My name is Kimberly and I'm the reader/reviewer behind Wit and Sin. Wit and Sin is a website that provides honest reviews and publicity. I primarily read and review Romance titles, but I also review Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, and Non-Fiction titles. In addition to Wit and Sin, I am a reviewer for Joyfully Reviewed (pen name: Shayna) and Romance Junkies (pen name: Lily).
Valentine Napier – the utterly fabulous, scene-stealing, loose cannon Duke of Montgomery – finally meets his match in Duke of Sin! I had high hopes for Val’s story and Elizabeth Hoyt definitely did not disappoint.
Val has been a favorite character of mine ever since he was first introduced. He’s morally ambiguous at best, a villain at worst, and has wreaked havoc in the lives of past heroes and heroines more than once. In prior Maiden Lane books, he reminded me of Loki (as played by Tom Hiddleston) and I found the combination of intelligence, deviousness, and brief glimpses of humanity compelling. I was grateful to find that Duke of Sin, Ms. Hoyt doesn’t defang Val, but shows us what shaped his character, what drives him, and what makes him a hero worth rooting for without making him a different character. Val can be cold, certainly, and he’s most definitely calculating, but he’s not – as he believes – incapable of love. To start, it’s clear to readers that he does love his sister, even if he doesn’t recognize the emotion. Val’s life was shaped by a complete monster and his need for power, to control everything around him, stems from that. But he’s on a nasty path and it will take a very special heroine with a spine of steel to bring him back from the darkness. Bridget Crumb is exactly that heroine. Bridget has been raised to be a very proper, efficient housekeeper, but there’s something about Val that ruffles her feathers. She’s a case of still waters running deep, and the longer she’s around Val, the more her true nature comes to the surface. Bridget is smart, kind, sensual, and strong. She’s an endearing heroine in her own right, but when paired with Val she becomes downright fascinating.
Bridget and Val’s relationship is captivating. It develops naturally over the course of the story and it was wonderful to watch unfold. Val loves to be shocking and Bridget is initially cautious around him, but she’s never cowed. The banter between them is fantastic and positively crackles with energy. As each becomes intrigued by the other, desire begins to develop and they both start to change. The romance and character development are closely linked in Duke of Sin and this works phenomenally well, making the pages of the story fly by. Val and Bridget’s love story is by turns exciting, sensual, and emotional. These are two people who will never be average and it’s fitting that their romance isn’t either.
Duke of Sin is the tenth book in Ms. Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series, and if you don’t mind some spoilers, it can be read as a standalone. That being said, I think my investment in the book is higher because I’ve been intrigued by Val in previous stories. This book also delves further into the history of the villainous Lords of Chaos, a club that was first mentioned in the previous book, Sweetest Scoundrel. On a happier note, some past Maiden Lane heroes and heroines play small supporting roles in Val and Bridget’s story, and those moments are sure to delight Maiden Lane fans. Duke of Sin is a unique, engaging romance and I hated when real life intruded and forced me to put the book down. Val and Bridget are refreshingly original characters and I’m grateful that finding their happily ever after doesn’t change that. I loved their unconventional love story, and I can’t wait to read again and again and again.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.