This is my first book for Loretta Chase. I have known about her since I've seen one of her books taking the top spot in the Top100 of the AAR. But instead of diving into the middle of the series for her, I'll try to traverse her backlist sequentially. So, I'm starting with The Lion's Daughter, her first book in her Scoundrel's series.
The Lion's Daughter
The story started out really slow. But when the hero, Edenmont, and the heroine, Esme, finally met it picked up. Edenmont's a lord who had no money to his name and is living off others. You could say that he whore's himself to live. Esme is the daughter of the Red Lion, a disgraced Englishman who moved to Albania and helped Albania's leader in maintaining peace. Esme's mind is filled with revenge when she learned that the Red Lion was killed by the man who wants to make her his bride. The story is not your typical romance novel, hero meets heroine, misunderstanding, fall in love, live happily ever after. Though of course, this being a romance novel, there is still that element of love but aside from that a big chunk of the story revolves around the intrigues and deception in Albanian politics.
A good thing about the book were the characters' development, more particularly Edenmont's. A typical romance novel will give you a perfect hero with a perfect heroine. But like I said, Edenmont's not your typical lord since he's penniless. When they arrive back in England, we learned that he was the one responsible for his situation, gambling and using up all the family's money. But he changed that by working hard and setting the family estate to rights in order to be able to make himself worthy of being a husband to Esme.
While I was reading this, I was expecting a really light read that I can just set my mind off and breeze through the story. Was I wrong! This was my first Loretta Chase book. For me, there are times when I found her too wordy. I guess I wasn't really prepared for that. But that won't deter me from reading her other books because I really did like how her novel incorporates other themes and not just mainly focused on the relationship between hero and heroine. But next time that I'm picking her up, I'll have to psych and get myself in the mood for her first.
I'm really really glad that I discovered Elizabeth Hoyt. envyious recommended her Raven Prince to me last year. And from there, I devoured her backlist. So I was pretty much excited when I finally got my hands on the first book of her new series, Maiden Lane. And she didn't disappoint.
Temperance is a widower taking care of children in a foster home in St. Giles with her brother. She meets Lord Caire one night and he makes her a deal to help find a patron for the home in exchange for helping him in find who killed his mistress. One thing common about Hoyt's characters, they're not your common alpha, strong, rugged and perfect hero and dainty and beautiful damsel-in-distress heroine. Caire is known for his bondage kink. He also has this less than stellar relationship with his mother. Aside from those he's suffering from a psychosomatic illness of feeling pain when touched. Yes, it's just psychological. I asked. Temperance harbors a dark secret. When her husband died, she was on her way home from her lover's bed. And because of this, she's suppresses her lascivious nature. Seeing the hero and heroine's interaction and relationship progress was kinda interesting. But more than that what got me really intrigued was the Ghost of St. Giles, Lady Hero and Charming Mickey.
I would best describe Lady Hero as the epitome of a lady. She's a duke's daughter who, aside from being a beauty, is kind as well. But even being that perfect, it seems like she scares her potential beaux away. Charming Mickey is a renowned thief who can charm the pants out of you. He was the one who stole Temperance's sister, Silence' husband's cargo. In exchange for returning it, he made Silence stay the night at his place. Silence claimed that nothing happened between her and Mickey but her husband didn't believe her. And so, the words of Mickey rang through Silence' mind. That if her husband loves her, no matter what happens, he will believe her. Now, the Ghost of St. Giles is like London's own Zorro, a masked hero who traverses St. Giles at the middle of the night fighting those who prey upon the weak. Throughout this book, we never get a big reveal who he was. So I'm thinking he'll be a staple throughout the series. I do have a couple of speculations that are more than likely wrong. Initially, I thought that Lady Hero could be the Ghost. He doesn't speak at all so I thought that it might be because he's hiding the fact that he could be a girl all along. Imagine that! A swashbuckling heroine that could hold her own against numerous thugs! I really want to see something like that some time in my romance novels. Another possibility is it could be Mickey. Being a thief could just be a front to something else, you wouldn't know.
And with that, I am really looking forward to more from this series. Hoping it's February already and Notorious Pleasures is out on the shelves. Lady Hero would be our next heroine and that made me really happy. But what made me even more excited for it was the awesomeness of the preview in the back of Wicked Intentions. The banters and initial meeting between Hero and Griffin looks interesting and made me want to read more on them.
But for now, as for this book, it's a good read. The characters are diverse and interesting. Though the story maybe a bit slow at the start, the pace actually picks up after a few chapters. The main plot might be a bit short. And I found that there are some things that I would have like to be explained or expounded on. But then, I think it's possible that some of these points that I want explanation on might be found in the succeeding books.
Remember when Empire released a Top 100 Movies of all time and I sorta did a list fave/watch/interested list? I never realized Empire also did a The Worst 50 Movies Ever. But since they did this in a poll, it's mostly user contributed.
If you perused the list, you would know that this one was pretty much outdated. I'll bet that if ever Empire did a poll again, there would be new ones in there. I'm looking at you, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Vampires Suck!