Friday, February 22, 2019

Elizabeth Hoyt - Duke of Pleasure

Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king's secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley—and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.
Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she's the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation.
When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be—before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?

Comment: This is the 11th installment in the Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt. I've been enjoying reading the books in this series and it makes me a little sad to think it's almost over.

This is the story of Alf, the recurrent boy spy we've come to see in several books helping this or that character solving some spying business or something. Alf, however, we also have learned, is actually a young woman and she has taken into herself the task of helping those in need, taking over the role of ghost of st Giles. One night she ends up helping Hugh, the duke of Kyle, a man who wants to finally end with the lord of chaos, a group of important men who caused many problems and destroyed the lives of innocents.
In the aftermath of this episode, the duke asks Alf to help him investigate and discover who the lords of chaos might be and the proximity between them makes it clear that despite having grown up in very different ways, they do have some traits in common... but would Alf want to let go of her independence to be with a man so out of her class?

This story pretty much followed the pattern of the other ones, a couple with some things in common but not at all levels somehow find a common ground. 
A common element in most of the pairings is that people from different social classes would become a couple. I liked the romance of this idea even if, realistically speaking, that wouldn't have been very accurate for the time (18th century) or, at least, not always regarding the peers and common people.
In this book things go a little far because Alf doesn't have any family, whether them being poor or not. The duke is, just looking at his title, from a different background and although his origins aren't as strict as others in some regards, he is the son of the king. I mean... I loved the fact two very different people got together and, to be honest, the difference of classes was never a huge deal in the stories but at the same time, it was a little difficult to imagine.
Or, perhaps, the story didn't focus on the right elements for this one to be so heavy on my mind throughout the novel.

I liked Alf and Hugh together, I liked how they shared a need to protect others, to seek justice, to use their strengths and intelligence to reach the goals they needed. I liked how they were different physically but that didn't stop both of them from pursuing the villains and facing them.
I liked Alf was a sweet girl along being a fierce and independent one. I liked Hugh seemed to be a bit of a brute but he was also caring and attentive to his young sons.

I liked these two people were not used to have someone truly caring for them, even romantically, but they managed to find a worthy partner and one they could trust and share things with.
However, I kind of would like to see more of Alf's position as a woman in Hugh's life, as a female in his social circle. I don't think their attraction and emotional suitability was that stressed out as it could and sexual intimacy isn't the only (nor best) way to showcase how close to one another they can be.
I guess I wished there would have been more romance, more evidence by others that Alf and Hugh are a good match. The reader knows it but it wasn't very obvious all the time.

The plot isn't complicated and I'm actually happy the biggest situation to solve seems to have been dealt with while at the same time our protagonists got to evolve as a couple and as individuals.
As expected, some clues point out about whose couple might come next.
I missed some more emotional impact from certain issues but overall, this was just as good as one might imagine. I wanted to feel even stronger feelings by everyone around so I can't say this was one of the best of the series for me. Good but there are also some wasted opportunities (in my POV).
Grade: 7/10

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