My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Determined to protect her brother’s investment, Eve Dinwoody decides that the time has come to cut off funding to Harte’s Folly. Skilled at dealing with temperamental theatre folk, Asa Makepeace is convinced that his alluring charm and seductive smile will overcome Eve’s reticence. As these two stubborn wills clash over and over, someone else is plotting to destroy the pleasure garden, only Eve and Asa are standing in their way …
Hoyt’s Maiden Lane is a mixed bag of excellent installments alongside weaker ones. This book falls somewhere in the middle. While Asa and Eve have wonderful chemistry and the minor suspense plot has potential, the characterization is choppy and the denouement is not as satisfying as it could have been.
Let’s begin with Asa. Despite his occasional appearances in the series and the hints at a mysterious past, he has never been all that interesting or intriguing. While the reasons for his estrangement from the family are explained, they are rather petty and unconvincing.
In contrast, Eve’s traumatic past is more believable and her PTSD is presented realistically. That said, given her fears, Eve’s attraction to Asa and the fact that she actively encourages his aggressive sexual advances is not at all realistic. Nevertheless, Eve and Asa’s romance is entertaining and Hoyt is certainly skilled at writing the sexy encounters (the carriage scene is certainly memorable).
The secondary plot involving the sabotage against the pleasure garden is well developed albeit predictable as the villain is obvious once he comes onto the scene. The climax is also somewhat disappointing in terms of the action.
All in all, not the best in the series but well worth the read and the build up into the next book focusing on Montgomery and Bridget is enticing.
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