Winter Makepeace is the manager of the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children, Lady Isabel Beckinhall is part of a syndicate of wealthy women helping the home financially so their paths frequently cross. While he annoys her by being so solemn and rigid, there is something about him that intrigues her. Winter has dedicated his life to helping the poor of St Giles and has no intention of allowing himself to become involved with a woman now or in the future. There is also the matter of a major secret he hides, one which could cost him his home and his life.
I really enjoyed this book. This is the fourth in the Maiden Lane series and I really recommend you read the previous three before starting this one. It follows on immediately from where book three finishes and it will definitely ruin earlier books if you read this first.
The traditional protagonists roles were reversed here, Isabel is the experienced woman – a widow who has had the odd lover since her husband died, while Winter is totally inexperienced in matters of both the heart and making love. Together they make quite the odd couple, add in the fact that Winter is a normal person while Isabel is high born and things start to get complicated.
I cannot say too much about the plot without ruining previous books so I will just go on about how much I loved it. Winter has been an ever present character in previous books but we have had very little information about him so it was great to get more insight into his character. It is also very unusual to find a man in these types of books so inexperienced, although I have to say he is a quick learner, it did not spoil the story at all and the sex was still hot hot hot! As with all these books there is a side story going on, a mystery of sorts which Winter is right in the middle of.
One of the things I like about this series is more time is spent dealing with the seedier part of London than with the ballrooms and musicales. We get an insight into how hard life was in the slums of London in the Georgian era and how important it was that places like the Home for Unfortunate infants existed. While this is fiction I have no doubt things were as bad as described, if not worse, and at times it was heartbreaking.
If you have not yet read Elizabeth Hoyt and you enjoy historical romance this series is definitely for you. Start with book one – Wicked Intentions. If you have already read the previous books in the series, what are you waiting for? I think this is the best so far.