A MAN OF SIN
Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.
A WOMAN OF HONOR
Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery’s household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.
A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY THEM BOTH
Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can’t resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .
He was a dastardly villain in Sweetest Scoundrel and the things he did put everyone in sixes and sevens by trying to kidnap the same woman numerous times, amongst other things. How then, can a man who everyone does not trust, some even hate, become a hero? How can a man exiled from his country come back and reassert himself into the ton? Readers, get ready because The Duke of Montgomery is back and he’s nothing like you’ve read before.
To say that I was blown away by Val is an understatement. Ms. Hoyt outdid herself with his story, and what a convoluted tale it is. This novel is definitely a standalone read but for readers of the series, Duke of Sin picks up at end of Sweetest Scoundrel when Mrs. Crumb, the ever so proper, efficient and organized housekeeper is caught with her hand in the cookie jar – so-to-speak. What she finds is something with huge ramifications and pertains to one of the subplots in this newest adventure.
I am sitting here trying to formulate how much to say without giving away any spoilers and I’m once again reminded just how rich, busy and robust this whole complicated courtship is between the duke and his housekeeper. I simply don’t know where to start.
First, Val, the Duke of Montgomery is a tortured hero. You have no idea what his childhood was like until he shared it with Mrs. Crumb, a/k/a Bridget, in small increments throughout the whole novel. Once the bulk of it was revealed, I felt ill. Ms. Hoyt’s descriptions broke my heart. The true villains were Val’s own family and once I understood the extent of his abuse, I understood why a man that made the perfect villain in previous novels makes the absolute best hero that can appeal to any woman who wants to love, cherish and heal her man. It’s going to take a special touch, a unique woman and a dramatic gesture of romantic sacrifice to create the catharsis that will heal the past and insure a future. Oh my gosh, the passion!!
Bridget has a lot of secrets. She’s a strong heroine and is totally worthy of her eventual relationship with the Duke of Montgomery, even though it will never go far. I mean, who ever heard of a DUKE marrying his housekeeper? There is a lot more to Mrs. Crumb that meets the eye and as I learned about her, I came to respect her and cheer for her blossoming relationship with Val. She’s so proper, so sure of herself and her vision of what is right and wrong is clear and concise, yet she’s flexible, thoughtful and capable of whimsy, when she allows herself. She’s a woman with great passion and when Val finally taps into it the pages practically explode into flames. Val teaches Bridget the glories between a man and a woman, to the point that Bridget wants more than Val can give – that’s the hope, the challenge and the heartbreak. My emotions were wrapped up in Val and Bridget’s romance and it was a twisty roller coaster ride of surprises.
Make no mistake, Val is a product of a twisted childhood and his actions can be violent and swift. And, for all the blood, he makes a kind of backwards sense, a logic that, if I follow it right, means he cared enough to make things quick versus the alternative. I was shocked at his casual violence but more stunned in my agreeing with his thinking. In his own way, he has developed his own sense of justice and morality. It was thoroughly unique. His willingness to act is absolutely crucial towards the end of the book and in that he epitomizes the definition of the word, hero.
There are so many layers to this novel, some of which involve secondary characters that play critical roles in the relationship between Val and Bridget. There are adorable moments, like Pip the dog, and others that made me laugh and some that left me puzzled because Val is an enigma and how he dealt with people was so unusual and abrasive.
Duke of Sin is one of those books that stay with a reader long after the last page is read. Val is a hero that is unexpected, inimitable and charming in his egotistical way. He is a man I’ll remember as being a personality that truly and believably went from villain to hero and I fell in love with him along with Bridget. He’s not a comfortable or banal character. He’s not dull or predicable. Ms. Hoyt struck gold when she introduced her readers to the Duke of Montgomery. I hope this novel receives many accolades because in my estimation, it earns every single one. I’m a very happy reader.