Wednesday, February 15, 2012

REVIEW: Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt

Maiden Lane Series, Book One
Published August 1, 2010

TBR Challenge February 2012

I am on a roll! Not only did I read my TBR Challenge book on time for today's round up post, but I even kept within this month's suggested book theme. February's theme is to choose a book that has made it's way onto your TBR pile upon the recommendation of a friend but has been languishing there far too long. I came up with three books and then polled some friends here on my blog to determine which one to read and Wicked Intentions won by a very slight margin. Now I know why it comes so highly recommended--it was a joy to read. Here are my thoughts:

Lord Caire is searching for a killer in the London slums of St. Giles, with no success. He has no contacts in this area of London, doesn't know his way around and could really use a guide. Temperance Dews has been widowed for several years and dutifully works in the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children that her family established, often going out in the dark of night to retrieve an abandoned baby. One night, Lord Caire follows her home and proposes a deal. Temperance would serve as Caire's guide in his nightly searches in exchange for money she so desperately needs to keep the home from shutting down. Temperance accepts Lord Caire's deal, adding the stipulation that he must also help her find a wealthy patron to permanently support the Foundling home. He agrees and soon these two are out in the dangerous alleys of St. Giles searching for a murderer and fighting their attraction for each other. As you can guess, they eventually do capture the killer as well as each other's hearts. The road to their happy ending, however, is a fascinating one and well worth the trip.

Wicked Intentions has several elements that kept me engaged in the story from the very first pages. One is the unique setting of the dark and depressing slums of St. Giles. After reading so many historical romance plots that focus on financial or social ruin within the ton, Wicked Intentions addresses very real social problems of the time--that is, how to survive in a world that's dangerous, unfair and full of obstacles that keep people in a community from thriving and or improving their lives. This aspect of the story felt very realistic and dramatic.

As for the plot, Lord Caire's search for a killer turned out to be quite a suspenseful mystery that kept me flipping the pages for more clues to the murder investigation. Not just who is this murderer but also, why is Lord Caire so obsessed with his search?

Of course, the growing attraction, genuine concern and love that grew between Lord Caire and Temperance was engaging as well. Caire and Temperance are such interesting characters--strong, confident and determined on the outside, but both harboring interesting secrets and vulnerable in their own ways. Learning a bit more about these two in every chapter was like unraveling a mystery in itself and to see them fall in love along the way was a joy to read.

Another thing that I really liked about this book was the familial ties within Temperance's family. Temperance is one of six children and with no parents still alive, these siblings are struggling to stay connected despite the various situations in their lives that keep them from truly being close. They do their best to keep the family going and look out for each other, but there's still some tension between them here and there that seemed realistic. This also sets the stage for future books with these characters as protagonists.

As for what didn't work for me in this book--it is very little, yet just enough to keep Wicked Intentions from a five star read. We learn almost straightaway that Lord Caire has a reputation for unusual sexual tendencies and later we find out that these unusual practices are a direct result of his aversion to touch. It is suggested that he has had this aversion to touch since he was a boy, but it's unclear if his issues are psychological or physiological. There are suggestions that it could be either or both and in fact, Temperance attempts to delve for some answers herself, but even then her speculations as to why his sexual practices are what they are still don't clarify the root of his issues. I suppose it can be argued that it doesn't really matter why he is the way he is as long as he and Temperance are able to touch each other freely, but I still wanted to understand it all and most of all, wanted Caire to understand himself so he could maybe work to alleviate his pain.

Temperance has an issue with her sexuality as well. She's a passionate and emotional woman who is purposely stifling her sexual desires as a result of tremendous guilt over something she did years ago. Several times Temperance thinks of her sexual desires as terribly base or perverse, when in fact, she's just a normal woman who enjoys sex. I suppose that's just how women in the 1700s were taught to perceive sexual desire, but I still felt her shame for her sexual desires was slightly overdone.

Wicked Intentions still kept me on the edge of my seat as Lord Caire and Temperance risked their lives every night to uncover the mystery of the gruesome murders in St. Giles and as their affection for each other grew into romantic love during this traumatic time. I'm intrigued by all of the secondary characters and will definitely be reading more stories in the Maiden Lane series.



  1. This looks really quite good, and even the cover looks nice! I can't remember if I've ever read any Hoyt but I'll have to try this out if I can find it in my library.

  2. (They do! They do! I've requested it...thanks for the recommendation.)

  3. *clapping hands*

    Oh I'm so glad you liked it! I truly loved Temperance and Caire together and after reading your review might just pick it up to re-read. I love Hoyt's books and this series is definitely a favorite. :)

    Great review, Christine!

