Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King's dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she's targeted by kidnappers.
Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they're confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier's hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.
Comment: This is the 8th installment in the Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt and, as usual, when it comes to the books in this series, I was quite eager to go back to the world of Maiden Lane and the characters in it.
In this book we have the story of Lady Phoebe Batten, the younger sister of the heroine from book #2 and the hero from book #6.
Lady Phoebe has lived a very secluded life because, unfortunately, she is blind, an affliction that wasn't as bad a few years ago but that now is complete. In order to help her, her older brother, the duke, has found her a sort of guardian in the person of captain James Trevillian.
Those familiar with the plot of book#6 will know why this happening but it was still a surprise to see how these two people had some bickering over a situation out of their control. The truth is that with time, Phoebe has come to rely on captain Trevillian and he has come to be very protective of her. Now that Phoebe seems to be in danger of being used as a tool to control her brother, captain Trevillian must do what he can to hide and help her be out of harms' way...
As most authors do, despite this title being part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone for it has a well done structure. However, as often is said around, the experience of savoring it is much better appreciated if one reads all stories in order. There are several references and situations which gain impact if the reader has read the other installments previously.
This said, I really liked the pace and the development of this story. I never had the feeling the romance between Phoebe and the captain wasn't well thought or that it was rushed.
I actually think the author did a great job balancing their personalities and the issues they faced, both physical: she is blind and he has a lame leg which stopped him from doing the job he was so good at. Although this subject isn't stressed out nor does it seem to be the goal of this novel, I think is was subtly inserted and I've come to like them even more because they were able to trust the other with their inner thoughts regarding their difficulties.
As for the romance itself, as I expected, it was sweet at first but I'm glad to see that the intimate relationship between them was well exploited. Is it that believable considering the stations in society they both occupy? Probably not, but these romances aren't that realistic and the fun part is precisely to see how an unlikely situation develops in a romantic way and, in this aspect, I think things went out quite well.
Of course there are some less than appealing things in the plot... the fact Phoebe is kidnapped two or three times felt a little ridiculous but it was there for the sake of the story.
Although I liked the protagonist's relationship a lot, there were some moments where it wasn't so easy to believe in their feelings.
I understand why some plot choices were included during the time James takes Phoebe to his childhood house but the villain used in this segment was too much of a cliché...even if allowed for interesting situations to be explained.
As always I really liked seeing previous characters, I liked we got references of several which always makes me feel glad the author does think of this as a continuous series. We also have scenes with the POV of other characters, which means they are clearly being set up for upcoming installments.
I liked how we got several serious issues being discussed here but not in a way that would be bored or out of context.
All in all, this was a good addition to the series and I'm very glad I'm reading about all these characters.