Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt

MIDNIGHT
Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (261 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

WHEN A MASKED MAN . . .

Twenty years ago Maximus Batten witnessed the brutal murders of his parents. Now the autocratic Duke of Wakefield, he spends his days ruling Parliament. But by night, disguised as the Ghost of St. Giles, he prowls the grim alleys of St. Giles, ever on the hunt for the murderer. One night he finds a fiery woman who meets him toe-to-toe—and won’t back down . . .

MEETS HIS MATCH . . .

Artemis Greaves toils as a lady’s companion, but hiding beneath the plain brown serge of her dress is the heart of a huntress. When the Ghost of St. Giles rescues her from footpads, she recognizes a kindred spirit-and is intrigued. She’s even more intrigued when she realizes who exactly the notorious Ghost is by day . . .

DESIRE IGNITES A DANGEROUS PASSION

Artemis makes a bold move: she demands that Maximus use his influence to free her imprisoned brother-or she will expose him as the Ghost. But blackmailing a powerful duke isn’t without risks. Now that she has the tiger by the tail, can she withstand his ire-or the temptation of his embrace?

The Duke of Midnight certainly starts off with a clever and unusual twist with me never suspecting that I was actually watching the future hero and heroine meet. It was adventurous, slightly out of the ordinary and it immediately showcased that the heroine isn’t fresh from the school room and the hero has a dark secret. The start of the novel is promising and I’m happy to say it carries forth for the rest of the book.

I liked the dynamics between Artemis and Maximus, the Duke of Wakefield. I enjoyed their banter, their slow and unusual courtship and how they eventually came to grips with their feelings for each other. She was first to admit it, he was last. Figures. Her realization that she loves the hero is a bittersweet thing and it prompts her to make some hard and emotional choices. Artemis’ decision isn’t a grand gesture but it’s heartfelt and a reader sees that clearly. Maximus on the other hand, and being a man, needs a rather dramatic and suspenseful act to get him to take that final step to let go of the past and grab for his future. The sort of droll, matter-of-fact dialogue that occurs between some secondary characters after the action had me laughing. It was just so … conversational and understated, I giggled.

I guess this is a long series in the making, the sixth book I believe. I have not read any of the previous books so I can guarantee this is a solid standalone read. I’m tickled because not only does it raise my curiosity of what came before, but there is already a hook for the next book. I may not have read the books in the past, but I sure am interested in following it into the future. Any hero named Apollo has got to be fascinating – must have something to do with adoring Apollo from the original Battlestar Galactica – they all seem to have hero complexes.

The dogs were a cute touch and I enjoyed the roles they played. Basically, animals are a good judge of character so it was telling. I liked some of the secondary characters that supported Artemis. Frankly, I didn’t expect her to have that much support so it made me feel good to see it.

When Artemis and Maximus succumb to their physical passion, it’s steamy writing but the characters’ emotions are never far away. I can see that the author used their sexy encounters to further their romance and attraction, and the fact that it’s done so well is a plus.

The villain was a scoundrel but not a lot of attention was paid to his badness. I know what he did in the past was horrible, and what he currently did in the story was equally noxious, but the descriptions or actions never were delved in deep enough to send shivers up my spine, or gasp in horror or genuinely feel like he was a real threat. He was more a pompous toad with a criminal bent. There were some distractions and misleading clues so the mystery that haunted Maximus took a while to unravel but I never felt the ‘evil’ of the villain so his finally being revealed and addressed drew from me a tepid response at best.

Oh, and Penelope annoyed me. How anyone can look upon that ditherhead and feel fondness I will never know. For me she was the equivalent of a Regency Valley Girl with less to talk about. Ugh. She made Artemis look like a cerebral giant.

On the whole, The Duke of Midnight is a crowd pleaser. It’s not overly dark but has enough suspense and drama to keep the pages turning. Maximus and Artemis have wonderful chemistry that insured I enjoyed reading their story. There were enough wonderful secondary characters to make their world a fascinating place to visit and an as yet unsolved mystery that makes me want to read more. I liked the pace of the novel, the dialogue and the plot momentum. If you have a few hours straight to just sit back and read, The Duke of Midnight is a wonderful choice to spend time with. It’s very entertaining.

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