Caire makes a simple offer—in return for Temperance's help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to London's high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as cold calculation soon falls prey to a passion that neither can control—one that may well destroy them both.
Comment: Since I tend to enjoy historical romance, this book being one many readers of the genre
also liked a lot, made me add it to my TBR a long time ago. I bought books months ago and because I managed to read all the books I wanted for July, I could still add this one to my reads as well.
This is the first installment in an already long Maiden Lane series, apparently featuring a set of connected characters. This first book is the story of Lord Caire and mrs Temperance dews, a widow who helps him circulate around St Giles, one of the most difficult neighborhoods in London. But what begun as a simple guiding task, soon evolves to seduction because there's something about Temperance that makes Caire feel he's more alive and daring. As the search for a certain person continues, so does the relationship between the daughter of a man who was in trade and a lord. Apart from being attracted to one another, is there anything else they can have in common to justify being so well in each others' presence?
I liked this book overall and I think the plot moved well enough for me to think it wasn't too boring or too superficial to be interesting. But when it comes to the relationship between the two protagonists I kind of hoped for more romance.
This book is also very explicit when we talk about sexual descriptions. So this is at the border of historical erotica but not quite there yet (in my POV). I don't mind much but it can be sort of annoying, whether with this or another book, to have so much focus in one detail when the others don't get as much time.
I liked they were so compatible that way and I liked knowing they were actually falling in love, even when they didn't say so with those actual words, but the amount of time they had doing other things together apart from looking for someone of playing sexual preliminaries' games was not enough for me to truly believe their feelings were deeper than what they said they were at the end.
Lord Caire is an interesting character, he has a challenging personality and the childhood to justify his attitude now. I kind of liked his sort of sarcasm and careless look at life, especially because as a romance protagonist he would have to be in love at some point, but overall I felt he lacked some seriousness in his actions when it came to respect others and their choices, etc (for instance he was a bit mocking with Temperance until a certain point).
Temperance was a fascinating heroine but I feel her personality was not explored quite well as it could and I got the impression this was mostly due to the amount of time dedicated to her sexual side and not more scenes with her "job" at the orphanage and there wasn't even a romantic epilogue to reassure us of her happiness with Caire. Maybe the next book can show us that, even if not directly.
The secondary characters were interesting and some were slightly more developed than others, certainly to start the incoming stories too, but for me that wasn't as interesting as the main couple. The plot and the mystery were solved well enough, I guess. It was not my biggest interest point so I wasn't that worried about how it would play out. Still, things were left ready for other books to be developed in the future with some sense of continuity and meaning.
All in all, a good premiere with this author, I do plan on continuing the series and I hope the next one is as engaging, although I'm still not convinced with the heroine...hopefully the book will make me change my mind. As a whole the author's writing is compelling and fluid enough to be easy to read.