Series: Spindle Cove #3
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Avon on 28 August 2012
A Lady by Midnight is the tale of Kate Taylor and Corporal Samuel Thorne. Although the premise is great, it isn’t as funny as the previous novel. Kate is an orphaned music teacher in Spindle Cove who only remembers a song and a phrase from her youth. Samuel has tried to keep his distance from her until he comes across her one day in town. He rescues her from a wayward carriage and takes her back to Spindle Cove where they find the Gramercy family waiting for her. This uber-rich titled family are convinced that Kate is a long lost relative and they want to sweep her away Cinderella style. Thorne of course isn’t having any of it and promptly announces that he is betrothed to Kate. Now they have to convince everyone in the village they are desperately in love until they can work out what angle the Gramercy’s are working. Let the games begin.
The large birthmark on Kate’s face and her orphan status make her an unattractive prospect so she remained on the shelf. She longs for a family but due to a cruel twist of fate she cannot remember anything before she was placed in an orphanage. Despite her difficult past Kate remains (overly) cheerful and compliments the sullen, gruff Thorne. Kate wasn’t able to ‘fix’ Thorne and reverse the effects of his difficult past but she is able to take the edge off him. Thorne grew up in a bawdy house, got into a bit of trouble during his youth and is obviously suffering from PTSD. He obviously needs Kate even though he tries to push her away due to his low self-esteem. He has a violent streak in him and at times you get the impression he is only just holding it within. I got irritated with his ‘I won’t kiss Kate ever again, except for this once or twice or three times…’ thing.
The Gramercy’s are suitably unconventional to the point that Harry is an out-of-the-closet lesbian. I was impressed with the Gramercy’s willingness to accept an illegitimate Kate but unfortunately the storyline took a different and more conventional turn. Dare’s characters are distinctly 21st century women plonked in a regency setting. They often use contemporary slang, are far more liberated than women of the time. They are also obviously not fettered by societal expectations and much like book 1 seem to be way too enlightened for the era.
The plot is fairly straightforward and I enjoyed finding out about Kate and Thorne’s mutual past. There was no great climax though and the ending bordered on the ridiculous. I thought the pacing was a bit off with the surfeit of coincidences and it affected my enjoyment.
It is a relatively enjoyable read but I couldn’t help comparing it to the previous novel and finding it wanting.