I’m drawn by spoilers. Having read the synopses for all the Maiden Lane books, I knew that the Ghost of St. Giles plots were coming up, and I was stoked. I loved his quick appearances in the early books, especially when I found out who the Ghost was. So if you haven’t spoiled yourself already and don’t want to know, then you may want to step way from this review now.
A man who maintains the utmost propriety during the day becomes a defender of the innocent at night, but when he falls for a beautiful lady above his station, he finds himself struggling with the rigid lifestyle he’s promised himself to maintain. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
The Good Stuff
Can we talk about how much I adore the Ghost of St. Giles? First of all, I love the whole “secret life” thing, where the hero has to keep a secret but you know the heroine is going to find out. And it’s so fun when she does, because then she plays coy, and in this case, she kind of messes with his head in a very steamy moment (which I’ll bring up later).
In this case, the double life is highly pronounced. By day, Winter is a good man, running an orphanage and trying to do right by those on the dangerous streets of St. Giles. He’s also very somber. But when he’s the Ghost, he’s flirty and brave and delightful. When Isabel figures it out, it’s a seriously fun ride of ” Does she know?” and “Does he know that I know?” And somehow, that dynamic brings about those feels that I love.
There is also a character swap in the traditional roles that heroes and heroines usually take in historical romance. Many of the traits prominent in heroines make up Winter’s character, while Isabel definitely has more of a male view on sex and romance.
This book also introduces us to some upcoming characters, like Artemis Greaves, her cousin Penelope (blech), and…let me give a girly sigh here…Captain James Trevillion…who’s actually kind of a pain in the ass when it comes to the Ghost, as he decides to try to hunt him down with his dragoons. Still love him.
The Romance Factor
Two words that work for both the romance and steam levels in this book: virgin hero. The fact that Winter is a man of morals and won’t sleep with a woman he doesn’t care for just makes it that more awesome when starts his relationship with Isabel. There’s also the moment when he kisses her as the Ghost and the fear she feels for him when he’s injured. And that moment when he realizes he can’t go back to his celibate lifestyle because love. Seriously, just mop me up off the floor already. 5/5
The Steam Factor
You know those scenes that are a perfect blend of romance and eroticism? They don’t come along often, but when they do, they’re worth nothing. Isabel and Winter’s first sexual encounter is one for the books in my opinion. She knows he’s the Ghost, he doesn’t know she knows, and they’re stuck in a hiding space together. Close proximity sexy things happen, but beyond that, both characters have this huge show of emotion, and the whole thing is just awesome. 6/5
This book sets things up for the rest of the Ghost story arc. I’m so glad there are more Ghost books because the character is a blast, but this one set the bar high.