Blazing Midsummer Nights
Sometimes the smallest things pull me into a story. In this case, the opening setting of an outdoor party at an old southern mansion where the heroine lives pulled me in. The landlord, the party, everything about it felt welcoming. I also adore Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream so I was intrigued by a book structured around the play. But once I got past the opening scenes, the book wasn’t compelling. I would read a few pages, get bored or irritated, and put it down.
Mimi Burdette has a high level position with her father’s grocery store chain and is working hard to prove she deserves to be the next CEO; she’s even dating one of his assistants. While Dimitri is handsome, smart, and hard-working, there’s no spark between them.
Mimi isn’t like the rest of her family. While she’s in a high-pressured, high-paying job, she lives in a small apartment in an old mansion filled with quirky characters; she feels it’s a place where she can truly be herself. As the book opens, the mansion’s owners – a retired hippie couple seemingly stuck back in the 1960s – are throwing a party. Although Mimi is at the party with the boring Dimitri, the landlady decides to set her up with Xander, a hunky new tenant. The landlady gives him a “shortcut” to his apartment that leads him directly to Mimi’s bedroom, a bedroom in which she’s currently changing clothes.
Sparks abound in Mimi and Xander’s first meeting, but the two don’t actively pursue each other, they don’t have meaningful conversations in the hallway between their apartments. Instead, their “relationship” is characterized by a series of accidents. Mimi climbs up a ladder, falls, and lands in Xander’s arms. She climbs up a tree to rescue a cat, falls, and lands in Xander’s arms. She trips and ends up in his lap. Yes, there is lots of sexual action during these encounters, but I wanted more. I wanted some discussions. What do they have to ensure a long-lasting relationship other than the best sex of their life? I’m not sure, and the author didn’t convince me. Far too much happens off-page, including apparent times Mimi and Zander spend together when they’re not having sex.
There are many clever ties to A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The backyard setting for the opening party is like the magical woods in the play. Like Oberon and Titania, the owners of the mansion are estranged. When Mimi has trouble sleeping, one of the owners gives her a special blend of tea to drink. Not only does Mimi sleep, she has unbelievably erotic dreams that take place in the forest involving both Xander and Dimitri.
I’ve read and enjoyed several of Ms. Kelly’s recent romances but this isn’t one of them. If this had been my first experience with the author I doubt if I would read any more. Since I’ve liked her in the past ,I will give her another try. If you haven’t read the author, don’t start here; check through AAR’s database for some better examples of her work.