Greycourt, Book #2
Heat Factor: Above average historical romance sexyness
Character Chemistry: He’s smitten, she loathes him
Plot: Messalina is forced into marriage with her evil uncle’s fixer
Overall: I gobbled this up, but must admit that the resolution was rushed
Ever since I binge-read all of the Maiden Lane series (#noragrets), I’ve been thinking that I should read more of Hoyt’s books. So when I saw this one (her most recent, I think) at the library, I grabbed it. Never mind that I didn’t read the first book in the series. Sometimes I like chaos in my reading!
In case you were wondering: no, you don’t have to read the first book in the series. There’s some background story about a dead sister and some families having feuds but that doesn’t seem all that important? Plus Book 1 isn’t actually about anyone in the Greycourt family. I did read Erin’s very excellent review of Book 1 (seriously, it’s a good one), and it seemed like it set nothing in this book up besides introducing the heroine, so whatever. Join me in being a chaos reader!
Where was I?
Oh yeah. So, what we have here is a classic cross-class morality chain romance, which Hoyt really excels at. And the premise is admittedly excellent. Gideon has clawed his way up from the slums by being unscrupulous (as one does). He works for the terrible Duke of Windemere; specifically, he does the terrible duke’s dirty work. But he wants to get out. And then, the terrible duke offers him one last job, with a prize he can’t refuse: Messalina Greycourt’s hand in marriage. Because of course Gideon has been watching and wanting Messalina for years.
Too bad the job is assassinating Messalina’s brother. She’d definitely never forgive him for that.
See? Bonkers and delicious, just like I like them.
Messalina, for her part, is horrified at the thought of marrying Gideon, but does so to protect her sister. Plus she has an escape plan: Gideon agrees to wait a month to consummate the marriage, at which time he’ll give her one tenth of her enormous dowry. Of course, this involves spending time with him and learning that he’s more than just the thug he appears to be.
The cross-class elements really shine in this book. Gideon wants to be respectable(ish)—at least enough so the fancy nobs will invest in his entrepreneurial projects, but doesn’t understand the rules. This provides the space for Messalina to see his vulnerabilities and to help him.
However, while I could see the impetus for Messalina to start to like Gideon, I didn’t think their relationship was quite developed enough for me to buy that it was love (especially in the face of the betrayals bogging them down). Things just wrap up lickety-split. Gideon admits that he’s supposed to get rid of Messalina’s brother; Messalina freaks out and runs; Messalina sees some paperwork and realizes that Gideon does love her; oh shit there was a dastardly plot that no one saw coming!; Gideon defeats the evil plot and saves Messalina; Happily Ever After. All of that happens over the course of like, a chapter.
If you’re already a Hoyt fan, don’t miss this one. Gideon is an excellent case of a man in need of redemption, and Hoyt does heroes in need of redemption like none other. If you’re not already a Hoyt fan…read Wicked Intentions instead.
Looking for something similar?