Dabney's Reviews > Thief of Shadows

Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt
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Jun 29, 2012

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Read in June, 2012

Thief of Shadows is the fourth book in Ms. Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series. Three of the books, including this one, feature siblings who run the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children in the London slum of St. Giles. The hero of this book, Winter Makepeace, is by day a grave, severe man soberly devoted to running the Home. At night, however, Winter dons a harlequin’s costume and patrols the roads and roofs of the slums, saving innocents from all matter of evil. One night, after freeing the pirate Mickey (hero of Scandalous Desires), Winter is fighting an angry mob for his life when he is suddenly rescued by Lady Isabella Beckinhall. Thief of Shadows is the tale of their decidedly implausible love.

Isabella is well-acquainted with Winter Makepeace but has no idea, even after she takes off every inch of his clothes (except for a thin black scarf covering the top half of his head) that he's the Ghost of St. Giles. Winter is the dull, rather infuriating man who runs the Home of which she is a major Patroness. (She undresses him, after rescuing him and taking him back to her home, in order to tend to a bad wound he has on his leg.) Winter asks her not to unmask him and, after she’s ogled his hard, ridged muscled body and his “cock thick and long, even at rest, his bollocks heavy,” flirted with him, and had him reject her advances, she sews up his leg and lets him escape.

Three days later, as Winter attends to the children at the Home, Isabella appears with a proposition for Mr. Makepeace. Isabella and several other wealthy women of the ton have essentially taken on financial responsibility for the Home. Their coterie, the Lady’s Syndicate, has done great good for the home —their benevolence enabled the orphanage to move into a much larger, better built building — and the women plan to continue their improvements. In order to do so, however, they plan to raise money from others of their class. And there are those in the Syndicate — chiefly the very wealthy and very shallow Lady Penelope Chadwicke, the daughter of the Earl of Brightmore — who do not feel that Winter is up to the task of mingling with his betters. Lady Penelope and her supporters believe the Home would be better served by a far more refined manager. Not all in the Syndicate agree with Penelope however, and a compromise is worked out. Rather than fire Mr. Makepeace, one of the Syndicate will give Winter social etiquette lessons. Given that Isabella is both a widow and known far and wide for her “full understanding of polite society and its intricacies,” she is chosen to be Winter’s social tutor.

Winter declines her offer, rudely and emphatically, and walks out on Isabella. It is not until several days later, when she comes to tell him Penelope is actively interviewing others for his job, he agrees to put himself under her tutelage. The two begin to socialize together, but their outings keep being interrupted by Winter’s need to rush out and be the Ghost of St. Giles. Someone is snatching little girls off the streets and saving them is even more important to Winter than saving his place at the Home.

This is a partial review. Please go to All About Romance for the full review.

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