Mine Till Midnight (#90 on AAR's Top 100 Romances)
An AAR Top 100 Romance
originally reviewed on September 26, 2007
Lisa Kleypas was one of the first romance authors I read and is one of the few from my early days I still read voraciously. A solid half of her books are on my DIK list, so when I got the chance to review her new historical, I was thrilled. While this book isn’t quite as fantastic as some of her older books, Mine Till Midnight is a solid contribution to Kleypas’s impressive backlist.
Though not technically linked to her Wallflower series, this book includes visits from some of the characters featured in those books. Our heroine, Amelia Hathaway, is the spinster sister of the new Lord Ramsay. Once a talented architect, Ramsay has combined severe depression with the wastrel lifestyle of the ton – drinking, gambling, whoring – to such extremes that they will likely put him in an early grave. Amelia is trying to keep her family together and her brother safe and unexpectedly finds aid from the half-gypsy factotum of Jenner’s Gambling Club, Cam Rohan.
Cam is caught between two worlds – the world of the Roma, which he was forced to abandon as a child, and that of the decadent upper class. His “good luck curse” has given him riches beyond his needs or desires, despite all efforts to lose his material goods. Cam is suffering from ennui when Amelia comes, with her slightly managing ways, looking for her brother. He is attracted to her wholesomeness, and steals a number of kisses from her, believing he will never see her again.
But when the Hathaways move into Ramsay house, near Stony Cross (the Westcliff home from It Happened One Autumn), they encounter each other again and Cam continues to aid Amelia in her never-ending quest to keep her family from falling into shambles. Along the way, he faces the decision to continue living the life of the gadji with Amelia, or return to the life of the Roma.
Cam is a typical Kleypas hero, in that he is not a peer, however, he is separated from that life in two ways. Not only is he a man who has worked his way up from rags to riches, he faces prejudices against his race as well. This proves to be a major plot point, and one that is understandable in this time period. Cam is a lot of opposites rolled into one package, and the dichotomy of his character gives him more substance than many heroes.
Amelia is a little less complex, but still charming in her own way. She’s a bit managing, and a complete mother figure. Even if her loved ones don’t wholly appreciate her efforts, she has good intentions and really cares about her family and for Cam. She does do some things that are foolish and, in my opinion, done with very little reason, but overall she’s a likable character.
My sole problem occurred within the book’s climax, when multiple events take place. To say more would provide spoilers, but some of those events are borderline deus ex machina.
Mine Till Midnight is another example of Kleypas’ skill as a writer. I know many readers count on her for a good read, and this new book can be relied upon to provide it.