Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt

Book Description:

Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London's most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows St. Giles like the back of her hand-she's spent a lifetime caring for its inhabitants at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk...


Caire makes a simple offer-in return for Temperance's help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to London's high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as cold calculation soon falls prey to a passion that neither can control-one that may well destroy them both.


This is an interesting beginning to the Maiden Lane series.  Widowed, Temperance Dews runs a foundling home with her brother is St. Giles, a dangerous slum found in London's East Side. Temperance meets and begins a relationship with the notorious Lord Caire of whom rumors abound that his requests from whores are... um...unusual.  Set during early Georgian times in the 1730's, the period is a favorite of mine, but the underlying theme of bondage made me a bit squeamish. 

Caire is searching for the murderer of his former mistress who was found nude, gutted and bound by her ankles and wrists - in bed.  He seeks out Temperance Dews for she can help him with the search throughout the dark alleys of St. Giles.  Her comings and goings at all hours of the night rescuing orphans from the worst of the worst in St. Giles makes her an expert amongst it's back alleys, gin rooms and brothels.

Temperance is hesitant to assist him at first.  Lord Caire's reputation is no secret to her, but his dangerous good looks and the magnetic way he looks at her is too hard to resist.  Does he suspect the secret she carries deep in her heart?  Plus, he's offering her a good chunk of change to help fund the foundling home she runs with her brother.   He also promises to introduce her to slews of rich aristocrats at various balls and soirees where she can make some useful connections and find a suitable patron to the home.  She feels she's making a bargain with the devil, but at the same time, she likes being with Caire.  Their partnership becomes a front for the attraction that's really going on between them - an attraction that both scandalizes and thrills Temperance.

Will they find the elusive murderer and can Temperance resist such a man as Lord Caire and his strange needs and desires?   Does she even want to?  And what will her big brothers do when they find out that there's more going on between Temperance and Caire than searching for a killer?

This was pretty good, a departure for me.  It's not my usual thing, but the bondage and psychological aspect about it was well done and I will read more of this series.  Caire has all sorts of baggage from his childhood that explains why he can't bear to be touched - hence his interesting sexual proclivities.  Temperance is harboring a terrible secret of something awful she once did.  Ever since she's been trying to atone for it by rescuing children for the home - and now Caire wants to know her secret.  Can she trust him enough to tell him?  There is plenty of tension - both sexual and nervous throughout the book.  As they get closer and closer to the murderer's identity more murders takes place - in the same brutal and macabre manner.  Will Temperance or Caire be next?  Will Temperance, who is the daughter of a brewer - and now in love with Caire - ever fit into his world - despite the fact he loves her back?  There are plenty of questions that are asked and most are answered.  But, I am curious about the mysterious sword wielding masked harlequin that aides them in capturing the murderer.  Who is he and what's his game?

There's a real doozy of a sidestory here about Temperance's married sister, Silence.  She's a sweet thing that is dealt a severe blow in life.  I won't go into details but it's very upsetting what happens to her and terribly unfair.  It was almost hard to read about, it was distracting to me and I wanted to get back to the main storyline.  I really pitied her, but at the same time, felt she was much too naive and rash.  We'll see how it all turns out for her in the end, for her story continues on in the series.

As usual, Hoyt is excellent in setting the scene for her novels - Georgian society.  She's one of my favorite romance authors just for this reason.  Whether it's the glittering ballrooms or the seamy backstreets of the East End, I feel like I'm right there, soaking it all in.  Yet, even though the storyline was riveting and the sex was steamy, this wasn't quite what I expected. 

Wicked Intentions is dark and dangerous, it's an apt title.  We're definitely seeing the other side of Georgian England than we've experienced in her previous books.  It reminds me of a Hogarth cartoon.  It's a real eye opener of the times.  Realistic and gritty, cut throats and ruthless brothel madams abound.  Plus, there is the ever present gin.  In addition, let's just say, a lot of weird sh*t goes on in this book.   I'm not averse to reading about perverted or weird stuff when I'm expecting it.  But in an historical romance I like things a little lighter and frothier most of time.  Still, I am curious about what happens in the rest of the series. 



Danielle said...

Love your review!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book when I read it last year. I thought Hoyt wrote a very dark and intriguing historical romance with intense characters.

My only niggling-complaint was the noun and adjective names she gave to her characters. At one point a valet called 'Small' threw me and I had to re-read an entire paragraph when I realized he was a person, not a description. lol.

I loved Silence's side-story. I'm looking forward to her book, coming September this year. I can't wait to read about Mickey O'Connor - he might be a bad-guy-hero to rival even Lazarus :)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Danielle - thanks for the add at GoodReads! :)

I know! The names! Some of them were so odd - I agree about Small, I had a double take reaction to make sure that was his actual name. Caire's own name is a play on the whole "caring" theme as well. He's notorious, yet he cares for Temperance - often in the nick of time. Not sure if that was deliberate or just a coincidence. His name's odd too - they all have them in this book - except Clara. I eager to see more of her. Silence's plotline really was a downer, but it should be interesting how she redeems Mickey O'Connor and we find out just who he really is.

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