cover image Darling Beast

Darling Beast

Elizabeth Hoyt. Grand Central/Forever, $8 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-455-58630-1

Hoyt's seventh Maiden Lane Victorian romance (after Duke of Midnight) gives a unique twist to the tale of Beauty and the Beast. In mid-18th-century London, Lily Stump is a beautiful young actress trying to make ends meet for herself and her young son, Indio. While living in a burnt-out theater, Lily is drawn to a mute gardener, whom her son has nicknamed Caliban. Though initially Lily had thought that Caliban lacked intelligence, she quickly learned otherwise as he begins communicating with her through writing. Drawn to his protective kindness toward Indio, Lily is fascinated that a man as strong as he could harbor such a gentle nature. As she learns the secret behind his true identity and his greatest fear, Lily must decide whether her love for him is strong enough to weather the obstacles that threaten to destroy the possibility of their future together. Hoyt's Maiden Lane novels are always a treat, and this installment is no exception to the rule, with a fascinating hero and his resourceful damsel in distress. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (Oct.)