Thief of Shadows/ Maiden Lane, Book 4 – Audiobook Online

“Thief of Shadows” is the fourth book in the Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt. Set in 1738 London, it tells the story of Winter Makepeace, a respected magistrate by day and the masked vigilante known as the Ghost of St. Giles by night. Winter is dedicated to protecting the vulnerable residents of St. Giles, a poverty-stricken area of London. Lady Isabel Beckinhall, a wealthy widow, becomes intrigued by the enigmatic Ghost and is drawn into his world as they work together to save the innocent from harm. As they navigate their growing attraction and the dangers of their respective social positions, they must confront their own past traumas and societal expectations. The novel weaves together themes of love, sacrifice, social inequality, and the power of compassion.

The story also delves into the lives of other characters from the Maiden Lane series, adding depth and complexity to the narrative. With its blend of romance, suspense, and historical detail, “Thief of Shadows” offers a compelling exploration of love and justice in Georgian London.

A MASKED MAN. . .

Winter Makepeace lives a double life. By day, he is the stoic headmaster of a home for orphans. But the night brings a darker side to Winter. As the moon rises, so does the ghost of St. Giles – protector, judge, fugitive. When the beaten and injured Ghost is rescued by a beautiful noble, Winter has no idea that her two worlds are about to collide.

A DANGEROUS WOMAN. . .

Lady Isabel Beckinhall enjoys nothing more than a challenge. However, when she is asked to tutor Home’s strict manager in social manners – flirting, duplicity and scandalous liaisons – Isabel can’t help but wonder why. His eyes seemed so familiar – and his lips were so seductive.

A PASSION THAT CAN’T BE REFUSED

During the day Isabel and Winter engage in a battle of wills. At night their passion is revealed. . . But when little girls started disappearing from St. Giles, Winter must avenge them. To do that he may have to sacrifice everything – The house, Isabel. . . and his life.

I loved the first books in the series. I loved everything else Ms. Hoyt read. I wanted to love this one too – I waited impatiently between reading the blurb at the end of the last book and this one coming out.

Now I sit here, wondering what didn’t captivate me. Warning, contains spoilers – don’t read if you want to keep surprises to a minimum!

The writing is solid, as always. The main characters are well developed, the supporting characters are charming. The adventure was amazing, full of action and challenges. And yet… perhaps I have some residual cultural aversion to those who sell Mrs. Robinson script; the young but virginal man, the older, experienced woman? Perhaps it was the heroine’s own success in ignoring the love-hungry child under her roof? Her avowed love for the betterment of her life, even in the face of the overwhelming poverty of others, as her money went into decorative items made possible by slave labor made her lover fight on his own?

Um…

Then there’s the hero – the masked crusader who gave up everything to protect the people of his town. He lives like a monk, constantly training, taking all punishments, still taking care of an orphanage full of children and loving them all sincerely. Then he throws it all away for a seductive older woman. His life’s work, his children, his father’s legacy, the freedom and courage of his alter ego… kaput, in the name of love/lust. Well, youth is still immature, right?

However, it’s disappointing. She hasn’t changed at all, he gave up everything. Like one of those old Harlequin romances, where the girl works in the typing room until she catches the boss’s eye… only in reverse.

Guess what – subverting sexist stereotypes doesn’t make it fresher, it just highlights how pathetic it is in the first place.

Great read, don’t focus too much on the details and have a glass of wine to wash away the sour taste in your mouth. Ms. Hoyt may make me fall in love again with her next goggles, but even with my solid rose-colored romance goggles on, I can’t give this movie the perfect treatment.

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