Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: Notorious Pleasures

Notorious Pleasures
Elizabeth Hoyt
Historical Romance/London/1737
Maiden Lane/Book 2
Grand Central Publishing/February 1, 2011

From the back cover ~

Their lives were perfect . . .

Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn't bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother . . .

Until they met each other.

Griffin Remmington, Lord Reading, is far from perfect - and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire - desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero's wedding nears, and Griffin's enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?

Loving this series! Two books in and I have numerous secondary characters whose books I want to read. The excerpt for the next book, Scandalous Desires, left me wanting it like yesterday. And once again Ms. Hoyt added the delicious cherry on top of the sundae by giving us the beautiful story-within-the-story called Queen Ravenhair. I love the extra fairy tale story at the beginning of every chapter. It's like getting a free gift with every purchase except this gift is something you actually want!

They say first impressions are important. You want them to be memorable, because who wants to be forgotten. When Lady Hero Batten meets Lord Griffin Reading for the first time there is no way she could possibly forget him or his beautifully muscled rear end. Their first meeting leaves Hero decidedly uncomfortable in Lord Scandalous' presence and it leaves Griffin curious about Lady Perfect. Yes, they have nicknames for each other, right from the start. While they're not affectionate nicknames they do shift to affection as they fall in love.

We first met Lady Hero in Wicked Intentions and while she didn't get much page time she left enough of an impression on me to want to know more about her. She is a very proper lady of the aristocracy, aware of her place in life. As the daughter of a duke and now the sister of a duke, Hero does everything in her power to maintain a high standard of morals and propriety. Which is why it was so fascinating to see her evolve from this paragon of virtue into a woman making mistakes and letting her heart rule her actions instead of society. And it's not only Griffin that works as a catalyst for this change but Hero's involvement with the orphanage.

Griffin is my kind of hero! He's a devil with a wicked sense of humor and a way with women. He may cultivate the reputation of a rake but he also has brilliant business skills that have kept his family in the black. Deep down he loves his family, we see this in how he treats his mother and sisters. His relationship with his brother Thomas, Hero's fiancé, is more complicated. They had a falling out years ago and now act more like acquaintances than brothers. Griffin gave me this sense of a man who would rather let the world think the worst of him than fight to show the best of him. Hero steps in and begins to change that, giving him a reason to care what she and his family think of him. Love when that happens!

The romance of Hero and Griffin runs concurrent with planning for Hero's wedding which makes for some uncomfortable situations. Once again we see the two sides of Hero - prim and proper colliding with the sensual woman hiding inside. For Griffin, he continues to encourage his rakish reputation while tackling his less-than-legal business problems. It was interesting to see Griffin try to justify his illegal business in the face of Hero's criticism. She pleads with him to stop but he sees no way to earn the money his family needs without the illegal business. It was realistic for Griffin to continue rather than instantly give in to Hero's pleas. Had he given in quickly, it would have refuted the need for the illegal business, and wealth of funds it generated.

The two secondary story lines feature Griffin's brother Thomas and Silence Hollingbrook who now runs the orphanage. Thomas was an ass, plain and simple. He displays this pompous attitude all while trying to get his former mistress back while his wedding date draws closer. I didn't care for him and cheered when Griffin knocked him on his less than perfect ass. The other story is Silence's that began in Wicked Intentions and continues with her taking over the running of the orphanage. She also has Mary Darling, the child left on her doorstep, to take care of. Silence has essentially, if not legally, adopted Mary Darling and loves her as if she were her own. I couldn't help but feel sorry for Silence after everything she's been through with still more sorrow ahead of her. She already has me impatiently waiting for her story.

The romance is steamy hot, with the chance of discovery adding to the sexual tension and excitement. Both Griffin and Hero seemed to enjoy that extra little thrill. I know I found it entertaining! Hero's rigid sense of propriety may be bent but not broken. She continues to try to do the right thing, to protect Griffin from her brother Maximus, the very powerful duke who is determined to shut Griffin's business down. The story culminates in a vicious fight, Hero in danger and Griffin realizing what's really important. Once again Hoyt delivers a delicious romance with an irresistible hero, a intriguing heroine and a cast of captivating secondary characters.

Rating: A

Books in this series ~

Wicked Intentions
Notorious Pleasures
Scandalous Desires (November 2011)


  1. I'm waiting for the third book to be released and then I'll read them. Love that you loved this book. Great review!!

  2. Her books are wonderful to read but I have yet to read this one. Your review helped me move this one to the top of my list.

  3. I haven't been to the bookstore since this one came out - but when I do make it there, maybe tomorrow, it's for sure one I'll be picking up. I've loved everything she's written and I'm excited at this one being pretty darn sure this one won't be an exception.

  4. Mary ~ Thanks! You'll have your own Elizabeth Hoyt festival when the third book comes out. :)

    Rechelle ~ With so many books to choose from it can be hard to pick what to read next. So glad I could help!

    Kristie ~ Yes, definitely get it. This is another winner. :)

  5. Glad you enjoyed it Leslie :) However, this time, I won't be tempted LOL.

  6. Leslie, I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much! I read this book last week and enjoyed it too. Griffin and Hero were definitely an interesting couple. ;P

  7. I just finished it, and I loved it. And, like, woah. The pairing for Silence? Cannot wait to read that one!

  8. Nath ~ You tried and she just doesn't work for you. I get that. Books, TV etc. that everyone raves about I don't always like.
    I still don't get the Glee craze but I know I'm in the minority. LOL

    Hils ~ I liked them together - they balance each other well.

    Lori ~ The excerpt for Silence's book was such a tease! Something to look forward to, that's for sure. :)

  9. I am totally getting on board with this series. Someone smash me over the head with something if I don't!