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Book Review – Duke of Midnight

November 29, 2013

duke

On the plane home from Disneyworld I ended up sitting with a very nice lady named Barbara Vey who works for Publisher’s Weekly.  I mentioned that I worked at a bookstore and so we chatted about books for a while.  She very kindly gave me the ARC she had been
reading, which happened to be for Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt.  She isn’t an author I’ve read much, but I’m always up for trying new things, so I gave the book a read earlier this week.  It’s very fun.
The book is set in the Georgian Era in London and it’s basically about Batman.   Yeah, I’m not even kidding about that.  The entire Maiden Lane series deals with the Ghost of St. Giles, a vigilante who dresses up in actor’s motley and dispenses justice in the night.  There are, as you can guess from the fact that Duke of Midnight is the 6th book in the

Superman/Batman #16 (February, 2005)

Superman/Batman #16
(February, 2005)

series, more than one man dressing up as the Ghost.  Each book focuses on a different man who has taken on the Ghost’s disguise.  They’re all driven by something, but in this book Maximus, the duke in question, is driven by the brutal murder of his parents.  Which he witnessed.  When he was a child (eh, he was fourteen, close enough).  There is even a missing necklace that was snatched off his dying mother’s throat.  (He’s totally Batman!)  Maximus even has a faithful valet who is in on the secret.  The butler, however, is kept in the dark, just so it’s not a complete clone.

Pointing out the Batman connection is not a knock at the book.  It actually made it better for me.  Because why wouldn’t I love Batman in Georgian England?  With sexy-times?  It’s like Gotham by Gaslight if Batman and Catwoman had gotten it on.  (And about 150 years earlier, but who’s counting?)

There is, of course, a young lady involved in all of this too.  Her name is Artemis and although she is a gentlewoman by birth, circumstances have reduced her to being the companion to her wealthy cousin, Penelope.  Penelope has set her cap for the dashing Duke of Wakefield, but it is Artemis who has captured his attention.  The fact that she discovered his secret identity just fuels the fire building between them.

There are a couple of side plots around which the romance is built – Artemis’s brother is locked up in Bedlam for allegedly committing three murders while in an insane rage.  Maximus is desperately searching for the missing two emeralds from his mother’s necklace as well as he killer.
There are a couple of moments that make me uncomfortable in my feminism bump.  There are a few issues of consent and force, but Artemis herself is never uncomfortable or frightened, so those issues are personal to me.
All in all, it’s a fun romance and I’ve picked up the preceding two book in the series to read (those happened to be the ones we had in stock at the bookstore), so I’ll let you know how they are.  I didn’t feel like Apollo’s (Artemis’s brother) story wrapped up satisfactorily, but that may be because he is the protagonist of book 7, we won’t know until next year most likely.  There were a few other weak points, but nothing that really broke me out of the story.  So, if you’re inclined toward historical romances, I’d definitely recommend that you have a look at this series.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Paris permalink
    November 29, 2013 3:30 pm

    This entire series is one of the better historical romances out there. Characters have depth, substance and are very endearing. Heros are a bit damaged and each love story is complicated but always rewarding. Love them.

  2. November 29, 2013 4:17 pm

    This series is definitely one of the best historical series out there. I can also recommend Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series.

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