Tuesday, July 5, 2016

seriously romantic: once upon a moonlit night by elizabeth hoyt

the first formally published novella of the maiden lane series, once upon a moonlit night tells the story of hippolyta royle, the poor woman kidnapped and blackmailed by the hero of the previous entry in the series, duke of sin. sometimes i wish val's motives were clearer, because one tends to love him so much in spite of his badness, that for some bizarre reason you start victim-blaming. except, really, it's all very badly done of valentine. and other than feeling societal pressure to hide the truth of her birth, miss royle has done nothing wrong.

the novella opens just where we last had the misfortune of seeing miss royle in duke of sin, in an impossible, terrified flight away from the duke of montgomery's ancestral home. she's on the run, bedraggled from being kidnapped and held captive. when she stops the carriage of matthew mortimer, only recently the earl of paxton, he grants her safe passage to the next town but he doesn't believe her when she claims to be an heiress.

circumstances keep them together, and as they ride together to london they are drawn to one another. because of the short format, this isn't a slow burn romance. they meet and are attracted to one another. and i could say more about how they get together, but it's more fun to read about it yourself. needless to say that these two characters are perfect together, and matthew makes hippolyta likable. previous encounters with her in the earlier novels didn't really endear her to me. so it was nice to be inside her head and not hate her. the villain of the piece for once isn't actually the duke of montgomery. which makes sense. he's busy with his new bride.

we do get to see characters from the earlier novels in the series, once everyone is back in london. but truly, the best parts of the novella are when matthew and hippolyta are alone together. and luckily that is the bulk of the story.

**once upon a moonlit night is available starting today as an ebook, so be sure to check online retailers for it. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing in exchange for my honest review. 

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