Sunday, 12 May 2013

Review: Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways #1) - Lisa Kleypas

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.  
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…

Kleypas is another name that has become synonymous with historical romance and yet she is another author I've somehow managed to studiously avoid. With consistently good reviews on Goodreads and endless personal recommendations I finely caved and got hold of a copy of Mine Till Midnight.

Ordinarily the Victorian era is not my favourite for historical romance, I couldn't tell you why. Perhaps it's because I have become quite familiar with the period through constant years of historical study. Nevertheless, the novel did appeal to me. I was intrigued by the inclusion of the Romany Gypsy culture, I thought this was a good way to spice up the familiar 'outsider' trope. Not knowing a lot about Romany life  I couldn't tell you how accurately Kleypas portrays the complex Gypsy culture, however, I can say that she doesn't bombard the reader with superlative detail but gives you just enough to remain intrigued.

As you've no doubt gathered by this point I am quite the fan of the humorous romance novel, life's too short not to laugh, don't you think? I found Kleypas in this regard is different to my usual choice. While Amelia is a perfectly respectable and likeable heroine she lacks the usual spark and wit of the average historical romance lead. I would be tempted to describe Mine Till Midnight as a historical drama in this sense, while undoubtedly still a passionate romance, Mine Till Midnight is a little more serious than most.

Amelia felt like a heroine that I've met many times, struggling to keep her family afloat with all the world's struggles on her shoulders. Her family, including three younger sisters, a feckless (although arguably with good reason) older brother and loyal Gypsy family companion, Merripen, each have their own struggles which Amelia is attempting to carry. Sometimes this martyr-ish heroine can be difficult to connect with, but throughout the novel Kleypas gave sound enough reasoning on behalf of Amelia as well as the occasional show of spirit for her to be a relatable character.

Reading the novel and watching the relationship between the two characters develop I was struck by how nice it was to see a romance blossom without the need for constant situational comedy or overly dramatic events throwing the characters together (although Mine Till Midnight does still have its far share of dramatic situations). It was nice for the relationship to have a bit of substance, their resulting relationship felt more solid and enduring.

The only thing I can really say that I didn't like about this novel was the borderline supernatural element. Now this was quite slight and was particularly important for the development of one character, so while it didn't necessarily drag the novel down or spoil it in any way I just didn't like it. I'm not the world's biggest fan of the supernatural popping up in what would otherwise be a conventional novel.

Unsurprisingly, Kleypas has paved the way nicely for several sequels to Mine Till Midnight, and I must admit I am intrigued. I did feel for all the Hathaway family and would really like to see them all have their HEA. (Minor SPOILER) The mystery of the connection between Cam and Merripen has also peaked my interest and I am looking forward to tying off all the loose ends. However, I don't think I will chew through Kleypas's books as quickly as others as I did find her more serious and sedate nature a bit heavy but perfect to break up a routine of somewhat same-y witty, light novels (as good as they are).

What do you think of Kleypas? Do you prefer the more serious tone of her novels, or do you usually reach for a lighter read like myself?

No comments:

Post a Comment