Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane #12.5
Also in this series: Wicked Intentions, Wicked Intentions, Lord of Darkness, Darling Beast, Dearest Rogue, Sweetest Scoundrel, Duke of Sin, Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane #10.5), Duke of Pleasure, Duke of Desire, Once Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane #12.6), Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10)
Publisher: Forever Yours
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
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Miss Mary Whitsun is far too intelligent to fall for the rakish charms of a handsome aristocrat. But when the gentleman in question approaches her in a bookshop, mistaking her for his fiancée, Lady Johanna Albright, the flirtatious encounter only raises more questions. Could Mary, a servant raised in a St Giles orphanage, actually be Lady Joanna's long-lost twin sister? If so, Mary has been betrothed since birth—to the rakishly handsome artistocrat himself.
Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, is far too intrigued by Mary to let her go so easily. He's drawn to her sharp mind, indomitable spirit, and the fiery way in which she dismisses him—ladies simply don't dismiss Lord Blackwell. But as Mary makes her first hesitant steps into society, she can't help but wonder if she truly has a place in Henry's world—or in his heart.
Mary Whitsun is a nursemaid to Lord and Lady Caire’s children (Wicked Intentions, Maiden Lane #1). She was raised at the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children and when old enough had moved on to employment. She was happy where she was and on the day that our book begins she just wants to spend her day off browsing the bookstore. She is rudely interrupted when a man mistakes her for a woman by the name of Lady Joanna who might possibly be playing dress-up.
Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, was engaged at birth to the oldest of the Albright girls, Cecilia. As infants Cecilia and her twin sister, Joanna, were abducted. The older twin, Cecilia was never found but Joanna had been returned to her family. Because Cecilia was believed dead, Joanna then became Henry’s betrothed. Henry wanted to do the honorable thing and keep the engagement that his father arranged. That said, he really didn’t want to marry Joanna. He had grown up with her and truly thought of her more a sister than a fiancé. When Henry sees Mary he’s positive that she is the lost Albright twin and alerts the Albright family to her existence.
Mary is thrust into a life of money and privilege and she’s not sure she likes it. She does seem to like Henry, however, and while he annoyed her upon their first meeting she soon finds that she’s falling in love with him. Can a girl who was once an orphan be able to live and thrive in a new family as well as in society?
This was a short but sweet novella. I loved Mary Whitsun. She had strength and backbone and wasn’t afraid to tell off an aristocrat when it was called for. I loved her! I also admired her for not immediately falling into society and her family and all that money, but holding back to see what happened. It showed her intelligence, that’s for sure.
Henry was a bit of a charmer but underneath it all he was a good man and was trying to do the right thing by honoring his father’s contract with his friend who was an Earl. He truly didn’t want to marry Joanna, however, so when he found the girl he believed to be Cecilia he was thrilled. He was even happier when he realized that she wasn’t a woman who quietly did what everyone wanted. She had spunk and personality and that drew her to him. When all was revealed I was happy to see he stood up for himself to his father – it was a great moment.
Hoyt knows how to pull me into a story and keep me there. I loved that this novella was about a child from the orphanage that we’d seen in several books in the Maiden Lane series as I thought it added even more interest to the series.
Rating: 4 out of 5