Review: A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare


A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove) by Tessa Dare
Historical / Regency
2012-08-28 (Avon)

Rating: A
Heat: Hot

Heroine: Kate Taylor - Music Teacher, Orphan 
Hero: Samuel Thorne - Corporal, Orphan 
Setting: England



Kate Taylor has found a home and true friends in Spindle Cove. After a childhood spent at an austere school for young ladies, she has built some measure of peace and happiness for herself at the seaside locale. That peace is transformed into chaos when a kooky family, the Grammercys, come calling upon Kate—claiming her as their long lost cousin.

Corporal Thorne doesn't trust the Grammercys. When it comes to Kate's well-being and happiness, he will do anything to protect her. Even if it means breaking his vow to himself to stay away from her. Becoming betrothed to her, in order to offer her his protection, seems like the natural thing to do. After years of watching out for her, it's the least he can do before departing from her life for good.

Kate was such a delightful heroine. From the very first, she had my heart. And it was tugged and poked and prodded at with each hurtful comment or painful memory she had to endure. Eternally optimistic, with a strength deep within, Kate had me rooting for her. It was gratifying to have a heroine so wholly her own person and not dependent on anyone else. Her desire for a connection, to know someone out there wants her - loves her - was deeply touching. Kate and I clicked immediately.

Corporal Thorne had me with a puppy, a turnpike, a loaf of warm bread, and an even hotter first kiss. A man haunted by his past, he suffers from low self worth. He has seen and done things he believes makes him unworthy of love or affection. Or even capable of love himself. And yet he has such a strong, beating heart buried under many, many protective layers. Thorne is brave and honorable and chivalrous. His need for connection, for someone out there to see him and still want him - to know his darkness and not punish him for it - was so heartrending.

And then there are the Grammercys, a nutty bunch of aristocrats who sweep into Kate's life and shake things up. There is Harry, a fun and modern woman with a sharp tongue... Lark, a sweet young lady who can cut to the quick of the matter... Evan, the patriarch of the family, filled with such turmoil, such fierce devotion... And Aunt Marmoset, full of open arms and pockets full of spice drops.

I also loved Miz Dare's use of tattoos. They were such powerful markers of a rough life, the hardships Thorne had to face. And the epilogue featured such a moving way to transform them into something loving and beautiful.

A Lady by Midnight is a sensational and stirring tale of two people finding themselves and each other. It is fraught with heartache and hope and love and laughs. Kate and Thorne heat the pages hotter than an adder snake venom-induced fever. (Which will make more sense once you’ve read it.)

In March I declared A Week to Be Wicked (also by Miz Dare) to be my favorite Regency Era Historical Romance of 2012... Well, now I believe I'll revise that statement and declare it a tie!

Favorite Quote:

“Katie.” He groaned. “I burn for you.”
Just a few husky words, but coming from a man so taciturn, she thought they must equal poetry.
I burn for you.
So hot, those words. So dangerous. Their effect was incendiary.


Thoughts While Reading:

6.0% - "Oh, goodness. Two chapters in and it's already making me tear up."
20.0% - "The Gramercys are a nutty bunch. Hope their intentions are good."
53.0% - "Kate, you're breaking my heart..."


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