I’ve been following Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series with a devotion that borders on obsession. So when I learned that the cover of book five, February 2013’s Lord of Darkness, had just been released, well, there’s no way I was going to pass up the chance to chat about the upcoming novel. As I tend to — I have some pretty serious thoughts about the book ahead of us.

Frankly, I love these Georgian-era historical romances. The almost-Gothic feeling of the books offer a stark contrast to the lighter Regency romances that are much more common in the genre. And if the unusual overtones weren’t enough to get me hooked on the series (which I have to admit — they were), Hoyt’s witty way with words, clever character banter and steamy sex scenes are more than enough to make me flip the pages with gusto.

So, let’s chat for a moment about what we now know about Lord of Darkness. The cover is undeniably feminine and beautiful, but my interest was already piqued before the cover and blurb were ever released. During Thief of Shadows, which RT’s Morgan and I Dished about after its release last month, we met the upcoming novel’s hero Godric St. John and heroine Lady Margaret Redding. 

** WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD **

One thing that readers know about the couple is that Margaret is pregnant and Godric is not the father. Now normally, I don't like romances with knocked-up heroines. Too often authors rely on impending-baby drama to push the plot ahead. Honestly, few things make me put a book down faster than when a new, unfurling relationship gets upstaged by the “look at my belly growing” scenes that go along with having a baby on board. (And I’ll be the first to say that this is probably partially because I have never been pregnant nor raised a child, but no matter the reason, I am simply in the “don’t be a preggerz heroine" camp.)

Okay, so you’re clear on my position on reading novels with leading ladies who are “in a family way”?

Forget all of that.

I can’t wait to read about Lady Margaret and her (hopefully) happily ever after. Back in ToS, Lady M and her secret fiancé, let’s say ... celebrated their wedding night a little early. And just after the Soon-To-Be-Mr.-Lady-M is been cut down in his prime, allegedly murdered by the Ghost of St. Giles, readers find out that the grieving lady’ll soon be eating for two. However, this young miss doesn’t simply sit back and retreat from the world, she swears vengeance on the fiend who killed her lover. Pretty badass, right?

Nonetheless, this is Georgian England we’re talking about, and an unmarried well-bred lady — and youngest sister of several handsome titled gentlemen (who have me hoping they’ll get books of their own down the line) — can’t just “pop out a baby” and then go back to life as usual. Instead she needs to find a husband and fast. Enter the widower Godric St. John, who has kept a low profile ever since his beloved wife died a few years ago. He's got drama of his own but it's pretty widly agreed that the man is in need of a new wife.

Together the pair enters into a marriage of convenience, never guessing that they’re on opposite sides of a critical issue. She’s sworn to make the Ghost of St. Giles pay for his crimes, namely for killing her baby’s father. But her new husband is the Ghost.

All of which leads up to this moment that is mentioned in the back cover blurb of Lord of Darkness and that I can not, let me say it again, c-a-n-space-n-o-t, wait to read:

The mysterious masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles, his only goal is to protect the innocent of London. Until the night he confronts a fearless lady pointing a pistol at his head—and realizes she is his wife …

Right? I’m expecting this to be straight up fantastic. And the cover does an amazing job of conveying that Lady M is drawn to her husband despite herself. They are having a meeting of the minds but Margaret’s back is to the man. Yet, she can’t help but turn toward his caress. And if that weren’t enough, her arm is out — maybe caught in that moment when pushing him away turns into pushing his shirt off his shoulder? Additionally, a detail-oriented reader will note that Margaret has one hand protectively over her baby-belly. But there's more to this, too. Just to the right of M's hand, you can see Godric’s hand is creeping closer, as though to say, “I’ll cherish this child as much as you do — and as much as I’d cherish you — if only you let me.” Talk about torment!

But the torment that the characters feel on the inside does not extend to the outside and the cover's color scheme. The beautiful aquas and pinks point directly to the more romantic aspects of the story. I asked the author what she thought about the cover. Here is what she had to say:

Lord of Darkness is a story about renewal — both the hero and heroine have suffered the loss of their first loves — and the gorgeous apple blossom colors on the cover perfectly express the story's theme. Also, this is the first cover I've had with the hero's face — and it's quite nice, isn't it?”

Quite nice, indeed! It is fantastic and I pretty much plan to be living in a permanent state of excitement until February 26, 2013 when Lord of Darkness hits shelves — what about you? Let me know in the comments below. You can also see this blog post from the author that takes you behind the scenes of making a romance novel cover. And for all the latest genre news be sure to check out RT’s Everything Romance Page!

Tags: RT Daily Blog, Romance
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