This is the 5th book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series. The story had its ups and downs, but it was mostly a good read. Our hero and heroine (Godric and Megs) don’t have the normal historical romance marriage of convenience – she was pregnant with another man’s child when they married and Godric wanted to hide his secret life as the Ghost of St. Giles. (Although Godric admits that due to his late wife’s prolonged illness/death, he did not really care what direction his life would take, as long as he could help the underprivileged in St. Giles.) Megs miscarried and stayed away for 2 years before returning unannounced with several family members in tow, disrupting Godric’s solitary existence.
Godric was not my favorite hero. He alienated his stepmother and half-sisters when he was younger for no reason other than he did not want his father to remarry. He has no friends, only one lone servant, and even with his role as a shining knight to the neglected and mistreated, he was a little dull. Megs talked constantly, although it seemed that she did much of it to make up for awkward or uncomfortable silences. She didn’t prattle on, or at least Godric didn’t mind it.
Strangely, I could have done with less sex in this book. I loved seeing how Megs’ letters of everyday occurrences from the past 2 years gave Godric the home life he needed, even if it was from several miles away. And Megs, having lost the man she loved to murder and then his child when she miscarried, struggled with her feelings for Godric. I thought they were both at their best when they talked of normal things.
There were several secondary characters that seemed to stand out more than usual: the young housekeeper Mrs. Crumb, Moulder the butler, Mrs. St. John the stepmother, Artemis & the Duke of Wakefield (although these two are the H/H in the next book), even Her Grace, the wayward dog, & her puppies. They didn’t get a large number of lines, but they were all noticeable and made their presence known each time they were on the page. They didn’t actually overshadow Godric and Megs, but I liked Godric’s & Megs’ interaction with them just as much as when Godric and Megs were alone together.
There are still bad things happening in St. Giles that need the attention of the Ghost of St. Giles, although at one point, I agreed with one of the characters who suggested bringing in the local authority. We get the backstory of how the Ghost came to be and from the teaser for the next book, he continues to live on.
Elizabeth Hoyt is an excellent storyteller, and while this may not be a favorite of mine, I think fans of the Maiden Lane series will like this book.