The best thing about the story: the hero, Winter Makepeace. He is, by all outward appearances, this drab, stuffy, severe man who runs a home for foundling children. But there is so much more to him than meets the eye. While he toils away for the orphans by day... by night, he is a masked protector of the downtrodden... the Ghost of St. Giles.
Lady Isabel happens across Winter's alter-ego after he has been injured. She finds him unconscious in the road and rescues him from an angry mom. Isabel brings him home and tends his injuries, having no idea that it's really Winter she is attending. Once he regains consciousness, however, Winter recognizes her as one of the patronesses of his orphanage. He sees her in a whole new light, but he doesn't stick around to get to know her better.
In fact, with his attraction towards her, Winter thinks distance is the best option. After all, he has stayed celibate on purpose, devoting all of his energies into his mission to help the helpless. A relationship would only weaken his devotion to his cause. His plans to avoid Isabel fail spectacularly, however. When one of the other patronesses suggests he needs some social tutoring, Isabel is nominated for the job. Either he cooperates or he could lose the orphanage that he holds so dear.
It's almost like Winter has two distinct personalities: his headmaster side and his Ghost side. Both are so fascinating and well developed. He was so well-crafted, he felt like a real person. An honorable, driven, loyal, sexy, virgin-person. (*fans self*) I loved watching him struggle with his growing feelings for Isabel. His concerns about being beneath her in station; his worries about failing the children who need him; his sexual awakening. It was all. So. Good.
I didn't love Isabel quite so much, but I didn't dislike her. She has had to harden herself in the wake of tough blows. She, too, struggles with her feelings in the relationship. It takes her a little longer than Winter to come around, but she gets there. The sexual tension is fantastic --and the sex is really, really hot.
I would definitely recommend this one.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
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Thief of Shadowsby Elizabeth HoytRelease Date: June 26, 2012Publisher: Grand Central Publishing