Fani *loves angst*'s Reviews > Thief of Shadows

Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt
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Winter Makepeace is a very proper, very boring, very uncolorful headmister of an orphanage built by his father. Lady Isobel is a rich and respected widow with a prominent social life and interested a lot in fashion and gowns. These two would make for a very unlikely -and very uninteresting- couple if not for these facts:

-Winter is also the Ghost of St. Giles, running around at night, trying to save the children of St Giles and punish the guilty
-Behind his dour and cold facade, Winter is a passionate young man, who just happens to believe that taming those passions is what he must do in order to fit better in his Ghost personna. But it only takes a very determined lady, to set those passions on fire
-Isobel is kind-hearted and willing to do anything to help the children in the orphanage she's sponsoring, even if it means working close with a very drab and severe headmister like Winter
-Lady Isobel is not the frivolous lady she seems: she's also intelligent, crafty, strong, willful and courageous. It takes her little time in Winter's and the Ghost's company to realize they're one and the same. Since's she's already been fascinated by both, she sets her mind on seducting Winter and proceeds to do just that

There's also a mystery subplot about little children mysteriously disappearing from the streets of St Giles which the Ghost tries to solve, but to be honest it's not the book's main focus: Winter and Isobel are. Not only as a couple, but as persons who evolve and mature and get to know themselves better during this book's course. None of them is perfect and they both hide their own inner demons. And since perfect people are not my cup-of-tea, I ended up really liking both of them. I also liked how well those two fit together: they compliment each other completely, Isobel with her lighter, happier disposition and inner strength, and Winter with his intensity, passion and loyalty. Their sex scenes are HOT but still tender, and even though the language can be crude sometimes, it fits perfectly with their characters.

Objectively speaking, Thief of Shadows is one of the more -if not the most- solid additions to the series. The pace is fast, the characters lovable and still imperfect enough to connect with, the romance hot and passionate, the mystery never oveshadowing the more important aspects of the story. And yet, I can't say why, but I didn't come to love it. In my opinion, there's in many scenes a forced drama, a feeling that the writer is asking the reader to feel sorry for the heroes, even if the circumstances are not dire enough to justify such heartache. Thus we have our heroes often thinking or speaking aloud of how unworthy or selfish they are, how doomed their romance is, how lonely they are, in order to make the reader pity them. Being the stubborn and contrary person that I am, I don't react well when I feel pushed to act or think one way; it usually has the opposite results. Besides, having a deep and abiding love for dark and angsty romances and having read more of that kind than anything else, I believe I'm in a position to discern when the heartache comes naturally from the story or feels forced and methodic by the writer. So, knowing what Hoyt is capable of (she has written 2 or 3 of my fave books ever), this felt a bit like a cheap trick to me.

Still, this is a great book, a book that most readers will fall in love with and even re-read in the future. The ending itself was one of the best and more memorable ones I've read in a long time! Personally though, I can't wait enough for the next book in the series, with a hero I've long waited for (since book 1) and one of my favorite premises in romancelandia (=marriage of convenience).

Update: I'm currently reading and immensely enjoying the previous book, Scandalous Desires, and I think I know now what made Thief of Shadows a less than stellar read for me: the lack of witty dialogues and memorable rejointers. In fact, the dialogues between Isobel and Winter are mainly unremarkable, with the single exception of this phrase which I could do without:
“You made a deal with your heart, your soul, and your body, and you sealed it with the wash of your climax on my cock.”

ARC provided by NetGalley
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Reading Progress

50.0% "Dark and a tiny bit melodramatic so far but it seems to be getting so much better now that the secrets are out."
70.0% "“I had never bedded a woman before you. I made that plain. Did you think I let you seduce me lightly? No, I did not. You made a deal with me the moment you gave me entry into your body.”
LOL! A man who demands from a woman to restore his honor after making love with her:) Love this change of roles!" 6 comments
75.0% "“Why?” she demanded. “Why must you always seek martyrdom? You dress as plainly as you can, you risk your
life for those who would hunt you down and kill you if they could, and you even choose the most humble of the bedrooms in this home to sleep in.”
If I didn't love the heroine already, I would after hearing her speak to him like this!"
90.0% "No surprises in the mystery part of the story:("
100.0% "Dare I say I'd guessed the heroes of the next book as well as the new hero's nocturnal activities? That however, did nothing to diminish my enjoyment for the ending. Magnifique!" 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Baba  Update: I'm currently reading and immensely enjoying the previous book, Scandalous Desires, and I think I know now what made Thief of Shadows a less than stellar read for me: the lack of witty dialogues and memorable rejoinders.

I couldn't agree more, Fani! Wonderful review!

Fani *loves angst* Thanks Baba! We're in sync about those two books:)

Baba  Fani wrote: "Thanks Baba! We're in sync about those two books:)"

LOL Absolutely. :)

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