Recommended Read, Best of 2011 pick
My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/recommended-reviews/september-2011-recommended-reads/scandalous-desires-by-elizabeth-hoyt
“Charming” Mickey O’Connor has fought and thieved his way to the top, making himself the most feared river pirate in St. Giles. He lives in a fortress of silks and gold, but there’s one thing Mick wants that money can’t buy: Silence Hollingbrook.
Once, Mick made a bargain with Silence that saved her husband’s life and ruined the woman’s reputation, even though Mick never laid a hand on her. Since then, Silence has become a widow and has moved to St. Giles to help run her family’s foundling home, but she still remains out of Mick’s reach. Mick’s determined to have Silence in his castle, so he leaves his child on her doorstep, knowing Silence will fall in love with the babe. Then a merciless villain out to destroy Mick sets his sights on Silence and Mick will do anything to protect her. However, having Silence in his home brings about unexpected complications. She’s unlike any woman Mick has ever known and she challenges him, troubles him in ways he never expected. It’s not long before Mick finds himself ensnared by emotions he never wanted, ones he fear could destroy him. Yet, in opening his heart, Mick discovers that the love he thinks will weaken him just might be what saves him.
The master of unique historical romances has done it again! Elizabeth Hoyt has delivered another amazing book with Scandalous Desires. I was so delighted by Mickey and Silence’s story that I was almost left without the words to write this review.
I suppose I should disclose the fact that, before starting Scandalous Desires I was unsure if I would love Mickey and Silence. True, Mick had interested me in the first two Maiden Lane books (Wicked Intentions and Notorious Pleasures), and I had a lot of respect for Silence, but I wasn’t sure if they could hold my interest as main characters.
I shouldn’t have doubted Ms. Hoyt.
Silence comes into her own in Scandalous Desires. After being put in an untenable position by Mick in Wicked Intentions, her perfect life fell to pieces. Strangely (or perhaps not), when forced into the company of the man she blames for ruining her life, Silence finds her own inner strength. She doesn’t back down from Mick and she doesn’t silence herself. For the first time, she sees both her past and present life for what it truly was, and as her illusions fade, she finds the courage to go after what she wants. And what she finds herself wanting, is Mick. Who could blame her? Mick might be a cad, but in Scandalous Desires the real Mick comes through, and that changed everything for me. He’s done bad things, and he’ll be the first one to admit to them. He’s fought his way to become the most feared man in St. Giles, and that’s impossible to do by keeping your hands clean. My heart broke through some of the things he suffered, but what really won me over is how he treats Silence. While at first there’s a “Beauty and the Beast” element to their relationship, it quickly develops into something more. I practically swooned over Mick. He treats Silence as something precious, but not something that’s breakable. He sees her. He talks to her. He believes in her. And, most importantly, he listens to her, when even those who claim to love her best merely hear her. The combination of cleverness, ruthlessness, tenderness, and that indefinable spark Ms. Hoyt gives him puts Mick on my personal list of Greatest Heroes of All Time.
I’ve long held Ms. Hoyt’s writing in high regard, but she’s reached new heights in entertainment with her Maiden Lane series. Scandalous Desires has everything I love in a great romance: memorable, unique characters, love, desire, longing, character growth, intrigue, danger, excitement, and even a few surprises. Scandalous Desires even managed to bump Wicked Intentions from its top spot on my list of favorite books by Ms. Hoyt, and I didn’t think any book could do that.
Scandalous Desires is the third book in Ms. Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series, but it can be read as a standalone. However, I wouldn’t recommend it, as part of my joy in reading this story stems from the fact that I’ve been following Silence and Mickey’s storyline from the beginning of the series. Also, anyone who’s read the series knows that the mysterious Ghost of St. Giles is a major plotline; one that Ms. Hoyt takes for a turn in Scandalous Desires. The Ghost’s subplot is something that also delivers more of an impact if you’ve read Wicked Intentions and Notorious Pleasures.
I can’t say enough how much I loved Silence and Mick’s book. Scandalous Desires was everything I wanted and, at the same time, more than I could have dreamed of, and I loved it. Mick alone would be enough to make me Joyfully Recommend Scandalous Desires, but with Silence at his side, I can say that Scandalous Desires is one of the best books I’ve read this year!