By Love Undone

Reforming a Rake

Taming Rafe

 
Meet Me At Midnight
by Suzanne Enoch
(Avon, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-380-80917-6
****
A sexy hero, a feisty heroine, a murder mystery, and a passionate romance...put them all together and you get Meet Me At Midnight, a Regency-era historical you don't want to miss.

Twenty-year-old Victoria Fontaine is forever getting herself into trouble. As a consequence, her friends have nicknamed her the Vixen, a name she has no problem living up to. When Victoria is caught in a compromising embrace with Sinclair Grafton, the Marquis of Althorpe, her father forces her to marry him against her wishes, more than happy to pass his troublesome daughter off to another man, even a man like "Lord Sin" who has a reputation for debauchery.

A year shy of inheriting the funds her grandmother left her, Victoria is furious that her plans for independence have been thwarted over one little kiss. Her anger soon turns to friendship and passion, for Victoria can't help but to be intrigued by her husband. What's more, she's beginning to suspect that there's more to Sinclair than what meets the eye. She soon realizes that her husband isn't the wastrel lord he presents to society, but what she doesn't yet understand is why he's hiding behind such a facade to begin with.

Sinclair Grafton returned to England to see his elder brother's killer brought to justice. An English spy during the war against France, he fears that his brother was killed because he knew of his activities. Sinclair used the charade of a carefree, mindless rake to mask his true motives to Napoleon's men in France and continues on with said charade in England so as not to appear suspicious to his brother's killer.

Sinclair had planned for every eventuality, but he hadn't prepared for Victoria Fontaine. When a passionate kiss forces him to do the right thing by the woman he compromised, Sinclair marries her, but fears for her safety - especially since his wife is quite astute and is beginning to fit the puzzle pieces of who he really is together with astonishing speed. Somehow he must catch the killer before any harm befalls his wife...a wife who makes him feel feelings he's never known before and whom he continually falls more in love with each day.

Be warned: this is a Regency-era romance of the wallpaper variety. In other words, it doesn't contain tons and tons of rich historical detail...just enough language and references to make the setting realistic. I had no problems with this because I'm an avowed historical junkie of the wallpaper variety. To be blunt, tons and tons of rich historical detail bore me to tears. My point? If you're a wallpaper addict like me, this is the book to give you a happy fix. If wallpaper turns you off, however, Meet Me At Midnight might not be the historical romance for you.

This book became a keeper for me because of the protagonists and their burgeoning passion for each other. Enoch developed Victoria and Sinclair's personalities and motivations very convincingly, to the point where you feel as though you know them well enough to be friends by the time you finish the book. It took me a couple of chapters to warm up to the heroine because she comes off as willful and fun loving, but sometimes too feisty. However, the more you get to know her and understand her motivations, the more you enjoy her refreshing uniqueness.

And guess what? As difficult as it might be to fathom, Meet Me At Midnight doesn't contain any misunderstandings or miscommunications between the hero and heroine whatsoever. Get this - they actually talk to each other! If Victoria worries about something, she confronts Sinclair with her grievance rather than developing a stiff upper lip and keeping the misunderstanding to herself until the truth somehow comes to light of its own volition near the book's ending. Almost sounds too good to be true, I know.

Luckily it isn't. Meet Me At Midnight, the sequel to Reforming a Rake, is a solid romance and a lot of fun. Enoch has a knack for the sensual and a keen eye for developing a romance, equating into a highly satisfying read.

--Tina Engler


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