Two years ago Lady Margaret "Megs" Reading lost both her lover and her unborn child—but not before being forced into a marriage of convenience with Godric St. John, an older, dour gentleman she barely knew. No longer content to spend her days at her husband's country estate, Megs leaves for London to get the two things she wants most: to find and bring to justice the man who murdered Roger, her lover, and to have a child of her own. But in order to conceive a baby, she's going to have to seduce the husband she hasn't seen since their marriage breakfast.
Comment: This is installment #5 in the Maiden Lane series by author Elizabeth Hoyt. I must say I'm enjoying a lot the series so far, as a whole. It's really fascinating to read about the group of characters featured in the stories, even when they are not the protagonists. This series already reads like spending time with "friends" and I want to savor each story for there will be an end to it in some books ahead.
In this story we focus on Margaret Reading, the sister of Griffin (protagonist book #2) who in the previous book was married to Godric St John, a widowed man still mourning his late wife but who has agreed to marry Margaret to help her out of social disgrace.
Two years have gone and they have lived in separate houses but now Margaret returns not only because she misses her family despite loving Godric's, with whom she has been living with, but mostly because she wants to be a mother. To do that she must be with her husband and she plans to seduce him despite thinking he is older than her and might be too boring to spend time with. However, Margaret discovers something about Godric and their dynamics certainly change...
Once again, I have enjoyed a story set in this world created by Elizabeth Hoyt. I think that, even dismissing some minor details that one can see are used just add up to the drama, while these stories aren't perfect all the time, they are engaging, they are interesting and they make the reader care about the characters. I always foresee being entertained and this book was no exception.
There are two main sub plots, in my POV. We have Margaret's plan and actions to see it come forth and we have Godric's hidden identity and his need to act on something after not being able to help his late wife. The two subjects meshed well enough, at least the plot moved forward with the two things mixed, and we also have some POVs from the heroine of the next installment.
I think some scenes were not as amazing but I must say what really made me like this was how the characters reacted to what happened around them.
This particular detail seemed more interesting in this book than in the previous one, for instance, because the dynamics of this couple's relationship felt more exciting to em to watch.
Godric is an interesting hero and it was clever of the author to use his former love and cherish for his late wife as a reason for conflict. I actually liked how this subject was approached and were this not an historical romance but an historical fiction, tings would have been even more dramatic. Of course Godric realizes he doesn't need to "betray" anyone just because he falls in love with Margaret but yes, perhaps just a little more effort to convince us of that could have been added but I'm happy with most of it.
Margaret's former love interest and how she dealt with it were a little less interesting to me because the fact she was in love with someone was not as obvious. Yes, we know about it, we have seen them together once or twice in the previous book but it was harder to trust those feelings, so I felt for her loss, but I took her falling in love with Godric as something easier to accept.
Certainly that their relationship is one of the higher elements to enjoy in this book. I liked their interactions, I especially liked how Margaret discovered things about Godric and was falling in love with because of that and even more, she helped him thus to process his own feelings and love her too. Some of the scenes with them together were very poignant and sweet.
As for the plot and Godric's agenda and so on, as one can imagine, it has the expected ending and Godric realizes a few things about his secret role if he also wants to be happy and be alive to enjoy his life with those who care about him. I'm curious to see how the secondary plot points develop in the future but at the same time I'm glad that those things are secondary. They matter from a structural POV so that the stories make sense in why things happen but that's not the main focus and that seems - to me - to be a good tactic.
I'm very eager for the next story, I have high hopes about the possible main couple and I can't wait to read it.
This was one might not end up being a favorite in the series but it's one more to make me want to imagine it could be possible to meet and be friends with the characters...