I've enjoyed several of Hoyt's Maiden Lane novels so far, and although I know I haven't read them in order, it has quickly become one of my favorite romance series.
Sweetest Scoundrel offers so much of what I love about Hoyt's writing - a grittiness that sets it apart from most other romances as she dives fearlessly into a rougher way of London life during the early 1800's, exploring a difference between class and position that's wonderfully engaging.
Untitled Asa Makepeace, is the owner of Harte's Folly, a pleasure garden with a theater that he has devoted himself to rebuilding with the help of his investor, the Duke of Montgomery. But Montgomery has traveled and left his sister in charge, and she insists on knowing how Asa is spending her brother's money - indeed, she demands to go over his books. To Asa's mind, she's stubborn and annoying, reserved and standoffish. He argues with her at every turn until gradually, he gets to know her, and discovers a kind a loving woman, imprisoned by her past, and takes it upon himself to try and set her free.
Eve Dinwoody, Montgomery's illegitimate sister, is shocked when her first meeting with Mr. Makepeace finds him keeping company with a nude opera singer. But, determined to know how he's spending her brother's money or cut him off, she stands her ground. Burdened by terrible memories that make her terrified of dogs and men, she shields herself behind a hard exterior, accompanied always by her loyal footman who has sworn to keep her safe from harm. But as she becomes better acquainted with Asa, temptation sneaks in. He is unlike any man she has ever met before. But can she overcome her fears and pursue the love she desires when threats begin to target the theater and she finds her life in danger?
This novel offered wonderful character growth, an intriguing story between a working class scoundrel and a lady, that I found both refreshing and authentic. I cannot wait to grab another Maiden Lane novel to enjoy.