Saturday, May 03, 2008

Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

Their lives defy convention

When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

Their desire consumes them both...

Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter….
As soon as we met Cam Rohan in a cameo appearance in Devil in Winter, it was clear that he was hero material! At that time it looked as though his destiny might have been with Daisy in the last of the Wallflower books, Scandal in Spring, but instead it is in this book, and it was worth the wait.

Cam Rohan is half gypsy, and as such finds it somewhat difficult to fit in anywhere in society. He manages Jenner's, the London gambling club run by Sebastian St. Vincent (phwoar!) who got his own happily ever after in Devil in Winter. Cam is somewhat cursed (according to him anyway). It doesn't seem to matter what poor business decisions he makes, or how much money he gives away, he always seems to get more, and for a man whose heart is gypsy this is somewhat traumatic.

Luckily for him then, that he falls in love with Amelia Hathaway, whose family really, really needs some money. There brother has just unexpectedly become a viscount, and to say that they are poor gentry is an understatement. They have just moved into the ancestral home, but it has been empty and neglected for many years and there is a lot of work required to bring it up to any kind of acceptable standard. Their neighbours are Lilian and Marcus (It Happened One Autumn) who are also friends with Cam.

After an initial meeting in London where Cam assists Amelia (for the price of a kiss) in locating her wastrel brother Leo and pulling him out of a brothel, Amelia and her family move to Ramsay House, where she hopes that being away from the bright lights of London, her brother might be able to get back to being more like himself instead of the drunk belligerent man that he has become since the death of his fiancee some time previously. Thinking that she will never see the mysterious Cam again, she is therefore completely surprised when she does meets him again, in a very amusing scene.

This book feels as though it was especially written for Cam, and Amelia's character development is weaker as a result. Cam is a completely drool worthy man. He is handsome, capable, charismatic, mysterious and yet also taunted by events in his past that he doesn't understand, undecided about his future direction, and really seeming to want to belong to a group somewhere. Amelia is portrayed as being beautiful without really knowing it, and has having already decided that she will remain a spinster and take care of her family. Where Cam is memorable, Amelia is a heroine that you have read many times before. Luckily, Lisa Kleypas is one of the premiere historical romance authors out there, so even if Amelia wasn't exactly an original, she is never boring. Liz Carlyle is able to do the same kind of thing - take a common storyline and still make it special.

One thing that was a bit strange was that there was not much made of the fact that Amelia marrying Cam would cause a bit of a scandal in the ton. It was mentioned, but sort of brushed off as inconsequential. I guess that that makes it a bit easier when it comes to the next book, which is going to be the story of Amelia's sister, Win, and Merripen. Merripen is another gypsy character who has been living with the Hathaways for many years, and secretly been in love with Win for most of the time. The foundations for that next book were definitely being put in place in this book.

This is the first in a series, and therefore we were introduced to the future main characters in this one. There are 3 younger sisters in the Hathaway family, plus the aforementioned wastrel of a brother, plus Merripen. In addition to the people who made guest appearances from the Wallflowers series, plus Amelia's former admirer who broke her heart, a ghost, and a few other minor characters there was a lot going on in this book. In all honesty it was probably too much, but I am hopeful that it will settle down a little going forward.

If for no other reason this book is worth reading just for Cam. I am looking forward to Seduce Me at Sunrise which is out in September, and I will be interested to see just who the young lady is that will need to reform Leo in later books in the series.

This book is one of the books that I had said I would read for the Romance Reading Challenge. Two down, three to go!

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