Book Review: The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

I recently got to spend a day reading. I didn’t read the whole time, of course, but I did manage to finish three books, and it’s been a long time since I’ve done that. This was one of the three. I love Hoyt’s books, and since I’m currently waiting for the next Maiden Lane book to come out, I feel this may be my chance to catch up on her other series.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A widow takes a position as secretary to a scarred earl, only to find that her feelings for him leave her willing to do scandalous things when she finds out he frequents a brothel in London. For a fully synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Things of Ill Repute
I sometimes think my little one sentence explanations make the books sound deviant and not as good as they really are. Don’t worry. In this case, we don’t actually see the earl, Edward, do any brothel-like things, at least not without Anna. The story is actually very sweet and sensual. Anna is plain and comes with trust issues since her late husband cheated on her and blamed her when they couldn’t have children. In fact, she’s just accepted it as fact that she’s barren.

Edward wants a family, especially children, to carry on his lineage. He’s a widower whose late wife died in childbirth. But he also has trust issues since he found out that his wife had been forced to marry him and actually found him repulsive due to poxmark scars on his body and face. When he meets Anna, he’s already been courting a woman who can deal with those scars and seems fine with marrying him, if not over the moon since it’s a marriage of convenience.

You know who isn’t turned off or repulsed by those scars? Anna. In fact, Anna is so ready to jump Edward that when she finds out he’s going to a house of ill repute in London, she takes the opportunity to go as well. Wearing a mask so he doesn’t know it’s her, she gets what she thinks she wants (in the form of some pretty steamy sexy times) only to discover that she actually wants more…like actual feelings from him. And unfortunately, she knows she can’t have it, since Edward needs children and she can’t have any.


I Do What I Want
So much conflict, but it’s so good. Anna’s secret, as well as the side plot of blackmail from one of her peers. draws the conflict out in the best way possible. Edward is not an ass, as many scarred (re: Beauty and the Beast trope) heroes are, and Anna serves as the “Why can’t women enjoy hot sex, too?” heroine, which I’m always a fan of. She does have a bit of a meek streak. She’s scared to let Edward know she was the one behind the mask, and she seems to cower a bit when bullied by the aforementioned blackmailing peer. But she also turns her nose up at what society deems proper in order to help a prostitute she finds sick on the side of the road.

Good Moms-In-Law Do Exist
Even though Anna’s late husband was a cheater and not very likable, I kind of loved Anna’s mother-in-law. Anna lives with the older woman, but instead of being that overbearing mother who thinks her son did no wrong, the older Wren knows what her son was like and now wants Anna to be happy. In fact, when she realizes there’s some chemistry between Anna and Edward, she encourages the relationship.


No Tears
It seemed like there hadn’t been a huge amount of interaction and development between the two before Anna was literally crying over the fact that he didn’t seem to want her. While I completely loved the emotion and romance behind it, I also thought it seemed a little too soon for tears.

The Romance Factor
Despite the quick shed of tears, I loved Anna’s acceptance of Edward, even though he had so many moments where he thought she was repulsed by him. I also loved Edward’s inner conflict as he tried to deal with his feelings for Anna, the fact that the masked woman in the brothel made him think of Anna which made him feel like he was cheating on Anna, and the fact that he couldn’t marry Anna because of the kid thing. Talk about a hot mess. 4/5

The Steam Factor
If anyone thinks that historicals don’t match contemporaries in eroticism, they need to read a Hoyt novel. Detailed, sensual, and paced well, the sexy times in her novels never get cold. 5/5

Final Thoughts
There’s one more book in this series I need to read. While these ones don’t rank as high as the Maiden Lane books on my faves list, I’m still enjoying them. I believe this year will be the year I make it through the whole catalog of books by this author.

Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

You might think that by the 7th book in a series, things would be winding down a bit. It felt like things were wrapping up and all the main players were getting their happily every afters. But I believe (and I hope) that this book and the one after it is setting things up for several more books. I love this series, and I’m going to be sad when it ends. Especially now, when there’s so much unfinished business.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A man who spent four years tortured in an asylum hides as a gardener helping to rebuild a well-known pleasure garden, but he doesn’t expect to form a relationship with a famous actress and her son. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
In reality, I could probably just say this was a BatB trope and nothing else would need to be said, because that alone would have been enough to make this book good. But there were so many other things I loved about this story. Apollo is mute due to a beating at Bedlam, which is probably okay for someone hiding from the law. But it does mean that Lily thinks he’s mentally deficient at first, which lends itself to some interesting conflict.


