"Once Upon a Maiden Lane" has Hoyt's characteristic humor and gritty sweetness along with the edge of a twist.
I really did love Mary. She has this grace in the face of change and a fiery backbone of titanium. It was a pleasure watching her negotiate her way through the many changes that came her way.
I liked Henry for his understanding and patience, but I thought that perhaps he could be a little too understanding of the crazy of his class. I liked that he redeemed himself in the end, but I had serious side-eye at his willingness to marry his best friend's beloved at the beginning.
The ending had a twist, one that both serves the story, making it the sweeter and grittier, more in line with the rest of the Maiden Lane stories. It's hard to imagine how Hoyt continues to pull off the magic, ten plus books into a series, but I'm still hooked.
A stand-alone novella from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt!
Miss Mary Whitsun is far too intelligent to fall for the rakish charms of a handsome aristocrat. But when the gentleman in question approaches her in a bookshop, mistaking her for his fiancée, Lady Johanna Albright, the flirtatious encounter only raises more questions. Could Mary, a servant raised in a St Giles orphanage, actually be Lady Joanna's long-lost twin sister? If so, Mary has been betrothed since birth---to the rakishly handsome artistocrat himself . . .
Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, is far too intrigued by Mary to let her go so easily. He's drawn to her sharp mind, indomitable spirit, and the fiery way in which she dismisses him---ladies simply don't dismiss Lord Blackwell. But as Mary makes her first hesitant steps into society, she can't help but wonder if she truly has a place in Henry's world---or in his heart.