Paperback, 375 pages
Published August 25th 2009
Lady Arabella Blydon can sense the secrets smoldering behind the dark, penetrating gaze of Lord John Blackwood. Still she desires this handsome, mysterious stranger who stirs her passions like no other man--even as he warns her to stay away.
War scarred Lord John's body and soul. But this brazen, intoxicating, infuriating bluestocking poses an even greater threat: she is forcing him to care again. For Belle is a woman of bold, independent spirit, equally unconcerned about society's petty restrictions and love's hidden perils. And the beautiful, determined schemer will not rest until she returns joy and light to the damaged lord's life...and wins a place in his shuttered heart forever.
I love the cover of this book. It reminds of Cinderella. Seriously, doesn't that look exactly like the scene where Cinderella is dancing with the prince before the clock strikes midnight? Even the title suggests Cinderella, since it has the word midnight in it. I should clarify--this is me musing, the book is not a fairy tale twist. It's own story. But I was drawn in because it reminded me of Cinderella *grin* I've become a fan of Julia Quinn, and needed a historical romance fix so she seemed like the perfect author to pick up, especially once I saw the cover.
John: John is not as tortured as I thought he'd be. He saw something terrible happen in the war in Spain, and blames himself. It's not his fault at all, but he does blame himself. Even so, since Bella draws him out of himself so much, he's not the tortured, almost gothic hero I was expecting. I quite like John. He feels things very deeply, and he's willing to take a chance on Bella. He almost ruins it with her of course, but he didn't waste any time getting to London to get her back when he thought she really was out of his reach. He was very caring and protective, and I loved the way he kept proposing to Bella with poetry. He could never fool her, and he did pick some beautiful passages--and I was happy I recognized most of them! He does eventually write his own poem, nothing as grand as Byron, of course, but he made Bella very happy with his clumsy rhymes.
Bella: What a stubborn, intelligent woman. I really admired her. She had spunk, and she loved to read and she wasn't afraid to make her man see that he loved her. She wanted to heal John because he needed that, and she immediately saw the goodness in him. She was a risk taker--she spoke her mind, pushed John, asked her brother to get her Byron's poetry since the lady's bookshop did not sell it (Byron was considered too racy, and with poems like To Caroline who could blame them, considering the times) and refused to let John face danger alone. She was loving and giving and those are traits I admire in any character.
Overall, the novel was well written and funny. The characters were alive and witty. The story about the solider trying to kill John seemed to drag on a bit however, but the romance was in turns sweet, sexy, tender and just beautiful. Great romantic getaway.
4 glittering stars