Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Review: A Midsummer Night's Sin by Kasey Michaels (4 stars, historical)
Full Description: Amazon
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thoughts After Reading: If not for a recommendation by a THRC reader, I would probably have passed on reading Michaels' A Midsummer Night's Sin. Despite my enjoyment of The Taming of the Rake (the first book in the series), I wasn't sure I would enjoy the general storyline of this second installment. Luckily, the risk paid off - I found the book to be a great read, although not quite up to par with The Taming of the Rake. It was a fairly dark story, more so than I really would have preferred, but the heavier elements were partially offset by the almost tongue-in-cheek humor Michaels interweaves into the dialogue and thoughts of the characters.
One of my main hesitations in picking up A Midsummer Night's Sin was the concern that the hero might have been written with too much charm. But that really wasn't the case: he is charming, but more than that he is someone who tries to look at the bright side of life and who will try to lighten the mood whenever possible. At the same time, however, the hero's an intelligent and caring gentleman who has had to grow up dealing with his bastardy. The heroine has her own set of troubles, having a mother who's frequently drunk and who likes to blame any of her daughter's "defects" on the father's side of the family. The heroine's father is worse, an emotionally abusive man who's favorite part of being a parent is being able to make a business deal out of her marriage. Not exactly a lighthearted start, right? Don't worry, it gets darker. The hero and heroine meet at a masquerade party, with the hero initially being led to believe the heroine is a courtesan of some kind. The heroine quickly sets him straight on the matter, which is fun to read. During the masquerade, though, the heroine's cousin is kidnapped by slave traders (it's more realistic than it sounds). This sets up the adventure plot as the couple outwit the heroine's father and they begin a desperate search in London to find the cousin before she is taken out of the country. During this time, the hero's and heroine's strong attraction to each other is deepened into affection as they learn more about each other. The hero wants to marry the heroine almost from the start, but for a long time they aren't sure if that's feasible with the heroine's father wanting her to marry a title. I didn't get why the couple couldn't elope, since the hero was financially well off, and so the romance conflict came across as somewhat forced. Eventually the romance and adventure plots are tied up, both in fairly emotionally satisfying conclusions.
Overall, A Midsummer Night's Sin is a good read. It has an engaging storyline, enjoyable protagonists, great humor, and decent subplots. There were a few areas where I was disappointed, notably in the abundance of dark elements and the slightly weak romance conflict, but at the end of the day I will be saving it to read again :).