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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 28 December 2012
It is true, I love atypical romances.
This is a genre that is easily beaten to death and so to read an author who infuses such old stories with new life and sensitivity that is reinvigorating, heart-warming and thoughtful... well I happily salute the author.

This is a lovely short story and like most authors, Ms Milan has a formula. However, this is not a formula where each hero has been carved from the same stamp or each heroine, more or less the same character, barring a change in clothing and names.
Ms Milan's formula is such that I finish reading her stories having faith in the veracity and authenticity of her characters.

This is romantic fiction, but it is not foolish, typecast or trite.
It is sweet, thoughtful and in some places many would say improbable.
But in the end, it is a romance, a relationship where two people dare to step out of the typecast and reach for something more... higher... deeper.
Something that is true of us in our humanity...possibly.

It is certainly in my wee opinion, worth reading especially during Christmas.
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Six years ago Jonas Grantham watched a doctor prescribe poison to a young woman. At the time he knew it was wrong - just as the doctor's assertions of moral failings and bad miasmas also were - but he was only twenty, unqualified and had given his word he wouldn't interfere. But the encounter has haunted him ever since.

Five years later Jonas returned to Leicester to take up his medical practise and look for a wife. Lydia may have been only the eleventh prettiest unmarried girl in the city, but he was interested enough for a closer look. Except Lydia wants none of him. Because she was that young woman, and she has no time for sarcastic, blunt doctors who think badly of her.

Only Jonas doesn't think badly of her. In fact, despite more than a year of contemptuous treatment, he's actually fallen in love with her. Now all he has to do is get her to like him, and perhaps win himself a kiss... It's worth a shot. After all, since his heart is already gone, he has nothing more to lose.

This gorgeous novella is a follow-up to The Duchess War, where Lydia was the cheerful best-friend of the heroine. Jonas played only a brief but intriguing part. While it might be useful to have read that first, I don't think it's essential. All the relevant points to Lydia and Jonas' relationship are here, so you won't miss anything vital.

Jonas is an unusual hero with his blunt, slightly gloomy style, but his pursuit of Lydia is touching and even heartbreaking at times. His sarcasm and social awkwardness mask a sweet heart, most clearly seen with his helplessness towards his father. Lydia is lovely too, if a little too accomplished at self-deception. She has excellent reasons though, which have nothing to do with stupidity. The way she comes to terms with her past is quite moving.

Tender, emotional, witty and fun this novella never feels rushed or too short. It's beautifully paced, skilfully detailed and the characters are wonderful. Whether writing in long or short form, Courtney Milan is one of the best writers in this genre today and this novella just proves that she's getting even better. Indulge yourself - you won't regret it.
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on 6 February 2015
Wow, this is a novella, but I felt I read a full length novel.

It was very refreshing in its content and style. I can’t stop thinking about stolen kisses at Christmas-time. Sigh…

This was a story about ordinary people, no aristocracy here. The hero, Jonas, is a doctor and has decided to marry. Lydia is not even on his long list of prospective brides.

She has reasons to dislike and avoid him and so presents him with an icy veneer. He has a long road ahead in order to win her once his attention turns in her direction.

The history of doctoring in town and village life is beautifully drawn. Jonas is a forward thinking doctor, frustrated by society’s attitudes to women and health.

Lydia is blessed with parents who love her unconditionally, now it’s time to trust that a man may do the same.

There are some beautiful words by Jonas that pounded into my heart. Oh how I wanted Lydia to take a chance on him.

