A MASKED MAN . . .
Winter Makepeace lives a double life. By day he’s the stoic headmaster of a home for foundling children. But the night brings out a darker side of Winter. As the moon rises, so does the Ghost of St. Giles—protector, judge, fugitive. When the Ghost, beaten and wounded, is rescued by a beautiful aristocrat, Winter has no idea that his two worlds are about to collide.
A DANGEROUS WOMAN . . . Lady Isabel Beckinhall enjoys nothing more than a challenge. Yet when she’s asked to tutor the Home’s dour manager in the ways of society—flirtation, double entendres, and scandalous liaisons—Isabel can’t help wondering why his eyes seem so familiar—and his lips so tempting.
A PASSION NEITHER COULD DENY
During the day Isabel and Winter engage in a battle of wills. At night their passions are revealed . . . But when little girls start disappearing from St. Giles, Winter must avenge them. For that he might have to sacrifice everything—the Home, Isabel . . . and his life.
I feel like I've been waiting for this book for forever! After what felt like a lifetime, I have read, finished and loved Thief of Shadows!
The fourth book in The Maiden Lane series, Thief of Shadows finally focuses on the Ghost of St. Giles, who was revealed in the previous book (Scandalous Desires, which has been my favorite book of the series) to be none other than Winter Makepeace, the staid and respectable headmaster of the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children, located in London's most notorious slum.
Who would have thought right? When I first met Winter it was in the first pages of Wicked Intentions, the first book in The Maiden Lane series. He was described as tall, with a long, thin face and he wore ill fitting clothing. Hardly the description of a character like the Ghost of St. Giles. As the series progressed however, there were more and more signs that the Ghost was one of the reoccurring characters and I became anxious to know his identity.
Once the identity of the Ghost was revealed, I admit I was a little surprised, amused and downright impatient to read Thief of Shadows.
The transition between Scandalous Desires into Thief of Shadows was smooth and evenly paced, there was no long, drawn out summary of the previous 3 books which I appreciated because too much rehashing of previous books takes up too much time and space that is better used for telling a new story.
I've been a fan of Elizabeth Hoyt's for some time. She has the most physically interesting characters and engaging story lines I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Her characters are not always classically beautiful, sometimes they have a physical feature that ordinarily would be reserved for a side kick or another minor character, however Elizabeth's writing is so full of emotion and realism that any physical "flaws" are forgotten because you're too busy falling in love with the characters she's created. Her stories are heart wrenching at times and make them all the more memorable and enjoyable.
Thief of Shadows is no exception. The Ghost of St Giles is a hero, but Elizabeth Hoyt never makes him into an untouchable, impenetrable, larger than life creature. The reader is constantly reminded that he is a man of flesh and blood and emotions that have been kept locked away for too long. She focuses more on who he really is, Winter Makepeace, a noble, self-sacrificing man who is terribly lonely.
The banter between Winter and Isabel is something I looked forward to from the very first scene in Thief of Shadows. Suggestive, humorous and at times revealing, each scene between the two was well written and better than the one before. I thoroughly enjoyed reading their interactions, even when they were laced with insults. It made the sparks between the two more palatable and that's what makes a great romance story right? If you thought Elizabeth Hoyt's other books were hot, let me just say that this one makes the rest look like cream puffs. It's that sexy.
Thief of Shadows definitely has more action and danger than its predecessors did and while that might not work for some people, it was a vital part of this particular book's success. What would the Ghost of St. Giles be without a villain or two to vanquish? Or a mystery to solve? He would be a boring, one dimensional character not worth remembering. Even as the Ghost himself overcomes enemy after enemy, it is Winter who faces the biggest challenges, he must become a better man, a living man instead of just existing as he was for so many years, only, he can't hide behind the Ghost's mask as he tries to rejoin the living.
Isabel is as strong as heroines come in books. She's not the feistiest female or the boldest seductress we've seen, she's worse. She's an intelligent female with resources and hidden courage that even she doesn't know about until it's put to the test. A perfect match for Winter, even if neither knows it.
By far, Thief of Shadows is the best book out of the series, I was afraid that all the build up in the previous books would come to nothing in this one but I should have known better. Elizabeth Hoyt doesn't disappoint readers with Thief of Shadows and she yet again begins the buildup for the next book in the series. Thief of Shadows is more action packed and steamier than the other books, when I finished reading it, I was an incoherent, babbling mess that desperately wanted a cigarette.
Thank you NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for the ARC.
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