Apollo is a perfect beast: silent, not handsome, scarily huge, and yet talented and kind and tortured. It really doesn’t get much better. Lily is of course drawn to him, but considering she has her own secrets and fears, it definitely feels like they belong together.

I’m not sure why children show up so often in this trope, but at least it’s not an annoying child. Indio was cute and not constantly there.

Some of the new characters introduced are interesting. Though this isn’t his first appearance, we find out some new things about Asa Makepeace (he’s definitely not the humanitarian his brother is). We also meet Lord Montgomery, who’s probably not a good guy, as he’s manipulating people and seems to have no guilt about anything (but there’s one scene in this book that makes me speculate that he’s going to get a story with another actress in a future book).

And the background of James Trevillion becomes even more interesting, as we find that he knows Apollo from a previous interaction. Also, by this time, he’s already guarding Phoebe, so the background on that story has started.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I thought that the climax and the “danger” part of the ending was a little too easy. Sure, there was some angst, but it kind of felt like a weird hodge podge of all the bad guys falling into one scene while several good guys and men of ambiguous alignment came in behind them to save the day. I won’t say it felt forced, but it was definitely less “edge of your seat” than the endings of other books.

The Romance Factor
One of my favorite parts of the romance was that Lily realizes how much she wants to be with Apollo, and then finds out he’s actually a viscount and that it won’t work. I felt so sad for her, even knowing that titled men in romance novels will always find a way to be with the woman they love, regardless of her station. Everything between Apollo and Lily was full of feels, and the fact that Apollo took nothing for granted since he never thought he’d survive Bedlam just made him that more loveable. 5/5


The Steam Factor
The sexy times in this one were just as good as the others. I will say that one of the most sensually written scenes didn’t involve sex. You’d think that other than the voyeurism, a woman watching a man emerge from a pond wouldn’t be that titillating, right? But somehow, in this case, it’s pretty hot. 5/5

Final Thoughts
So even though I read it just a few months ago, I had to re-read Dearest Rogue again to finish the series to where it currently is. I found that the second time was just as good, possibly better because I knew all the characters this time around. The newest book comes out in November, and even though that’s right in the middle of Nanowrimo, I’ll be taking some time to devour that one too.

To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

I’m just going to keep riding this Beauty and the Beast train as long as I can. Since discovering Elizabeth Hoyt, I’ve been kind of hooked. Her historical romances are sweet, intriguing, and highly steamy, and her characters are interesting and don’t always fit the normal trope mode.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A duke’s mistress escapes with her two children, ending up at the home of a reclusive, scarred man to serve as his housekeeper. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I’m going to preface this by saying that the premise of a mistress with children didn’t actually hit my trope buttons. But, you know…it’s B&tB, so I went for it. I’m so glad I did. Alistair is a great “beast” with his scarring and his gruffness, though he comes around when it comes to the children, who are kind of annoying, but also kind of charming.

Though she acknowledges the scarring, I loved that what draws Helen to Alistair isn’t only the initial intrigue but the fact that he genuinely wants her (and turns her on, obviously). After having been kept by a man who saw her as nothing more than a possession, she’s definitely getting a taste of the other side of things.

To be fair, she wasn’t as kept as Capable and crew.

Like most of Hoyt’s work, there is a good deal of suspense and a dash of danger. Having not been a romantic suspense fan in the past, I can honestly say I love the way she weaves the two genres together. This isn’t one of her most dangerous novels, but I liked the clever resolution.

The Romance Factor
Talk about the feels…these 2 are so angsty with their standard trope dynamic: she thinks she’s not good enough for him, he thinks she can never look past his scars (when in reality they’re both hot for each other). There are alot of sweet moments, though, so I have to give this one a 5/5.

The Steam Factor
I don’t know why, but I usually just expect that historical romances are going to be tamer than contemporaries. However, Hoyt pretty much blows that assumption out of the water. Her books are extremely sexy, bordering on erotic. Also, I tend to think that the word “penis” does not make for a good sex scene. She proves me wrong on that point too. 5/5

Well then

Final Thoughts
Another great B&tB retelling and another great novel from Elizabeth Hoyt. I don’t know why I haven’t read her before, but now that I’ve “discovered” her, I have to add her to the must-read list.