This was my first Courtney Milan story, and she nailed the short format. She built up the awareness, tension, physical proximity, sex and emotional depth in a way I love in a romance. I’ll be searching out her other books.
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I have enjoyed a lot A kiss for Midwinter.
A Kiss for Midwinter is the story of Lydia Charingford, Minerva Lane's (of The Duchess War best friend. We discover at last about the big secret she was carrying about her past. A few years have passed since a terrible event brought Lydia and Dr Jonas Grantham face to face. But Lydia has not learned yet how to let go of her past, even if she pretends to be happy and frivolous and she believes that Jonas judges her for her past mistake. She has a transfer of anger and every time she meets Jonas, she cannot help saying something to put him down or humiliate him. You have to feel sorry for the poor guy. He cannot say or do anything right.
A Kiss of Midwinter is packed with emotions and things left unsaid and anger unspent. Until Lydia learns to grieve totally for her past, until she let go of her anger, she will not realise that Jonas really loves her for who she is. He himself is a complex character. It is contradictory because he cares so much that he looks that he does not care.
I also loved the way he is enthusiastic about his profession and the new scientific discoveries.
Not bad for a little book of only 96 pages. Hence the 5 stars.
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on 6 October 2015
Unfortunately the preview shows the two main characters in an initial moment when their mutual embarassment based on the hero's knowledge of a most painful secret in the heroine's life almost inevitably leads to an unfortunate exchange of hurtful words. However, if you manage to overcome this possibly negative first impression, trust the reviewers who like me loved this novella and let yourself dive in the story, you will discover a whole world of true feelings and values through the dialogues between our protagonist, who get to know each other by stripping away the layers of shyness and socially imposed propriety that sheltered them from a hypocrite world.

Milan manages to deliver a romance that is both sweet and plausible without resorting to the usual trope of the duke/earl/nlobleman in turn. It has the right touch of erotism when love eventually materialises in passion, without the occasional and sometimes not entirely pleasant excesses of the previous full length novel "The duchess war" which this shorter story is partially related to.

In general, this author has a talent for novellas as well as for longer novels, is a gifted writer and in a landscape of a what one might consider a fully investigated and sometimes possibly overly stereotyped genre with very much flesh and little bones, she manages to approach the reader with a new spirit and reinvigorating thoughtfullness to what are nonetheless beautifully told love stories. I definitely recommend her writings, and particularly this story.
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on 30 November 2015
This is the first review I have ever written on Amazon - actually it is the first book review I have written since I was about twelve and required to do so at school! I just don't know what it is about this story that makes it so captivating and utterly delightful. Of course the characters are not perfect - but then they never are - are they? The setting - Leicester - hardly the most exciting place I have visited. However, the author really manages to draw you in and you truly want these two unhappy people to find the peace and contentment they really deserve.

When I need something to cheer me up - bring a little balance back - I turn to this charming novella - and it never fails to make me smile.
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on 7 January 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this and was sorry when it was over. I liked Jonas - the doctor hero - and felt a great deal of sympathy for him. I was also extremely interested in the medical details supplied with regard to the 1850's. Some of it was quite surprising. The moment when the heroine finally faces her feelings for Jonas was - as always with Ms Milan - very well done.
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on 28 December 2014
Sweet little story that keeps you engrossed until the end. The Doctor is one of those annoying men who get under your skin and Ms Milan conveys that very well in her story.

Lydia was a supporting character to Minnie in the first book I read, The Duchess War, so it's nice to find out what her life held for her at the conclusion of that story.

I'm not going to tell the tale here Ms Milan does it so much better, and I hate reading those reviews that feel obliged to give the nuts and bolts of the story.
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on 6 October 2014
I like Courtney Milan's writing, full stop! However, I am not a great fan of novellas, but am always suckered into reading them when they are part of a series. Therefore I came to 'A Kiss for Midwinter' expecting something light and fluffy and Christmassy. Christmassy, yes, but what a touching, ultimately heart-warming tale. Both characters were fleshed out, despite the brevity of the book, and their connection was entirely believable; I actually felt that I knew what made each of them tick and had insight into society's mores and restrictions at that time. Great read.
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on 20 September 2014
Another great story from Ms Milan made that much more entertaining for me as its set in Leicester somewhere I work for 2 days every month- now I'll think about Dr Grantham and Lydia strolling through the streets and it will never be the same again!
A wonderful tale that touches on many themes - the fate of 'fallen women' in the 19th century and indeed the limited choices available to women in general; the frightening level of medical ignorance and familial love and sacrifice. Just brilliant.
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