Updated: Apr 16
Stumblers 2: Still Stumbling may be a real bar in West Virginia, but it's also would be an excellent alternate title for this episode, as your plucky hosts try to gain their footing navigating the discussion of a book they Both Don't Like. It's an auspicious beginning as we embark on our fourteen-book-series-journey together. Join us in the slums of St. Giles for an icy hero, a pious heroine, a murder mystery, and a masked vigilante. **Something spoiled this way comes...because we're full of spoilers as always!**
Grab your copy of the book we read today, Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt, here!
Want to listen to a certain segment? Here is our outline this week:
0:00 - 09:20: Intro/Author Facts/History Fact
09:20 - 16:11: Synopsis
16:11 - 20:24: Parlour
20:24 - 56:24: General Book Discussion
We include our synopses as a semi-transcription of the episode in our blog posts. You can learn more about how we compose these by reading this article. As a reminder though, our synopses are FULL of spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk :)
Wicked Intentions Synopsis:
Our series is set not in the bright, affluent neighborhoods that are usual of Regency Romance, but instead, in the slum of St. Giles. Riddled with disease, addiction, and filth, trapped by poverty, the residents deal with many different woes than our usual heroes and heroines.
Like the heroine in our story today, the widowed Mrs. Temperance Dews. Together with her brother Winter Makepeace, they run the Unfortunate Foundling Home (check name), located on Maiden Lane, where they take in orphans and school them until they can be apprenticed out at the age of nine. And most unfortunately, the home is struggling to stay afloat since their patron, Sir Stanley Gilpin, had recently passed away and had not remembered the orphanage in his will.
On one evening when Mrs. Dews is out late to rescue a baby from the arms of her dead mother she and her associate Nell see a very peculiar sight - a silver haired Lord rising inspecting a dead body. Nell recognizes him as his silver hair makes him quite distinctive. He is Lord Caire, a man notorious for his sexual proclivities and one Not To Be Trusted. What he is doing skulking in St. Giles the pair cannot guess, but the danger of the night and the baby’s health make the women skitter away.
And they have other reasons to be skittish, for a masked man known as the Ghost of St. Giles has been roaming at night as well, and rumor has it he has taken justice into his own hands - though no one is sure what his motives are. Temperance isn’t convinced about the Ghost though - but she is smart enough to know not to linger a moment longer than necessary after dark in St. Giles.
Our hero and heroine meet because Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, needs a guide in St. Giles, and he’s heard enough about and see Mrs. Dews to know she’s respected and knows her way around. He offers to pay her to be his guide after the children are in bed, and desperate for money to keep their orphanage running, she agrees on the condition that he also introduce her to some of the ton so that she can find a new, respectable patron.
Lord Caire refuses to tell her why she is needed - and she is enlightened only during their first outing when he begins asking about a Marie Hume, his mistress, who was brutally murdered. Temperance is peeved because she would have gone to a different source and been more tactful if she knew he was enquiring about a murder.
Lazarus is a cold man with a cold reputation. This is due to a childhood that was cold and detached from any visible love, a fact that is exacerbated by his allodynia. Any touch instituted by another brings him physical pain. If he initiates the touch, then it does not hurt.
Temperance is a frustrated woman, something that Lazarus sees immediately. He realizes that she is unsatisfied with the charitable work she does at the orphanage, that it is hard for her to do and she does not enjoy it. He realizes that she is paying penance for something - and that she believes she deserves it.
The two come together nightly for their investigateions into Marie’s murder and they slowly allow their attraction to become unleashed.
While our hero and heroine start to fall for each other, there is a subplot going on as well with Temperance’s sister, Silence. She is the wife of a respectable ship captain, a happy match that feels like a honeymoon every time he returns home. However, the owner of the ship he captains refuses to pay off the criminal Charming Mickey, and so Mickey retaliates by stealing all of the cargo off his ship the night it docks. A theft this big is so impossible that Silence’s husband William will surely be implicated as an accomplice. Impassioned for her husband, Silence makes her way to Charming Mickey’s ‘castle’ in St. Giles and pleads for the return of his goods. Mickey is interested by Silence’s pluck and pleas. He bargains with her - she stays one night in his bedroom and he will return the goods. He will not touch her, and if her husband truly loves her, he will believe her when she returns to him.
When the night is over Charming Mickey has not laid one hand on Silence, but he requires her walk from his home with her bodice open. She stoically walks to Temperance whom she sees as they have been searching for her with her head held high, and insists that Charming Mickey did not touch her. But it seems all her family can’t believe that the nefarious Mickey would leave her untouched, and Silence can see that in their reactions. They appease her, but they do not believe her. Surely her own husband will though, right?
Wrong. William does not believe her, can barely look at her, and will not touch her. He is ashamed that she tried to help, and sets out on a ship as soon as he is able, leaving a devastated Silence.
Our main story climaxes during the open house of the orphanage while the ton is visiting. It’s fashion during this time to visit the poor and see how sad their lives are, and the open house is doing well, when it is noticed that one of the orphans, Temperance’s favorite, is missing. It appears she’s been kidnapped by the villain of the plot, who has also decided to burn down the orphanage with her inside it. Lord Caire makes a heroic dash inside to save Mary Whitsun and the cat soot, while all the guests and the other children escape safely to watch it burn.
Another thing they watch is the Ghost of St Giles, who appears in a motley and harlequin mask, as he jumps from the rooftops after the villain, catches her, and deposits her on ground level for the authorities, before dashing away.
Luckily, Lord Caire’s mother and Lady Hero (the daughter of a duke) have already decided to help, and offer to house the children for the meantime and then pay for the rebuilding.
In the end, Temperance and Lazarus marry, and they work together using his kink - ties and a hood - to work on his allodynia. Temperance’s touch no longer burns him, but is mildly unpleasant but not unbearable.
We do have an epilogue of sorts. Silence is alone and a bit bereft and adrift. But then one day, a basket is left on her doorstep, and in it is a sweet little girl with wild curls and a silver locket with one word inscribed in it “darling.” So Silence names her Mary Darling, and with that, she has the start of something new.