|Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt|
Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane #5) by Elizabeth Hoyt is the fifth installment in one of my favorite historical romance series. All the previous installments have been winners for me so far, let's see how this book fares.
We last left Godric St. John when he is blackmailed into marrying Griffin's sister Margaret who's left pregnant and unmarried when her lover is killed in St. Giles. Fast forward and Hoyt begins Lord of Darkness with a scene where Godric meets Margaret in a St. Giles alley while she is attacked by footpads, and while trying to save her realizes that she is bent on shooting him! Godric's immense admiration for Margaret's passion, courage and beauty dominates this short action scene and sets a precedence for the rest of this romance. Godric was previously married to the sickly Clara whom he loved with all his heart and whose ten year illness and death left him with a withered soul. Now, after two years of absence, Margaret, or Megs as she prefers to be called, comes barging into his life without warning and wants something from him that he may not be able to grant -- a consummated marriage.
Megs doesn't want Godric's love, but he is her husband. What is so unreasonable about wanting to consummate their marriage? She came to London with two goals in mind: to avenge the death of the man she loved, and to fill those little empty spaces in her life by getting pregnant. She needs a baby! As her husband, Godric is the only who can do this for her. However, as she gets to know Godric, Megs realizes there is a difference between planning to bed an unknown two-dimensional man and having a vital, passionate man in her bed; one who she quickly learns to admire for his physical assets, courage, loyalty and kindness. While this emotional turmoil takes place, Godric continues to don the Ghost of St. Giles' mask, placing his life on the line more than once, saving more than a few innocents, and killing a few villains in the process.
My favorite aspects of this novel are the likable characters and how well the development of the relationship is executed. I really like this couple together. Godric thinks of himself as the "Lord of Darkness" with his less than optimistic outlook, while it quickly becomes obvious to the reader that on the inside he is a romantic, beautiful, giving man. Megs on the other hand is a beautiful woman with an outwardly happy soul that brings light, hope and the type of mischievousness that Godric needs in his life. Megs, however, carries an emptiness inside placed there by a loss that manifests itself in two ways: a need to be fulfilled as a mother, and a need to avenge an innocent man's death.
As a couple Godric and Megs are honest with each other even when at times that honesty is downright hurtful, but I love that there's no long-term resentment on either side. They understand, get to know and work to make each other happy even as they believe the relationship is temporary. Megs' obsession to avenge Richard's death and her fear of letting him go are the biggest conflicts in this romance, more so than Godric's attempts to rationalize his feelings for Megs vs. his feelings for Clara. I actually found that a well done, interesting twist. Why? Well, Godric's was a long term relationship that ended in slow increments, if painfully. Megs' on the other hand was a short-term relationship that ended in a sudden burst of violence that left her without any real sense of closure. Additionally, in the process, she lost more than a lover.
There are some gorgeous sexual scenes in this story. Yes, they are sexy and passionate but what I find so beautiful about them is the fact that Hoyt imbues them with emotional intimacy, and each scene becomes highly relevant and furthers the relationship. Many of Megs' doubts are expressed during some of these scenes, and Godric's and Megs' moments of clarity also happen in the bedroom, both in and out of bed.
The weakness in this historical romance came from Godric's involvement as the second Ghost of St. Giles. Mind you, there are good reasons for Godric's role as the Ghost. A role primarily used as part of his character development and to drive Godric's growing relationship with Megs. For me, however, Godric's involvement in the continued investigation of an already explored situation addressed in the last book felt like a rehashed thread; particularly since I already knew who the villain was going to be! There was no suspense and frankly some personal disappointment in that aspect of the story. Additionally, at this point aristocratic characters abound and the series has been taken away from the heart of St. Giles, as a result some of the dark, gothic(ky) atmosphere that I love so much is sorely missing from this installment.
Overall, Lord of Darkness is a solid addition to the Maiden Lane series. I found that despite minor plot weaknesses and loss of atmosphere, there are excellent elements to be found in the romance. I am now looking forward to reading the Duke of Wakefield's adventures and his journey to happiness in Duke of Midnight. After that, I hope Hoyt returns to Maiden Lane and maybe to the other seldom mentioned, but rather intriguing, Makepeace brother. Yes?
Category: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane
Publisher/Release Date: Grand Central Publishing/February 26, 2013
Visit Elizabeth Hoyt here.
Wicked Intentions, #1
Notorious Pleasures, #2
Scandalous Desires, #3
Thief of Shadows, #4
Lord of Darkness, #5