Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Brief Thoughts: A Kiss at Midnight

A Kiss at Midnight

by Eloisa James
audio book narrated by Susan Duerden
Book 1 of Fairy Tales

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.0 Stars

Miss Kate Daltry doesn't believe in fairy tales . . . or happily ever after.

Forced by her stepmother to attend a ball, Kate meets a prince... and decides he's anything but charming.  A clash of wits and wills ensues, but they both know their irresistible attraction will lead nowhere.  For Gabriel is promised to another woman—a princess whose hand in marriage will fulfill his ruthless ambitions.

Gabriel likes his fiancee, which is a welcome turn of events, but he doesn't love her.  Obviously, he should be wooing his bride-to-be, not the witty, impoverished beauty who refuses to fawn over him.

Godmothers and glass slippers notwithstanding, this is one fairy tale in which destiny conspires to destroy any chance that Kate and Gabriel might have a happily ever after.

Unless a prince throws away everything that makes him noble...

Unless a dowry of an unruly heart trumps a fortune...

Unless one kiss at the stroke of midnight changes everything.

First of all, this is my first audio book narrated by Susan Duerden, and her performance was amazing!

Second of all, the author leaves a note at the end of the book that states that she takes LOTS of liberties with the time period, purposefully choosing not to be accurate in her representation of the Regency era.  As this is a fairy tale, and because I'm not entirely familiar with Regency anyway, this isn't something that really bugs me too much.

Finally, I find this book extremely difficult to rate or even give an opinion on, both because while I DID enjoy the book for it's entertainment value and Kate's subtle humor and sarcasm, I was rolling my eyes at all the over-dramatics displayed by our characters, the tacky dialogue between our lovers, and all the obvious presentations of romantic cliches scattered around the story.

Meanwhile, I lost count of how many times Kate cynically rolls her eyes at her physical beauty, and has to be told over and over again by friends, new acquaintances, and even her godmother that she is, indeed, very beautiful.  Once or twice is fine; several times throughout the book gets a little annoying.

And the prince was just plain frustrating and I found myself kind of hoping that Kate would end up becoming attracted to the prince's majordomo, Berwick, instead.  Now there's a character you can come to like.

I liked that Kate's stepsister, Victoria, was a lovely, sweet girl from beginning to end.  I loved Kate's godmother, Lady Henrietta Roth's openly blunt personality.  The presence of animals--the three dogs, the lion in the cage, the elephant and the monkey--were nice.

And while I liked how Kate and Prince Gabriel's relationship developed over time... I didn't really like the circumstances of which they start falling in love in the first place.  And then when the angst started, I might have lost interest in them as a couple.  I also found their first encounter alone together a bit hard to be happy about since the prince all but gropes her forcefully, and all she feels is lust, even though she wasn't inviting the attention.

All-in-all, the book was entertaining, but I'm still trying to figure out whether I actually like the romance or not, even if I DID enjoy Kate's non-romance interactions, as they were able to showcase her as a witty, intelligent, and reasonable-headed young lady, rather than the besotted, love struck teenager she becomes when she's around Gabriel.


I read this book for Romance Bingo 2017 for the Eyeshadow and Heaving Bosoms square... because just look at the cover.

Other possible squares:
  • Insta-love
  • Too Stupid To Live -- Some of Kate's actions are hard for me to accept.
  • New Adult -- The characters are in their twenties.
  • Regency Romance -- Even though the author states that she chose to portray the era inaccurately.
  • Virgin & Best First Time
  • Historical Romance
  • Secret Billionaire -- For reasons.
  • Fairy Tale Retelling -- This book is based on Cinderella.
  • Wedding Bells -- Two weddings are mentioned in this book, even if none actually take place.
  • Love (Free Space)

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