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A good book from Lisa Kleypas, but not one of her best,
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This review is from: Tempt Me At Twilight: Number 3 in series: The Perfect Moonlit Love Affair (Hathaways) (Paperback)
Mine Till Midnight (Hathaways 1), the first book in this series, introduced the reader to the Hathaway family: sisters Amelia, Win, Poppy, Beatrix and brother Leo and gave us the love story of Amelia and Cam Rohan. The second book in the series, Seduce Me at Sunrise (Hathaways 2) delivered the second instalment of love, this time for Win and Merripen. Mine Till Midnight did a lot of scene setting for the subsequent books and whilst you don't necessarily have to have read it, it does give you insight into the Hathaway family's current place in Society and their very close and loving bond - made stronger by the fact that both Cam and Merry are of Romany birth and 'family' is all to them, too.
This book is the continuation of the Hathaway family's matrimonial adventures. This time it's Poppy's turn. Poppy is the bookish one. A little more pragmatic than the rest, but as we start reading the book she's madly in love and awaiting a declaration from a young aristocrat, Michael Bayning, who has declared, in private, his undying love for her. Her family are delighted for her and want the match to go ahead because it will make her happy. But, while the family reside for the Season at the Rutledge Hotel in London Poppy encounters Harry Rutledge, the mysterious owner of the hotel and he immediately determines to make her his own. His method is to destroy Bayning's chances by having Bayning's father declare Poppy beneath his son's station and threatening to disown him if he marries her. Harry steps in, asks Poppy to marry him, she agrees (only finding out the details of his wicked act at the altar), they marry... but it's now a marriage lacking trust or respect. And this is where I got a little bit disenchanted.
It's not until nearly 200 pages into the book that the reader gets an understanding of what drives Harry, why he is so distant and controlling. Supporting characters are not as well developed as they could be either. Harry's staff, we are told, are fiercely loyal to him and there are one or two scenes with them that could have been either more energised or funny but they never quite came off. The use of Poppy's brother Leo Lord Ramsey was also a little jarring. We know from the previous two books he's pretty unreliable despite loving his sisters. But here we see him leave the side of a lover he's already in the process of undressing to attend his sister. He pretty much comes to heel at the slightest nod. Ouch... doesn't do Leo any favours. The set up of the danger and the ultimate bad guy of the piece also seemed rather contrived, as if it were an afterthought.
There are positives. Beatrix is, as ever, delightful and I cannot wait for her book! Scenes with her in them are refreshing. The build up between Leo and Cat Marks (you'll have to read the book to find out more about her. Her 'reveal' which wasn't really a surprise to me but it might be to you is right at the end of the book and is a big hint for Hathaways book number four).
It's not the best of the three Hathaway books, it's the weakest so far in my opinion, and it's also not high on my list of Kleypas historical romances. But as it's Kleypas writing that just means this is a good book not great. And it won't stop me buying the next one in the series.