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WhiskeyintheJar Romance

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Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

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Kyraryker’s quotes

"She thought it over, but couldn’t see any immediate loopholes other than the threat of her inner slut emerging, and she could darned well control that little bitch."— Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

Darling Beast - Elizabeth Hoyt

Lily Stump or better known as Robin Goodfellow is an actress currently without a stage. Lily, along with her son and friend Maude are currently living in a badly fire damaged theatre while gardeners see to replanting and shaping up the also damaged pleasure gardens. Until the theatre is repaired Lily is making money by writing plays and having her brother sell them. Lily's life is not grand but her son Indio certainly makes it entertaining and one way Indio decides to shake things up is to befriend a Beast in the gardens, except the Beast turns out to be the mute head gardener who is really Viscount Apollo Kilbourne on the run from the King's guards as a convicted murder and escapee from Bedlam. Lily and Apollo have many reasons to keep their secrets well hidden but trusting each other might be the key to their survival.


Darling Beast is the seventh book in the Maiden Lane series but I do think it is perfectly fine to read as a standalone, I never felt lost or confused. However, while I didn't feel lost I did feel like I was missing the big payoff, as if Apollo was a character readers of the previous book had gotten to know and this was the deeply emotional happily ever after they had been waiting for. The first 40% was a bit slow moving for me, nothing externally is really happening but rather Apollo and Lily are dealing with internal complicated emotions for one another. It isn't until much later in the book that the scenery even changes and they escape the garden and theatre. Most of this is a character driven story, except for the lingering continuous story thread from the previous books involving Apollo's false murder conviction. When action ramps up in this regard the slow languid pace picks up and I started to get more involved in the story.


Lily and Apollo are both characters readers will like, if not have strong reactions to. Lily is struggling to make the best of the situation she currently finds herself in while finding herself curiously attracted (well, maybe with the way Apollo's chest looks while bathing not so curiously) to the stranger in the garden. Her guardedness, way she cares for Indio, and compassion towards Apollo make her a very sweet and strong character. Apollo's inner strength and continued pain from his confinement in Bedlam showcase a man who has been thrust into the fire only to emerge as finely forged steel. The delicateness each shows one another was the absolute strength of the novel. I must also say Ms. Hoyt knows how to write a bedroom scene (or table scene), it’s carnal without being vulgar and genuinely moving not salacious; which fits with the time period, flow, and mood of the story.


I received this book through a Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway and while I got lucky, the publisher is going to end up winning. With a few mentions in this one, I want to read Apollo's twin sister's story which is the previous book before this one but other readers have informed me that you must start at the beginning to get the full enjoyment of it, so I'm off to buy book one. I also must absolutely read Captain Trevillion’s (he originally arrested Apollo for the murders) story, the next book in the series. That makes one freebie book to five books to be purchased, well played publishers.