  4. Hey Christine! I'm so glad you enjoyed Wicked Intentions. I loved the atmosphere in this book, and love it in the whole series. The characters, romance and mystery did it for me. :)

    Wasn't the fact that Lord Caire suffered physical pain when touched by others an interesting touch to this story? These days it's actually a diagnosed disorder, but I imagine that back then it wasn't and it was thought of as "unnatural" behavior. Great review!

  5. Great Review! I also loved Wicked Intentions! Hoyt is one of my favorite authors. I just loved the intrigue and mystery mixed with the romance made for an excellent read.

  6. Yeah! So happy you enjoyed it! I knew you would.

  7. Lovely review!

    One is the unique setting of the dark and depressing slums of St. Giles.

    Definitely agree!

  8. I kind of didn't like this book all that much.
    Mostly I didn't feel connection to the hero or the heroine aside from finding them interesting.

    But it was still a good read, I just expected more from Elizabeth Hoyt.

  9. Hmm. Might have to add this to my ever-growing list on Goodreads.

  10. Still reading so I skimmed a little but glad to see a B+ at the end. I need to go finish this up.

  11. I loved this one. So much darker than her usual (not that her usual is puppies and butterflies), and yet her wicked sly humor comes through in little places.

  12. If it weren't for the fact that I knew I finally had to read Conor's Way, I probably would have read a Hoyt book this month. Seriously, I think I own every single one of her books and they are all languishing.....

  13. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed this one and am looking forward to reading it myself!! I'll have to grab it at the library the next time that I'm there!

  14. Woooo, I think it's on my TBR pile. I do like Elizabeth Hoyt's books. They are much more different than the usual stuff. :) Great review! :D

  15. Woohoo for you and me, Christine, for both making it! LOL. Isn't it a great feeling?

    So glad you enjoyed this book :) I knew you would! Double standards about sex and desires in those times really sucked :(

  16. I enjoyed this one, so good pick! Also, I never read the rest of this series but you've reminded me about it (my tbr pile is waaaay too big LOL) so thanks for that. :P

  17. Hello all of you lovely commenters! Thanks so much for checking out my TBR Challenge review. I'm sorry for the delay in replying. I got slammed with a bad head cold over the last few days and have been resting.

    Hilcia, if you get sick it's all my fault! I'm so sorry!!! :(
    Start taking vitamin C and echinacea now if you can.. and zinc the moment you feel a sore throat coming on. xo
    (We saw each other over the weekend.. mere hours before I realized I was really sick.. not just a little stuffy. I feel awful about possibly spreading germs to my friends. )

  18. Kate :: I'm so glad your library has Wicked Intentions. You'll have to let us know what you think of it when you read it!

    Tracy :: Good to know the series as a whole is one of your favorites! I have to check the pile for the second book. I have a feeling I might just have it. I really do want to read more about this family.

    Hilcia :: Thank you for passing this book on to me. You know how to pick 'em! It was a pleasure to read.

    Lover of Romance :: I love the intrigue and mystery components, too! It really gave the story a solid core around which to develop the characters and their relationships. Good stuff.

    Leslie :: Thanks for recommending this series! I have been reading your reviews for each book.. I know I have a lot to look forward to!

    orannia :: It was definitely refreshing to get a nitty gritty look into the lower class neighborhoods of London

  19. Alex :: Sorry this one didn't live up to your expectations of Hoyt. What other books by her have you read? Would you believe I have had ALL THREE of the Prince books on my TBR for years and years? So embarrassing how many unread books are languishing around here.

    Lisa :: Gotta love the virtual bookshelves. Listing books I want to read on goodreads helps control my book buying but also gives me comfort knowing I won't lose track of books I'm interested in.

    Brie :: Have you finished yet? No pressure. :)

    Lori :: I loved the darker aspects of this historical! I hope there's a bit more in the rest of the series, too.

    Wendy :: So you haven't read Hoyt yet? This was my first one--I thought I was the last one on the block!

    samantha :: Hope your library has it and you enjoy it!

    little_alys :: Hope you get to Wicked Intentions!

    nath :: It IS a good feeling knowing I made the challenge two months in a row! Phew! I can't believe it! I already have next month's book picked out, too. ;)

    ames :: If you get to the second book in this series before me, please but a flame under me to get me moving on it, too! ;)

  20. I am so out of the loop! I had no idea she had a new series. I absolutely loved the books of hers that I have read. I will need to check this out. Perhaps I need to finally get a library card here in Jersey. :)


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