Monday, September 24, 2018

Review: Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt

Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother's investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London's premier pleasure garden, Harte's Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can't be controlled.

Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn't have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden's larger-than-life owner, he's already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He's not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.
In spite of her lack of theatrical experience-and her fiery clashes with Asa-Eve is determined to turn Harte's Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There's no denying the smoldering fire between them-and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all . . .

I finished Dearest Rogue, the previous novel in the Maiden Lane series, two years ago.  I have picked up Sweetest Scoundrel a couple of times but have never been able to finish it.  I think Eve's character as she's depicted in Dearest Rogue prevented me from really being excited about her love story with Asa Makepeace.  

Asa, however, is the most elusive of the Makepeace siblings; he is just now appearing in the ninth book of the series.  I wanted to know what about him made the other siblings maintain their distance following their father's disowning of Asa (and their father's death).  

As proprietor of Harte's Folly, Asa wants to restore the pleasure garden to its former glory.  The only roadblock to his dream is Eve Dinwoody, who is acting on behalf of her brother, the Duke of Montgomery, and his investment.  I know they will fall in love, but their relationship didn't have the same structure and oomph as Hoyt's prior books.    

Ultimately, Sweetest Scoundrel may be my least favorite of the series, but it does a good job of propelling the new sub-series -- the Lords of Chaos -- to the forefront.  

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