|Readers of the Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt will not be surprised that book four, Thief of Shadows, brings forward dark and almost surly Winter Makepiece, the manager of the foundling home in St. Giles, the most horrible part of London. They will also not be surprised to discover that stern Mr. Makepiece is the law-breaking and audacious Ghost of St.Giles, a vigilante who roams the streets of the neighborhood righting wrongs and saving the innocent and the guilty alike.
Widow Lady Isabel Beckinhall is one of the orphanage's patronesses and has been appointed the duty by her compatriots of making Mr. Makepiece more presentable to the society that provides his orphanage with its income. It cannot be said too often that Lady Beckinhall and Mr. Makepiece have little in common - except for the fact that few people see beneath the facade each puts on in public.
Having recently saved the Ghost of St. Giles during a riot, Isabel finds it odd to say the least that she feels the same draw to Winter Makepiece that she did to the daring Ghost. As she gets to know Winter better during their innuendo-strewn lessons, she comes to realize that the Ghost is Winter's exact opposite and his alter-ego.
But the Ghost and Winter Makepiece are both in danger: Winter, of losing his position and home if he can't sufficiently prove his merit to a society that doesn't understand St. Giles in the slightest, and the Ghost of hanging if ever the soldiers or guards get their hands on him for a murder recently committed in a better part of town against a gentleman.
With surprising suspense and a great insight into the human psyche, Hoyt has created not only a novel but a series that - though, yes, comprised of bodice-ripping romances - also digs into the societal issues so often overlooked when history meets fiction. Fans of Meredith Duran would definitely appreciate the Maiden Lane series, and Thief of Shadows in particular. And, for those of you looking for a bit of a twist in the scoundrel-meets-blushing-maid routine, our hero is the virgin in this story and Isabel the older and experienced "rake."