MINE TILL MIDNIGHT – Lisa Kleypas
St. Martin's Press
England – 1848
Miss Amelia Hathaway and her four siblings are usually only one step ahead of some form of disaster. Right now the immediate problem is locating Leo, Amelia's older brother, who is hell bent on drinking and wenching his way through London, even if it means destroying himself while depleting the family's meager fortune. However, because Amelia is the eldest sister, and because she cares for Leo, she is determined to find him and bring him home before he causes too much damage.
Amelia's search brings her to one of the most popular gaming hells in London , a place no lady would ever dream of setting foot in. Amelia, however, has no reservations and manages to engage the help of the club's unusual manager, Cam Rohan. He's a darkly handsome gypsy, and despite her concern for her brother, Amelia is quite affected by him. Fortunately, he is able to help her find Leo quickly, and she will not have to examine the unsettling thoughts and feelings he inspires, for Amelia has decided to move her family to Hampshire and restore the estate her brother recently and unexpectedly inherited. However, it's not long after they arrive at their new home that Amelia comes face to face with Cam Rohan again making it impossible for her to ignore the desire he has awakened in her and forget her vow never to fall in love again.
Half Rom, half Irish, Cam is not truly accepted by either the gypsies or white men. However, until he was ten years old, he was raised by his gypsy grandmother, and he still thinks like a Roma. The years he has spent in London have not changed his desire for freedom and his wanderlust. In fact, after he returns from a visit to his friend's estate in Hampshire, he intends to resign from his job and lead a gypsy lifestyle. But Cam cannot ignore his fate, which seems to be Amelia Hathaway. Surprisingly, he was beguiled by her in London , and meeting her again in the country only intensifies his interest. Cam is torn, though, because he can see his dream of freedom, as the gypsies define it, slipping away every time he's near Amelia.
It is with extreme ease that Ms. Kleypas pulls readers into her latest historical romance, MINE TILL MIDNIGHT , and will hold them captivated until the last page. Aside from creating wonderfully alluring characters in Cam and Amelia, she sows sexual tension, sensitively handles prejudice, and expertly weaves in a bit of the supernatural to round out a tale that is pure delight. Cam and Amelia's romance is well-paced and is a pleasing balance of wit and passion. Their relationship is enough to satisfy any romance fan but it does not overpower, for the couple is involved in larger issues than just their own pleasure. Caught as he is between two cultures that don't want him, Cam is conflicted. He's a dark, brooding hero, and extremely sexy, especially in the way he comes to Amelia's rescue time and time again. Not that our heroine is looking for a savior. She's accustomed to taking charge and caring for her eccentric family. Nevertheless, she needs help. Leo is fast becoming a wastrel with suicidal tendencies. However, don't judge him too harshly yet, for he deserves readers' sympathy. Meanwhile, Amelia's one sister suffers from poor health while another has an unconscious tendency to filch items that don't belong to her. The Hathaways definitely have their quirks, but it makes them absolutely endearing, and they make for a lively story. Mix in a former suitor of Amelia's and a spirit who visits from another world, and MINE TILL MIDNIGHT becomes riveting from beginning to end.