Rating:★★★+.5 | 328 pages | Hachette | Historical Fiction| Release Date: 11/24/15
Every year I make a goal to read my shelf and I started off 2020 with Sweetest Scoundrel, a book that has been sitting on my shelf for 5 YEARS! It came in a Fresh Fiction box subscription and I’ve just been holding on to it.
Eve Dinwoody, the bastard half-sister of the villainous Duke of Montgomery, takes her job managing her brother’s funds seriously. When she notices the outrageous spending of Asa Makepeace, the owner of Harte’s Folly pleasure garden, she decides to camp out there to do the bookkeeping herself. Eve’s always lived a quiet life of solitude but soon she can’t help but develop feelings for the rakish theater owner and his larger than life world.
Sweetest Scoundrel ticks of some standard historical romance tropes but Hoyt heaps on her particular brand of angst. Seriously, this book has everything; fatal theater sabotage, multiple undercover spies, a runaway-slave-turned-bodyguard and a Jeffrey Epstein style sex ring. I feel like all of the melodrama is Hoyt’s brand and I’ve come to expect it but sometimes it’s so much that it’s hard to take it all seriously.
The sensual, slow burn romance between Eve and Asa was full of undeniable chemistry. I liked that neither of them were titled and that Eve wasn’t traditionally beautiful. It was also a nice subversion that Asa was the one who had to learn about work/life and sacrificing for Eve.
I read Maiden Lane #7 a few years ago and the world of this series feels very connected. While the romance in Sweetest Scoundrel ends in an HEA, there are other parts of the plot that end on a literal cliffhanger. Since I already have two under my belt, my plan for 2020 is to go back and read this series from the beginning so I can get the whole picture.