I'm not going to spend a lot of time and words on Lord of Darkness. It was disappointing in so many ways and came close to being a DNF for me. Why not just chunk it in the bag for the used book store? Well, I'll get to that in a minute.
First, I found "Megs" perplexing and, at times, selfish mixed in with a heaping dose of "stupid." The sum total of Megs just left me numb with boredom, not a little puzzled, and a more than a tad angry. Megs has two goals: wreak vengeance on the Ghost of St. Giles whom she believes murdered Roger, her erstwhile fiancé, and to have another baby.
I don't know how many times she utters the word "baby", and I refuse to go back and count. The "I want a baby" plot was weird to me, and it felt almost as if she thought another child could replace or was interchangeable with the one she miscarried despite being fathered by a different man, a man she didn't love at all. Godric saves letters written by Megs while she's recuperating from her miscarriage and grieving Roger's death at his country estate, Laurelwood. These letters didn't sound like a woman who was so depressed and grief-stricken that her brother worried about her willingness to go on living. Instead, they were friendly, light-hearted, and full of a slice of life at Laurelwood. It just didn't jibe with the picture of Megs who was almost catatonic at the end of Thief of Shadows.
Godric was a problem, too. He gives this very emotional speech about the love of his life, Clara, and why he has never "lain" with any other woman after he married Clara and never will.
"Anything else would be a parody of intimacy." (P. 73)
I grieved for him having to watch the love of his life slowly waste away. I understood the depth of emotion for his wife and why he felt there was no one else for him. I loved him for his devotion to Clara even as I wished him to find happiness again. I found his speech to Megs poignant and honest and heartbreaking. Yet within a very short amount of time, he reverses himself, consummates his marriage to Megs, and becomes angry with her because she appears to be using him as a substitute for Roger and won't respond sexually as he would like. There was no rhyme or reason, nor sufficient time, to make his volte-face credible for me. Even more surprising was his confession to Meg at the end that he'd been in love with her since the second letter she wrote to him shortly after their marriage two years ago.
I was dismayed that the "lassie snatcher" plot line continues in Lord of Darkness. Once again, the Ghost is capering atop roof tiles in search of hidey-holes full of little girls forced to make clocked lace stockings for aristocratic ladies and smiting all the evil doers with his mighty sword. It would've added a depth to the book if this plot thread had been expanded just a little, and I found it hard to become emotionally involved in this aspect of the story. Instead of little girls crying out for the Ghost to right this wrong, to wreak his vengeance on the ones who kidnapped them, to rescue them from beatings, starvation and murder once their usefulness was outlived, they seemed, instead, to be shadowy nebulous creatures at best and a tired recycled plot device at worst.
I really came close to chunking this book in the UBS bag about half way through, but I have liked Artemis Greaves since the first time she shows up as companion to the irritating Lady Penelope (and despite the author's using her and the Duke of Wakefield in this book as a rather obvious set up for the last book in this series). She's a quiet, unpretentious character who has hidden depths that I hope are explored and expounded upon. Also, Artemis's relationship with her brother, Apollo, was intriguing while Megs and Godric were . . .not. At this point, I'm not holding out much hope for my too-high expectations of Duke Of Midnight, but I'm interested enough to give the last book in the Maiden Lane series a try. Sadly, Duke of Midnight will most likely be my last book by this author unless something changes drastically.