I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane, #10.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane #10.5
Published by Forever Yours on July 5th 2016
“‘I am Hippolyta Royle, the wealthiest heiress in England. I’ve been kidnapped by a scoundrel bent on forcing me into marriage. If you bring me safely back to my father in London you shall be richly rewarded.’
The man blinked as a raindrop ran down his nose.
Then he burst into laughter.”
FINAL DECISION: For a novella, this is superior. The novella manages to squeeze in a lot of romance, danger, drama, sexual tension, witty arguments and banter and a mongoose. I am happy that Hippolyta ends up with an unusual man who can understand and appreciate her fully.
THE STORY: This novella answers the question from DUKE OF SIN of “what happened to Hippolyta after she escaped from the Duke of Montgomery?” The answer is that the heiress stopped a coach on the road and ended up making her escape. Hippolyta is the wealthiest heiress in England, but she has a secret. The truth is that her father was married to an Indian woman and Hippolyta is the result of that union. Despite her love for her deceased mother, Hippolyta hides the truth in order to not damage her marriage prospects. After escaping, Hippolyta is dressed in rags, is dirty and stinks. It is no wonder that Matthew Mortimer, the Earl of Paxton believes Hippolyta to be an actress of other grifter. Matthew, a cartographer, has unexpectedly inherited the earldom and will need to marry an heiress because of the estate’s debts. The funny thing is that he doesn’t realize that the woman he picks up on the road would fit that bill.
OPINION: Novellas as never as satisfying as a full length novel. That being said, I prefer to judge the novella on its own merits without wishing for some other format. For a novella, this is superior. The novella manages to squeeze in a lot of romance, danger, drama, sexual tension, witty arguments and banter and a mongoose.
I thought that the characters were eminently likeable even though Matthew jumps to conclusions about Hippolyta in the beginning. Despite believing her an actress or whore, he treats her with respect – even though the two argue like crazy. Although the length of the novella precludes complex situations or characters, these characters are not one dimensional.
I liked the characters, thought the story was funny and sweet and I enjoyed the way these two argued and eventually fell in love. Hoyt also does a great job of bringing both a road trip story and a blackmail story together and making the pace work.
As the Maiden Lane series wraps up, I especially appreciate that Hoyt has made the time and effort to give readers this novella to finish up Hippolyta’s story and give her a happy ending.
WORTH MENTIONING: The fairy tale for this one is The Prince and the Parsnip. I love the parsnip part which is so much more fairy tale than a carrot.
CONNECTED BOOKS: ONCE UPON A MOONLIT NIGHT is book 10.5 in the Maiden Lane series. It can be read as a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this novella 4.5 stars.