I was still suffering from the after effects of my virus from hell last week, so not a lot of reading got done – as you can see from yesterday’s Week in Books post. But luckily one of the books that I did finish hit the spot. My brain is still a bit fried and over tired, so apologies that this post is going to be shorter than usual.
Duke of Pleasure is the eleventh book in the Maiden Lane series – but only the second one of them that I’ve read. The Maiden Lane series – or at least the ones of them that I’ve read – are set in the early to mid eighteenth century (around the 1730s) and have characters from the ton mixing it with the less fortunate in the East End and the Stews. Duke of Pleasure sees Hugh Fitzroy, the titular Duke (of Kyle) on an errand from the government to break up a secret society known as the Lords of Chaos. When Hugh is ambushed in an alley, he’s helped out of trouble by the legendary Ghost of St Giles – who turns out to be a woman. Alf has survived on the streets by disguising herself as a man. During the day she’s a street urchin, dealing in information, but by night she’s a masked vigilante flitting across the rooftops. When Hugh hires Alf to work for him, how long with Alf be able to maintain his disguise as his two worlds collide?
Regular readers to my posts about romance will be aware that one of my favourite historical romance tropes is people in diguise. Usually it’s women dressed as men – Twelfth Night, Heyer’s These Old Shades – ocassionally it’s the other way around – Heyer’s Maskeraders – but really, I’ll read anything about people in disguise. And this scratched that itch nicely for me. It’s a bit overblown at times – a bastard son of the king working as a spy can have that effect – but I just couldn’t put it down. Alf is a great character and I liked Hugh’s complicated family and backstory. It all wrapped up very quickly in the end, but the set up for the next book was intriguing. I got this one from the library – I can only hope they’ve got a few more!
You should be able to get hold of this from your preferred purveyor of romantic fiction – Amazon have it in Kindle and paperback – but I suspect you may have to have a rummage for it in the bookshops.