Duke of Pleasure (okay, is it immature to giggle here? Yes, let’s pretend I totally didn’t do it) by Elizabeth Hoyt
*I won this through a Goodreads giveaway, which doesn’t affect this Book Princess’s review in any way although thanks Forever books!*
Besides me giggling so very immaturely at the title of this name, I absolutely loved this book. I had read a few Elizabeth Hoyt books prior, although I had never read any from her Maiden Lane series. I knew going in that she could write a good regency and it would have some cute and cheesy romance, but what I did not know is how much I would be entertained and enthralled by the plot. Yes, the plot in a romance book. Who knew?
Let’s start off with the basics: Hugh Fitzroy – Duke of Kelly and newly right hand to king – is determined to find a notorious group the Lords of Chaos who have done some of the most heinous crimes in all of London. What he doesn’t expect is an ambush from them on his very first night of the hunt and to be saved by the Ghost of St. Giles – who he realizes in a woman…or a girl named Alf, who roams the streets at night as the Ghost and in the day masquerades yet again as a boy in order to survive. When Alf and Hugh meet, they decide to team up together to take on the Lords. How long will it be before Hugh finds out Alf’s secrets…and will romance blossom when he does?
Well, not-really-spoiler-alert, but it so blossoms.
The romance was pretty great between Alf and Hugh. It happens rather organically, and while it was still kind of instalove, it wasn’t super fast. Also, I wasn’t sure how they were going to have that attraction happen due to the fact that much of their bonding is done while Alf is a boy and clearly not what Hugh wants. However, it was a nice touch to have Hugh and the Ghost meet and then tie the two together. I also liked how Hugh really respected Alf and while he did go a bit alpha male a few times, it wasn’t as alpha as most regency books are. I rooted for these two hardcore and I loved the will-they-won’t-they tension they had.
I also loved them as main characters. Each of the main characters – Iris, Alf, Hugh, all those people that worked for Hugh and had no clue what their names were and who was the darn Irishman – had personality and spunk. I really did root for them, and I can’t wait to see Iris’s story.
Also, the plot was pretty great as well. In the other series that I read by Hoyt, there really wasn’t much of a plot besides the romance and the development of the romance. So, going into this novel, I didn’t expect much either. However, there was a lot going on in this book, and I really was super invested in the Lords of Chaos…which I mean, really was a cool name. I have to give these lame baddies credit (I can’t take any baddies seriously when they have a dolphin tattoo on their wrist…it feels too much like a bad Disney villain but to each their own?). Anyway, I stayed up far past when I wanted to just so I could binge read the last half of this book to see what happened – and I loved every second of it.
Can we also just talk about the Mulan feels I had from this? Alf was kickbutt – perhaps not as much as I wanted her to be – but she still was. And I mean, Mulan and Li Shang’s romance was directly like this as well – built on respect and totally when Mulan was dressed as a boy. Perhaps this is why this book gave me such feels?
The only issue I had one real issue with this book, and that was because while it started off super strong with its opening scene, it kind of died out for the next few chapters before it ever got back to being super interesting. I wish it had moved a little faster in the beginning, because I really was dragging on reading this for a good portion of the beginning.
Other than that, this is great regency romance. I definitely recommend Hoyt if you ever want to venture into this section, because there is no question of her great writing abilities. It was a cute romance, interesting plot, and gave me some much needed Mulan feels. 4.5 crowns rounded up to a 5 crowns, and even though she’s not technically a 4.5 star review, Mulan is telling me she must be the rating for this one…she actually didn’t so no need to call the mental hospital on me…or Disney.
Check it out here:
What do you think? Have you read this or any of Hoyt’s work? Do you stay far away from the regency romances or love them? And are you far more mature than me and totally didn’t giggle at this name…or did you totally?