Author: Lisa Kleypas
Published: 2007, St. Martin's
Category: Historical Romance
I have to quote Smart Bitch Sarah here because she nailed my feelings about Kleypas:
Anyway, as I was saying, Kleypas = candy. Not the Malaysian kind or the crapass grocery store chocolate kind, but the kind of candy that you stop and devote a good few minutes to enjoying, doing nothing else but savoring the calories that add nothing to your life nutritionally but make you feel happy and indulgent.May the many thousands of Kleypas fans forgive me, but I've read and enjoyed several Kleypas books and they just don't stick with me for long. And Mine Till Midnight was the same way.
This is the start of what is to be a new series for her, I think. Amelia Hathaway is the oldest daughter of a slightly disreputable family. Since her parents are dead, Amelia is the one who takes care of everybody--no easy feat. Her older brother has recently inherited a title, which unfortunately comes with a crumbling estate and no money. He's also just lost his fiancee to scarlet fever and seems determined to completely self-destruct. The book opens with Amelia searching the gambling halls of London for him. She finally tracks him to one called Jenner's, where she meets Cam Rohan, the half-gypsy who manages it. Instant attraction as he helps her find and retrieve her brother. It seems like they will never see each other again, but of course they run into each other again when the Hathaways move to their new estate, which happens to lie right beside one of Cam's friends' (Lord Westerwhosit from one of the Wallflower books). Cam comes to the rescue as Amelia struggles more and more to keep her family together.
I think I was having mood swings while reading this book. The first scene (when Cam and Amelia meet) annoyed me, then as I got further into the book I was loving it, and then by the end I was irritated again. The scene in London just seemed so full of treacly romantic cliches: "A little shock ran through her as their gazes met." "A ripple of nervousness went through her, leaving an unfamiliar heat in its wake." "The countenance of an exotic angel..." "He wanted to unwrap her like a long-awaited gift." Blergh. The book almost got tossed. But then I started to be charmed by the quirkiness of the Hathaways. They are a really lovable family: gentle Win, cheerful Poppy, kleptomaniac Beatrix. Even the surly brother was well done -- their feelings of helplessness as he self-destructs seemed the perfect mixture of frustration and sadness.
My irritation at the end was caused by the fact that no-nonsense, take-charge Amelia becomes a complete pushover. SPOILER ALERT!! Cam just decides that they'll be married -- he doesn't even ask her. She resists a bit even though she loves him (and who could blame her -- in those days you would be a social outcast if you married a Gypsy), but he just seduces her and she goes along with it. He fixes everything: the house, Merripen's illness, Beatrix's little problem. Now I can understand that it's nice to have a man who can help out, but does he have to do everything?
And then he goes all possessive: "You are never to be alone with him, or any man, except your brother or Merripen. Unless I give my permission." She is upset by this, but she literally gets half a sentence out, and then he kisses her into submission. Argh! I just couldn't like the ending. It was nice to see Amelia loosen up and learn to share her burdens, but it went way too far out of character for her.
Okay, that was sort of a lot of complaining, though I did enjoy most of the book. And I'm sure I'll read Win's book when it comes out.