in their personal situations, that deep divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” as well as the life situation both found themselves in because of their “marriage in name only” that threatened to become far more. As always, Ms Hoyt brings a fine level of historical authenticity to the story, evidenced by her knowledge of life for those who survived in the underbelly of London’s less than beautiful localities. Add her insightful perceptions of the workings of human feeling and emotion, the human response to good and evil as well as the reality of dealing with loss that death inflicts, and the reader is treated to a novel that is a literary buffet for the mind and emotions. It is simply impossible to read this novel without putting one’s self into the story, empathizing with the losses both Margaret and Godric experience, wanting Godric to succeed even though he is placing himself in danger at escalating degrees.
It is also obvious that this novel is beautifully written, the flow of the story is measured and teased out sothat the reader is led from crisis to crisis, treated to a plot that may be similar to other historical romances but yet bears the stamp of original thinking. It is historically correct that there were many who worked hard to lighten the burden of those who never knew what abundant living felt like, whose experience in life was the gut wrenching reality of merely surviving and often that wasn’t enough. Yet to have someone like the Ghost appearing at mysterious times, making his escape over the rooftops of London tenement housing, rescuing young children from the horrors of the illegal workhouses, willing to take on personal hurts on their behalf had to be a curious way of giving the residents of St. Giles a sense that there really was a “higher power” who was concerned for their safety and well-being. Whether or not such a person ever existed is not the question. Rather, it is an inventive creation on the part of this author to give readers insight into the needs and injustices of people long forgotten these many generations later.
It is obvious that I like Hoyt’s writing, her way of telling a story, the unique and fascinating ways she has of bringing unlikely characters into her stories and into each other’s lives, and her knowledge of how to put a novel together that rises above many other attempting the writing task. When a reviewer reads as many books as I do, it is not difficult to separate the not-so-good authors from those who really know what they are doing. I read lots of different kinds of books but I am always delighted to return to historical romance, the genre that got me reading voraciously in the first place. And without a doubt, this is a truly fine piece of storytelling and a novel that deserves to be read and enjoyed.
I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5.
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.