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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare

Format: epub (purchased)
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Purchase Links: Amazon l Kindle l Barnes and Noble l Nook 

A temporary engagement, a lifetime in the making . . .

After years of fending for herself, Kate Taylor found friendship and acceptance in Spindle Cove—but she never stopped yearning for love. The very last place she'd look for it is in the arms of Corporal Thorne. The militia commander is as stone cold as he is brutally handsome. But when mysterious strangers come searching for Kate, Thorne steps forward as her fiance. He claims to have only Kate's safety in mind. So why is there smoldering passion in his kiss?

Long ago, Samuel Thorne devoted his life to guarding Kate's happiness. He wants what's best for her, and he knows it's not marriage to a man like him. To outlast their temporary engagement, he must keep his hands off her tempting body and lock her warm smiles out of his withered heart. It's the toughest battle of this hardened warrior's life . . . and the first he seems destined to lose.

I stayed up ALL NIGHT reading this book, I just couldn't put it down for something so meager as sleep. Now it's time for the review and I have no words, I agonized over this review for HOURS because I wanted it to convey as much of my thoughts and feelings without revealing too much of the story and I hope I managed.

A Lady by Midnight is the lovely and optimistic Kate Taylor's turn as heroine and she doesn't waste a second of the reader's time. Nor does Spindle Cove's resident grouch and all around too serious hero, Corporal Thorne. What caught and held readers' attention in the first and second book is definitely present in this one. While I loved the heroines and the heroes in A Night to Surrender (book 1) and A Week to Be Wicked (Book 2), I really wanted to see Kate get her happy ending. She's been through more than Susanna and Minerva put together and yet she still finds a reason to keep smiling, and being kind to those around her. Kate is a really special character to me. Her yearning for people to call "family" and her courage to keep going forward when others around her try to put her down was very touching but it left her very vulnerable at times.

Enter Corporal Thorne, now I wasn't sure there was a vulnerable bone in his body. I was sure the man was just a breathing block of stone for all the emotion he showed, but with Kate's easy and accepting manner she began chipping away at that stone block in no time. You have to admire a woman who isn't afraid of a man like that. As the story progressed, the reason for Thorne's seeming indifference towards Kate is explained and shows him to be more than just a militia man. Though he denies he has emotions, let alone a heart, his actions continuously make a liar out of his words, he became, in my mind a tough as nails teddy bear with teeth, ready to defend Kate with his very life. The secret that binds him to Kate, without a doubt, when revealed, shows he has had a long standing affection for her that survived over many years and grew into a tender, healing love that neither expected.

While the plot for A Lady by Midnight isn't a new one, it definitely doesn't feel overused, unimaginative or even boring. It's anything but. I'm always amazed how an author can take a well known plot, in this case the "Orphan who discovers she has a long lost family but said family may not be what they claim so now the hero must step out of the shadows and protect her" and spin a lovely tale with all the right ingredients: Mystery, suspense, passion, romance, humor and of course a happy ending.

Kate and Thorne are a great couple, okay technically they've spent most of the series doing one or more of the following in regards to the other: Glaring, frowning, cursing, staring, insulting or ignoring. So I knew it was going to be fun(ny) to watch these two opposites fall in love and heal each other. I saw their story as a slow burn, a small flame ambling its way towards a powder keg. Well you know what will happen once that tiny, slow moving flame reaches the keg right? Exactly what happens with Kate and Thorne. Apart they're likable but tortured characters. Together they're explosive, interesting and hopeful. I do think that Kate has taken up a place in my heart as one of my favorite characters ever created because of her need and desire to have a family that will claim her and love her no matter what. I fully identify with that aspect of her character and understand her wanting a family. I know I'd love to be adopted by a family like the Gramercys, eccentricities and all.

And can we talk about the Gramercys? I know some people may not enjoy such a loud, eccentric group of people but I do. They provided a bit of comedic relief from all the angst and emotional turmoil going on with Kate and Thorne. I do hope that they'll appear in future books as I've grown very fond of them. Each member is special to me in a different way, though that Evan has all the makings of a hero *hint hint*

Overall, A Lady by Midnight continues to uphold Tessa Dare's reputation for writing breathtakingly romantic stories infused with humor and filled with characters that will remain in your memory long after you've read the final page. 


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