RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt


Title: Scandalous Desires
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Publication Info: Grand Central 2011
ISBN: 978-0446558938
Genre: Historical: European

Scandalous Desires This review was written by Milena. This story was nominated in the Best Historical Romance category.

The summary:     

Widowed Silence Hollingbrook is impoverished, lovely, and kind–and nine months ago she made a horrible mistake. She went to a river pirate for help in saving her husband and in the process made a bargain that cost her her marriage. That night wounded her so terribly that she hides in the foundling home she helps run with her brother. Except now that same river pirate is back…and he's asking for her help.

“Charming” Mickey O'Connor is the most ruthless river pirate in London. Devastatingly handsome and fearsomely intelligent, he clawed his way up through London's criminal underworld. Mickey has no use for tender emotions like compassion and love, and he sees people as pawns to be manipulated. And yet he's never been able to forget the naive captain's wife who came to him for help and spent one memorable night in his bed…talking.

When his bastard baby girl was dumped in his lap–her mother having died–Mickey couldn't resist the Machiavellian urge to leave the baby on Silence's doorstep. The baby would be hidden from his enemies and he'd also bind Silence to him by her love for his daughter.

And here is Milena's review:

Before everybody starts throwing vegetables at me, I should say that I glommed Elizabeth Hoyt's books in one pretty fell swoop, and Scandalous Desires were probably the point where I reached over-saturation. I know that, for many readers, a bad-boy pirate hero is swoon-worthy by definition, but I'm not one of them. If you are, our opinions will probably differ.

To be specific, I had two big problems with Mickey: first, he is described as an actual, thieving, looting and all the rest-ing pirate, only to be made into a well-not-really-harming-except-those-who-deserve-it-and-even-then-he-feels-bad-about-it guys. And, although I would not like a hero who is a real criminal, I like it even less when a pirate starts out professional, so to speak, and ends up domesticated enough that he could get a gig in the Caribbean. I like Disney franchises as much as the next gal, but this is very close to where I draw the line. And, while we're on the subject of Disney, the way Mickey was described reminded me way too often of Johnny Depp's kohl-eyed Jack Sparrow. Who is very decorative and amusing, but not exactly hero material, and the double-vision effect occasionally made me stop and shake my head while reading just to be able to take Mickey seriously. (And really, with a name like Mickey, is it any wonder I thought of Disney a lot?)

In the other corner, the heroine, Silence, is the kind of Snowhitesque heroine who is such a goody she needs at least six shoes instead of the usual two. She even gets her own dwarves-in-everything-but-stature, who may be really bad pirates by day, but moonlight as kids-and-dogs-lovin', heroine-adorin', food-smugglin' kindhearts without blinking an eyepatch. The servants in Mickey's house also all adore Silence, and Mickey adores Silence, and her family adores Silence, and Mickey's probably-daughter adores Silence, and if there's anyone in the book who doesn't adore Silence, you know that they are a bad evil person who deserves to die. Because, obviously.

To top it all, the love story itself seems as if it was heavily influenced by reading that great relationship guide, Beauty and the Beast: How to Make the Stockholm Syndrome Work for You. There are also bits that tells us the new adventures of the Ghost of St. Giles, but they don't feel connected with the rest of the story, which wasn't the case in the previous instalments of the series.

On the good side, the fairy tale that weaves through the novel was nice as always, and the melodramatic, over-the-top emotions that are Hoyt's speciality occasionally did work. However, while in some of her books I can go past the industrial-size plotholes and sudden changes of behaviour just to get the characters where they need to be for the story, in this one, there were more misses than hits. Still, I have to confess, the next one in the series, Thief of Shadows ( A | BN | K | S), is already in my TBR pile.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Sveta says:

    A plus for the funny review. I hadn’t read the book but even from summary it sounds like something I’d probably stay away from.


  2. 2
    Brendamargriet says:

    I snort laughed! 

    “To top it all, the love story itself seems as if it was heavily influenced by reading that great relationship guide, Beauty and the Beast: How to Make the Stockholm Syndrome Work for You.”

  3. 3
    Sandra says:

    In the other corner, the heroine, Silence, is the kind of Snowhitesque heroine who is such a goody she needs at least six shoes instead of the usual two.

    Yes!!! I like Hoyt, but this one was a DNF for me. Silence was such a passive-aggressive annoying bitch, I just wanted to smack her. I got about half-way, put the book down, and never picked it up again.

  4. 4
    Brunette Librarian says:

    :) Not going to throw veggies at you, but I looved this one!! :)

    I guess if I had read them all in a row, I would like it, but with a couple of months between, I really enjoyed it.

    Mickey never did seem mean or evil to me so the bad guy turned good guy thing worked for me and didn’t seem fake. I also liked Silence – she had had so many bad things happen for her that it felt good for someone to actually be good to her and enjoy her.

    I totally see your points though, I just took the book a little differently :)

  5. 5
    DesLivres says:

    Great review. I guffawed – and where can I get that great relationship guide? I hope it is correctly referenced in the phalanxes of books that rely on it.

    Do you post reviews elsewhere? If you don’t, you should.

    What is it about $%&*!! pirates!? They have visceral cultural appeal. I just don’t get it.

  6. 6
    Jaelwye says:

    I’m a ninja gal myself. Unfortunately, in Romancelandia pirates are about as popular as regency earls while Ninjas are about as popular as weresquids. Go figure.

  7. 7
    Ren says:

    I’ve been on dates with men who sprout an unmanageable number of tentacles as the evening progresses, so I speak from a place of knowledge when I say weresquids aren’t romantic hero material.

    They do appear in romance novels, but they’re more commonly tagged with the term “rapey asshat.”

  8. 8
    Azucena says:

    LMAO! Loved the review! You were able to write a funny review whereas I would have been steaming from all my blood boiling in my review of this book.

    Is it bad to say I knew I would not enjoy this book since Day 1? I was not a fan of this “couple” since the first Maiden Lane Series book, so maybe I was already biased? I told myself to be open-minded about it but the book was just awful, IMHO. All I have to say is that the real kicker is in the end: Mickey did not change. He himself said he should have just lied to Silence to make her happy. He did not feel he should change or had any regrets, and the only reason why he stopped pirating was because HE HAD TO. Not because he wanted to, not because of Silence or Mary Darling. Nice.

    Anyway, now that that is out of my system, I have to say that I LOVED Thief of Shadows. I have loved Winter since book 1, and I’m looking foward to both Lord of Darkness (Godric St. John’s book) and Duke of Midnight (Maximus Batten’s book) because out of all the characters in the series, those 3 (and Asa) are my favorites.

  9. 9

    Thanks, all who liked the review! (I’m Milena, Milerama is just my Twitter handle.) I’m certainly glad that there was no veggie-throwing after all! :)

  10. 10
    DesLivres says:

    You know, there is no logical reason why there are no ninja heroes…except maybe, I always think of them as being completely silent, sneaking about. I’m going to be expecting a weresquid in the next Anita Blake novel now.

  11. 11
    Cialina says:

    Yeah, this was more of a miss than a hit for me too. Bummer since I pretty much enjoyed the first two books of the series. Still reading the next one too though. I can’t help it.

  12. 12
    Kathryn Chungalao says:

    I hesitated reading this book(because of the pirate-hero thing) but read it anyway because of its high grade in Amazon and other reviews praising it on different book sites. It was disappointing to say the least but I guess that’s just me because tons of readers seem to love it.

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