The third (and final?) Ghost of St Giles is finally unmasked in this latest installment of Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series. I have been a big fan of the last two books, but I didn’t love this one quite as much. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it. But it didn’t have the same spark as the previous books.
Maximus, the Duke of Wakefield, is the original Ghost. He began donning the mask as part of a quest for revenge in the death of his parents. He still hasn’t found the man responsible, yet after more than a dozen years, he is still searching for the killer. In the meantime, Maximus is on the hunt for a wife, but he doesn’t care for a love match. The only thing he cares about is finding a woman worthy of the Dukedom… someone who would honor his father’s lineage. Lady Penelope would be perfect in that regard.
Penelope isn’t our heroine, however. Instead, it is her companion, Artemis. As a poor relation, Artemis hold no illusions about her future. She doesn’t expect a husband or a family to call her own. Her focus lies solely with being a good companion to Penelope and in taking care of her brother Apollo, wrongly imprisoned in Bedlam for a murder he didn’t commit.
Penelope is quite the catch in that she is both beautiful and wealthy. Unfortunately, she is also a bit of a ninny. She thinks it’s a grand adventure to accept a dare to venture into the seedy St Giles. Of course, Artemis must go along for the ride. It’s there they come face to face with the infamous Ghost. She doesn’t realize his identity as Maximus right away, but with the Duke courting her cousin, it’s only a matter of time before she puts the pieces together… and then tries use that knowledge as leverage to help get her brother free.
Their relationship isn’t all blackmail, of course. He appreciates her pluck and her lack of artifice. He is both infuriated by her and attracted to her. Yet he never sees her as a real possibility for a wife. Meanwhile, Artemis may be the only person who really sees the man behind the title. And so begins their affair. Unfortunately, while I liked the characters fairly well as individuals, there romance just didn’t wow me. I never really felt their fall into deeper emotions. It just kind of rolled along in a fairly predictable fashion without ever giving me any tingles.
Again, it was ok, but while I can list off the reasons these two were attracted to one another, it was all kind of superficial. Just meh. And the big reveal and faceoff with the villain was really anticlimactic.
The previous installments were good enough that I will definitely pick up the next book, but this one just failed to impress.