DUKE OF SIN by Elizabeth Hoyt
A Maiden Lane Novel , Book 10
Grand Central Publishing
London, October 1741
The second King George rules England, The Duke of Wakefield rules from Parliament, Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, holds the title of the Most Wicked Man in Town (and perhaps the most handsome and charming?). Montgomery's house is ruled by the most sought-after housekeeper in London, Mrs. Bridget Crumb, (Housekeepers are always called Mrs. whether married or not, which Bridget is not.)
Three months ago, Val, as the duke is called by intimates, was banished from England by Wakefield. He never left, but spent that time living in secret within the walls of Hermes House—the house he had built himself to his own specifications. Not only is Val a rake, but he's also a blackmailer. One of his victims is Bridget's natural mother, who sent her to Hermes House shortly before the duke was banished, to retrieve some letters and a miniature portrait. On this day, Bridget has just released the miniature from its hiding place in the headboard of the duke's bed, when a hidden door opens and the duke comes forth. Not one to be easily intimidated, Mrs. Crumb is perhaps less humble to the duke than she ought to be; she's more stunned by his beauty. (Wait until she learns he's not one to hide his nude body.) He's amused by her rather saucy manner.
Montgomery is ready to return to Society. He has some secret papers in his possession about the king's second son and a secret society that he threatens to expose unless the king recognizes him in public, thus undoing his banishment. Meanwhile, Bridget continues to search the house . . . when Val gives her time!
How wicked is Val? Here's a clue: his father was wicked indeed, a practitioner of pure evil, even upon his son and heir. But if there is good in Val, will our heroine, the determined Mrs. Crumb, be able to let it out?
I was fortunate to receive four of the first five books in the Maiden Lane series for review and loved them, even giving number five a Perfect 10. So I was delighted to be sent THE DUKE OF SIN. It was as though I had gone away and left behind family and friends and had to catch up on their doings. All of the books I've read really immerse a reader in the early Georgian times. They are full of interconnected plots and many related characters (as well as some endearing youngsters) and should be read in order to get full enjoyment.