Darling Beast is my first Elizabeth Hoyt book, and it didn’t disappoint! The 7th book in her Maiden lane series, Darling Beast has sweet romance, passionate love scenes and an intriguing plot that keeps you on the edge.
Lily Stump is a famous London actress who is out of work. She has taken shelter in a burned down theater with her maid and young son Indio. Indio and Daffodil, his pet, come across a monster while roaming around in the gardens surrounding the theater. Huge and imposing, the monster turns out to be a heathenish man who cannot speak. Lily feels sorry for the man and yet is drawn to him.
Apollo Greaves or Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam and is accused of murdering his three friends. He has lost his voice due to the brutality he suffered and is hiding out near the Harte theater, a place his friend wants to convert into a pleasure garden. Apollo has designed the gardens but is posing as a menial laborer. He comes across the young Indio and his mother and is attracted by her beauty.
The author builds suspense right from the beginning, because we know that Apollo is out to prove his innocence. Lily gradually learns about his true identity. But by then, she is already in love. The author tells us the story of the Minotaur in the background. According to Greek mythology, a Minotaur is a man-beast, or a man with the head and tail of a bullock. Every chapter begins with a little bit of the Minotaur story. The symbolism is evident in the characterization – Apollo, who has imposing looks and is feared, and Lily, the fair maiden who sees beyond the beastly exterior to recognize that Apollo has a heart of gold.
More characters are introduced in the form of Artemis, the Duchess of Wakefield, who is Apollo’s sister, and Captain Trevillion who earlier accused Apollo but now vows to hunt down the true culprit. Maude, Lily’s servant is staunchly loyal and is more like a mother figure. Indio is well mannered and happy running around with his dog as befits a child of seven.
Once Apollo and Lily get together, there is no holds barred action, or, er, hot and heavy romance between them. Scorching love scenes will keep fans of the genre happy, and it all blends in well with the story. The Duke of Montgomery is a mysterious character whose true intention is questionable.
Without giving away any more of the story, I will leave you to enjoy Darling Beast. Romance lovers and book lovers alike will love the book. For me, it wasn’t only the story, but the way it was written, and the vivid way it came alive that made me a fan of Darling Beast.