Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Wicked Intentions" - Book 1 of the Maiden Lane series

Disclaimer: The version reviewed was a personal purchase.

Time and Setting: London, 1737


The hero, Lazarus Huntington's (Lord Caire) description immediately brought to mind a mental picture of Lucius Malfoy as depicted by Jason Isaacs in the Harry Potter films.  I thought the actor looked intriguing and very sexy and (to use the author's own words when referring to the hero a couple of times, "exotic").  And of course, Jason Isaacs in his natural form is very handsome to begin with.  I just couldn't help picturing Lazarus with those features, even down to the cape and the cane. *sigh*  Anyway, he's an Alpha hero, sometimes an outright jerk, and full of hidden depths.  I fell in love with him the second I started reading about him.

The heroine, Temperance Dews, is a woman with even more hidden depths.  She has been punishing herself for years (not going to spoil so don't worry).  However, even when the hero refers to her as his "martyr", I didn't really think of her as such.  She comes across as strong and brave, at least to me.  I liked her a lot, and felt for her, and I even related a bit to her.  I think she provided a good balance for Lazarus.

There is a secondary cast of characters as well, which of course include the heroine of the next book in this series, Lady Hero, and likely the hero as well, though I am just guessing at this point, as there is a rather mysterious character whose identity was not revealed (I have two "candidates" for that role though).


You can find the blurb here.  I find it's quite accurate, so you can rely on it to have an idea of what the story is about.

Though I don't want to gush, fact is that this book turned out to be a fantastic read.  I consider Elizabeth Hoyt one of my favorite authors, but a couple of her stories didn't hit the mark with me, which is pretty much why I usually try not to over-hype myself when I get my hands on one of her books.  However, this one is now among my top 3 favorite stories penned by her, and I would dare say, among my top 10 favorite historical romances read in 2010.

The first thing that hit the mark with me, were the main characters. And since to me it is all about the characters, this book was a winner from the very beginning. If the author manages to "hook" me with her characters from the very beginning, chances are that I will consider the book a good read.

This historical romance is one of the most sensual books I have ever read.  Take it from someone who discovered romance when she started reading erotic romance.  The sensuality and eroticism is so palpable that I was squirming on my chair.  Now mind you, the book is not much more explicit than other mainstream sensual historical romances out there, but the manner in which the author chose to build the sensual tension was nothing short of masterful.  It literally arouses the senses, and the book isn't an erotic romance at all.

I do have to mention that some things are off-the-wall unbelievable, and there definitely is historical "license" involved, particularly with the use of certain words.  However, none of this took from my enjoyment of the story.  I admit that I tend to be very forgiving because to me, a historical romance is something I tend to read as if I were reading a fairy tale.  I am too aware that what I am reading is fiction and frankly, I like things that way, so I am not a stickler for linguistic accuracy or historical detail.

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