Valentine Napier, Duke of Montgomery, is evil incarnate. He can’t help it. He was taught to be one. Despite his easy-going handsome looks (the model on the book cover is probably as close as you can get to a real-life Val), he’s definitely made his life way more exciting and complicated than it should be. Ms. Hoyt first introduced us to Val a few books back. His mysterious personality, i.e., the incessant drive to get one up on his fellow aristocrats, draws audiences like me in. He was also the villain in “Dearest Rogue,” the eighth Maiden Lane book. On and on, since his first appearance, I think it was in “Duke of Midnight,” he is characterized as an epitome of the dichotomy of good and evil. I was kept on tenterhooks since reading about him, trying to predict how Ms. Hoyt was going to turn the devil around.
She certainly did not disappoint. I’m really glad Mrs. Bridget Crumb got her HEA. She deserved it. Society be damned. Housekeepers in post-Waterloo aristocratic England are goddesses in my book. They, literally, took care of all types of shit. Val and Bridget, a.k.a. his Seraphine, are an odd couple, indeed. One created all kinds of shit, and the other cleaned it all up. Their journey to love is most definitely sigh worthy.
What I also especially like about Ms. Hoyt’s prose is she teaches me new words I’ve never heard of before. Through Val’s dialogue, which can be both crude and poetic (at different times, of course), Ms. Hoyt throws the dictionary up in my face at several points in the book. Likewise, Ms. Hoyt’s tenth Maiden Lane book, is a bit different from the previous ones. Here, I was just along for the ride. Good and evil, in the “Duke of Sin,” were meshed up so well in that thin gray line our humanity forces us to acknowledge. And, which Ms. Hoyt painted so perfectly for us, right here.
I find myself re-reading all the books of Maiden Lane (well, except for Silence and Mick’s book) time and again, trying to re-live a world that is the complete opposite of mine. I got lost somewhere in St. Giles and along Maiden Lane since Temperance first found love with Lord Caire. However, since Val and Bridget are located far and away from St. Giles, I think Ms. Hoyt has taken us on a journey farther than she even thought was possible. For that, I’ll keep buying into these happy-ever-afters in the spectacular era of the House of Hanover.
Oh, and by the way, joking about foreign teenage boys being one’s catamite, is so not cool, Duke.