Book Review: Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt

The year is almost over and I’m gearing up for 2016. I haven’t made any resolutions, but I have set some goals. On the first of the year, I’ll be signing up for the Goodreads challenge, which is one of the highlights of the New Year for me. I blew my goal out of the water this year, so I’ll have to up my reading goal for next year. Because, you know…books.

As for the review, I’d been waiting for this book to come out. It’s #10 in the Maiden Lane series, and even though it came out in November, I had to wait until after Christmas to buy it, just on the off chance that my husband bought it for me. Of course, I did make sure I pointed it out to him with a strong note of encouragement that it would be a great gift. And what do you know? It was under the tree on Christmas morning, and I finished it the following day.

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One-Sentence Synopsis
While trying to manage the finances of her brother’s investment, a woman finds herself fascinated and aroused by the manager of the local pleasure gardens. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

I Remember You
Because it’s a Maiden Lane book, both of the main characters in this one were familiar to me. Eve Dinwoody is the sister of Valentine, the Duke of Montgomery, who helped him with his revenge plot against the Duke of Wakefield in the previous book. Asa Makepeace is the black sheep brother of his family (Winter, Temperance, Silence) who chose the theater over his family business, even though it meant his disinheritance.

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First Impressions
Eve is plain and prudish, though her prudishness stems from being attacked as a young girl. She doesn’t like to be touched, so she’s a little weirded out by the fact that she kind of wants Asa to touch her, even though he’s not very pleasant when they first meet. Asa finds Eve to be somewhat of a harpy when she does barge in on him while he’s in bed with one of his actresses and demands that he stop spending the money her brother gave him. But as they work together, he starts to fall for her, despite the fact that she seems so unwilling to have any physical contact.

Bad Memories
Rape and sexual assault as a plot device can be done poorly, but I enjoy the story and the development when it’s done well, such as it was in this book. The assault and the nightmares she has gives the story a bit of a damsel in distress vibe, which I love, but it’s not so strong that Eve comes across as weak. And even though Asa is a little bit of a douche at the beginning, he redeems himself when he gets protective of Eve, which he has to do considering someone is sabatoging his theater.

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World Building
Though I think there’s a chance we’ll eventually come full circle back to St. Giles, I like how the setting has shifted smoothly from St. Giles to the Pleasure Gardens for the intrigue and mystery. The characters are still great, and all the connections between them are wildly fun. We get cameos from past characters, but the world keeps moving forward and I love getting glimpses of the new characters.

The Romance Factor
The romance doesn’t come on too quick, but the emotion is strong, especially when Asa is confronted with Eve being in danger. The main theme in their relationship is that Asa has said he’ll never put anything before his theater, and Eve wants someone who will put her first in their life. Though it’s a given there’s going to be a HEA, things still got pretty tense there for a bit. 5/5

The Steam Factor
Eve’s assault when she was young has resigned her to the fact that she’ll never be able to have children because she can’t let a man touch her. At the same time, she’s very curious about men…especially Asa…and doesn’t play shy when she gets the chance to check out the goods. I’m a fan of sex scenes where the people involved don’t actually touch. I mean, eventually they do, and those scenes are hot too. But you know…foreplay. 5/5

Final Thoughts
I only have to wait five more months for the next one in the series, which…and I am way excited for it…is Valentine’s story. As a character who borders on evil, I’m excited to get into his head and find out his motives for all the blackmail. His heroine is introduced in this book, and their story is already shaping up to be interesting. Is it too much to ask that this series never end?

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