Stroke of Midnight
Fairy tale retellings seem to be constantly popular. Variations of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White are all over the place, just to name a few. Instead of retelling the story of Cinderella, Stroke of Midnight brings in that one piece of magic that make the HEA happen – the glass slipper. And if there was ever someone in need of magic, our heroine, Laura, definitely fits the bill.
Ten years ago, Laura Faulkner’s father was accused of being a jewel thief, and arrested by none other than Laura’s beau Alexander Ross, the Earl of Copley. Forced to flee London, Laura and her father live a quiet life in Portugal, until, unexpectedly, her father returns to London. Laura follows him back, only to discover that he was murdered on the streets, and buried in a pauper’s grave. Now determined to prove his innocence, Laura has taken a position as companion to the elderly Lady Josephine.
Unfortunately for Laura, Lady Josephine is also the beloved aunt of the Earl of Copley, and he sees straight through her attempts at disguise. Learning of her plans to clear her father’s name, Alex blackmails her into accepting his help. And his marriage proposal. But while he doesn’t agree with Laura about her father, he knows that there is something else going on beneath the glitter of society, and is determined to keep Laura safe.
I love the “we meet again” premise in romance novels, especially since Laura and Alex’s back-story involves jewel theft, an attack, and fleeing the country. And somehow, it works. I believed that Alex regrets what happened (even if he still thinks her father is guilty), and I believed Laura falling for him all over again. There were a few things I had a harder time following (Laura not being arrested as an accomplice and the housekeeper, to name a few), but I’d say overall the story worked pretty well.
And the magic slippers – whose only real magic is giving confidence to the wearer (not hard to do in beautiful and comfortable shoes) – were a nice touch. I did not read the first in this series, but it seems to be the overall theme of these books, from the AAR review on If the Slipper Fits.
Overall, the characters worked well individual and with each other, the light Cinderella touch was nice, and the mystery addition worked well in the story and in getting our couple their HEA. It may not be a DIK, but it is a cute book overall.