The sixth book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series, “Duke of Midnight” is a fun read. I’ve been an avid fan of Ms. Hoyt’s since 2013, and have read the first five books prior to this one three years ago. I restarted the series all over again recently, when I realized that there were books in it I have not read yet. (Of course, at the time when I stopped reading the series, “Duke of Midnight” was not out in the market yet.) Hoyt writes in an easy-to-read style, one that makes reading fun after a stressful day at work. Her style also makes it hard to put the book down, even if it’s already 1:00 in the morning and your alarm is set to ring you awake in a mere 4 hours. Nonetheless, it’s a small sacrifice to make.
Hoyt’s books always seem to have two stories in one. At the beginning of every chapter, at least, in this Maiden Lane series, Hoyt shares a “children’s story” or a “legendary tale” with us, before proceeding to the actual story of the book. In effect, you get two stories in one. The “children’s story” is an allegory to the one told in the book’s body, which is a real treat for me, because short allegorical stories are what I grew up listening to. Hoyt shows her prowess at balancing these two-stories-in-one concept she’s got going on. I, for one, can’t get enough of them.
As to the “realism” of the stories in the Maiden Lane series, I’m no expert in English history, and, frankly, I have no intent in being one. That’ll just ruin the whole romanticism for me. If there really were no dukes, orphanage managers, and aristocratic men who masqueraded as vigilantes in London, circa early to mid 1700s, frankly, I don’t want to know about it. Truth is, it’s just fun to ride along with Hoyt’s imaginative and romantic world, amidst real historical landmarks such as Bedlam and Hyde Park.
The hero and heroine in “Duke of Midnight,” Maximus and Artemis, are star-crossed lovers who did not even like each other in the beginning (as evidenced by their previewed interaction in the fifth book of the “Maiden Lane” series, “Lord of Darkness).” Artemis was the poor-relation of a powerful Earl and his spoiled daughter, Penelope. Maximus was the Duke of Wakefield. Obviously, dukes do not typically romance gently-bred ladies who were poor and were employed as a lady’s companion. As we all want a happy-ever-after, of course, Artemis ultimately gets her man, and Duke Maximus slays all of his lover’s problems (including breaking her brother out of Bedlam). I’ve summarized the whole story quite tersely, but, trust me, the read was 10,000 times better than my gist. The ride through Maximus and Artemis’ ups-and-downs was a thrill. You can’t help but fall in love with the two of them, and you also can’t help wanting your review of their book to be a slight echo of Hoyt’s amazing story.
I said in the beginning of this review that “Duke of Midnight” is a fun read. Let me rephrase. The sixth book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series, “Duke of Midnight” is a MUST-read.