For a Julia Quinn novel, this is more of a three star book. But when ranked against the vast majority of historicals, it's still one of the better one...moreFor a Julia Quinn novel, this is more of a three star book. But when ranked against the vast majority of historicals, it's still one of the better ones.(less)
Until picking up Wicked Intentions, To Seduce A Sinner had been the only Elizabeth Hoyt novel that I had read. I remember being so impressed with the...moreUntil picking up Wicked Intentions, To Seduce A Sinner had been the only Elizabeth Hoyt novel that I had read. I remember being so impressed with the story, especially how real and raw it felt - suspense plot and all. The hero and heroine were so well-drawn and complex that they outshone the typical rake and spinster archetypes.
The same holds true for Temperance Dews and Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, who are so much more than the lonely widow and emotionally unavailable rogue. Lazarus could easily have been unlikable with his demanding and slightly self-absorbed personality. He has long ago given up on his ability to emotionally and physically connect with others. Upon meeting Temperance, he finds that maybe he was too hasty in his assumptions. I loved watching him exercise his curiosity and eagerness to understand and share her emotions. Temperance is likewise intrigued by this gentleman's inexplicable interest in her. She doesn't have a very high opinion of herself, due to a past mistake, and is dedicated to her self-imposed punishments. She faults herself for her very humanness, yet it's this humanity that captivates Lord Caire and leads him to discover his own.
As a couple, they are one of the best. They reached out, grabbed my heart, broke it and put it back together so that it was even better than before. These two broken individuals find themselves in dire circumstances that require them to rely on each other. Their unlikely romance is made believable by their dependency on the other to help them fix their desperate situations and, ultimately, heal themselves. All that plus the most instant, undeniable and extremely hot chemistry.
There are plenty of other interesting and well-constructed bits to the story apart from the romance. The King Lockedheart vignettes at the start of each chapter are fun to read and tie in nicely with some of the novels themes. While there's no explanation as to why the story is included, it does such a wonderful job of connecting to the tale - and echoing Lazarus's journey in particular - that it's randomness is easily forgiven.
The murder mystery at the heart of the plot is also engaging. This is mostly due to the atmospheric setting of St. Giles and the dangerous, desperate and depraved citizens that inhabit it. In fact, the depth and urgency added by St. Giles and it's gin-swilling denizens well-suits the serious nature of the romance and makes the coming together of Temperance and Lazarus that much more necessary.
I also enjoyed reading about the dynamics and background of the other members of the Makepeace clan, Temperance's family. Their issues, both personal and with each other, made for some great conflicts in Wicked Intentions and promise even more to come in future Maiden Lane novels. The subplot involving Silence, Temperance's younger sister, is an obvious set up for a future story with her as its heroine. I didn't care much for her naiveté or storyline for the first 2/3, but (once the climax came around for her) I ended up enthralled.
Enthralled - that's an apt adjective for how I feel about the novel and Hoyt. Even though I've only read two of her works so far, I think it's safe to say that she's my new favorite historical romance author.(less)
I'm not doing a full-on review of this one because you can find those all over the place. Suffice it to say, all of the hype is worth it. This is trul...moreI'm not doing a full-on review of this one because you can find those all over the place. Suffice it to say, all of the hype is worth it. This is truly one of the best YA novels that I've ever read in any genre. Katsa is an amazingly strong, yet vulnerable, heroine and her presence makes the wonderful world that Cashore created all the more captivating.(less)