Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Review: If You Love a Virgin Hero--

I'm not sure where I picked up Elizabeth Hoyt as an author, but I know it was after everyone had been buzzing about her for quite some time. I was one of the last people to hop on the train, much like J.K. Rowling, and you know how much I am still kicking myself for that one.

Ms. Hoyt was unique in that she wrote in an earlier time period than most of her historical contemporaries; however, it is her newest series, set even forty years before her last series that has really shined with her brilliance. She is skilled at blending the dark and the light, the gritty and the glitter, the poor and the rich--and weaving tales so heartbreaking, you want to go back in time and meet the characters in person. You know they're there, in St. Giles and the more habitable parts of London--and you know from reading you would never buy gin or you'd never buy cheap products knowing they're created off the backs of child labor.

Her latest installment of the St. Giles series, THIEF OF SHADOWS, showcases Winter Makepeace, the quiet studious schoolmaster and manager of the orphanage where St. Giles' unfortunates find a safe place to stay. He also happens to be the Ghost of St. Giles, the masked Harlequin who scampers across rooftops at night and rights wrongs and saves those who are unable to save themselves. That is, until, he needs someone to save him, and Lady Isabel Beckinhall just happens to be the lady in the carriage who finds his passed out body in the middle of the road...and saves him.

If you like your heroes more on the reserved and quiet side, you will find Winter Makepeace one of the best heroes you'll read about this year. If you love well-endowed virgin heroes, then this is definitely the book of the year for you. I enjoyed him quite a bit, and though I'm not sure I would say this is my favorite book of the series (I didn't find the heroine as interesting as the previous three), Winter makes up by being pretty darned delightful. There's a scene where he comforts the heroine and she breaks down, and she says she doesn't want him to see her when she's ugly...and he says, well, just exactly the right thing. Move out of the way 50 Shades of Grey, THIS is the fantasy women really want: a man strong enough to hold her when she cries, comfort and caress her and not make it about sex, and then say she is the most beautiful, bravest woman he knows. Brilliant.

I cannot get enough of this series and I know I will be disappointed when Ms. Hoyt finally puts this setting to rest, but I know she will create and enchant us with another new part of London in a time period we don't know as well as we think we do, and win us again. Ms. Hoyt should be on your autobuy list. She's hot; she's emotional; she's historically accurate but not boring about it; her writing is gritty, sexy, and beautiful altogether. She writes the universal female fantasy for strong, caring, loving men who are flawed but beautiful where it counts, for sex that is as much about the mental and emotional as the physical, that isn't pretty but always satisfying, and for love that conquers class, poverty, and the hard realities of the world. And I'm very, very grateful she's usually able to provide two books a year.

Her next one cannot come fast enough.

Do you read Elizabeth Hoyt? Do you have a favorite series or book of hers? What book in a series are you most waiting for this year?  (Does not have to be Ms. Hoyt!)

19 comments:

quantum said...

This one is already on my radar following Janga's rave review.
You have brought it into even sharper focus Hellie.

My book budget is almost bust. But dammit, when my two favourite reviewers rave together, how can I possibly resist!

I'll buy it. LOL

Janga said...

Thief of Shadows is my favorite of the series, Hellie. I've been fascinated by Winter since the series began, and I loved that both he and Isabel were different people than they appeared to be and that, at least on the surface, they were opposites. Hoyt is amazing!

TerriOsburn said...

Now I'm going to feel guilty all day about not having read Ms. Hoyt. Not because I don't own the books or I don't think she's a delightful woman (we've done lunch *g*) and talented writer, I just haven't gotten around to it. (I say this so often, we should make it a drinking came.)

I will promise now that she just moved up the pile. Pinky swear!

TerriOsburn said...

I should clear up that "we've done lunch" thing with "She has no idea who I am." LOL!

MsHellion said...

Q, I'm sorry to help you spend your cash as quickly as you acquire--okay, I'm really not--but this one is well worth the purchase price. And as you say, if both Janga and I RAVE, it must be a keeper! ;)

MsHellion said...

Janga, I have been fascinated by Winter's warmth--he's so conservative, but he's wonderful with children. And I did find it interesting that Isabel comes across as anti-children, his complete opposite--but the foil soon shows, he's not as conservative and quiet as he comes across and she's not as non-maternal as she comes across. I do find it fascinating how Hoyt matches characters in her stories.

MsHellion said...

Yeah, yeah, Terri, I know I'm beating my head against a stone wall where you're concerned... *LOL* But really, you should give her a shot. I love this series. My favorite two of this series so far has been WICKED INTENTIONS and SCANDALOUS DESIRES--but I think it's because the emotional arc of redeeming these men was so vast that it was like watching a miracle happen. *LOL*

Winter doesn't need redemption, and maybe that's why while this story was lovely and wonderful, it's not my "favorite" of the series. (Favorite is soooo subjective!) I get more of a thrill from the darker stuff. STILL...the emotional arcs between Isabel and Winter are large and vast to them, you do wonder how it will work out when both of them are as stubborn as pigs.

I did think there was some very interesting growth on Winter's part where the children are concerned. I mean, you know he cares for the children, but he doesn't let himself get too attached to any one of them...and this changes. This was also fascinating to watch/read.

Oh, and you don't necessarily have to know any of the other books to get this one. It would read very well on its own--that was also quite well done.

And I'm sure Ms. Hoyt will know you soon, Terri. Then you can introduce me!

TerriOsburn said...

I was going to ask if this one could be read without having read the others, but I still want to read the others too.

TerriOsburn said...

We actually did have lunch but there were about 15 of us there and that was years ago. I think I said something stupid on the way there like "I can't believe I'm walking with Elizabeth Hoyt" and she said, "I can't believe I'm walking with her either."

*smacks forehead*

Janga said...

Terri, one of the fringe benefits of reading Hoyt is that every love scene she writes is a lesson in how to write super hot scenes that are never mere titillation but are integral to character and plot development. She's the gold standard in that respect IMO.

TerriOsburn said...

I've heard that many times, Janga. You'd think I'd have been curious enough by now to see for myself. I'm currently reading the THREE WEDDINGS AND A MURDER anthology but I will slide Hoyt to next on the schedule.

Maureen said...

Lord love a duck, I'm already working on the two books from the author Hellie mentioned yesterday!

I see EH at a lot of conventions, she's very approachable and unassuming. Amazing that so much can slip from a lady who doesn't stand out...probably part of her magic.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Oh I'm a huge Hoyt fan but I've been behind on my reading of her and havne't touched this series yet. I have this one in my pile already but need to check if I have the other ones as well.

As Maureen said - I've meet her at conferences and she's very friendly and approachable.

MsHellion said...

Janga, I agree, Hoyt is an excellent "manual" for how to write a hot, but sexy love scene!!

MsHellion said...

Maureen, you'll fly through the Moyer books...and the Hoyt books will be totally a 180 in content and voice. *LOL* But they're both pure magic.

MsHellion said...

Sabrina! Move this up the pile! *LOL* I love the clothing from this period...and the political problems!

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Ok - you've convinced me! It will be next on my list. I'm currently in the middle of 2 books so it might take me a few days. :)

Evelyn Archer said...

I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Hoyt. Her first novel, THE RAVEN PRINCE, is my personal favorite but I have really enjoyed all her books.

TerriOsburn said...

Hey there, Evelyn. Thanks for stopping by. Another vote for Hoyt. Looks like the rest of us better get on the ball!