Rameau’s review archive: Midnight Scandals by Courtney Milan, Sherry Thomas, Carolyn Jewel

Synopsis:

Welcome to Doyle’s Grange, a charming house near the hills of Exmoor, where the garden is beautiful in every season, and the residents are respectable year-round.

Except when the clock strikes midnight…

One Starlit Night by Carolyn Jewel

Ten years away from Doyle’s Grange isn’t quite long enough for Viscount Northword to forget Portia Temple, or their passionate adolescent affair. Portia, however, is about to marry another man. Northword tells himself it is wrong to interfere in her life at this late hour, but interfere he cannot help, with his words, his body, and the truths of his heart.

What Happened at Midnight by Courtney Milan

Fleeing the consequences of her father’s embezzlement, Mary Chartley takes a position as a lady’s companion, only to find herself a virtual prisoner at Doyle’s Grange, her employer’s house. And then the nightmare truly begins: the man she loves, who also happens to be the man from whom her father stole, shows up at her door seeking recompense. And not merely in pound sterling…

A Dance in Moonlight by Sherry Thomas

After losing her childhood sweetheart to another woman, Isabelle Englewood is heartsick. But then something remarkable happens: Upon arriving at Doyle’s Grange, her new home, she meets Ralston Fitzwilliam, who looks almost exactly like the man she cannot have. Come late at night, she tells him, so I can make love to you pretending that you are the one I love.

Little does she realize what she is about to unleash…

Midnight ScandalsMidnight Scandals by Courtney Milan

One Starlit Night by Carolyn Jewel
2 stars

Too big a story for a novella. I’m always hoping writers include the explanations within the text instead of adding flashbacks of footnotes or infodumbs. Jewel did that but, still, I’m not satisfied. Part of me wondered whether or not the story would have benefitted from a short glimpse to the seventeen year old Portia and Northword, instead of just reminding the reader that they were in love years and years before. I definitely think that although Northword had plenty of time to change his mind, the reader didn’t. Despite the rushed sex scenes in beginning, I still viewed them as friends rather than lovers.

The sister-in-law was an infuriating meddler and she wasn’t properly reprimanded nor thanked for her behaviour. I also have a vague recollection of logic gaps in the beginning.

What Happened at Midnight by Courtney Milan
3 stars

“If we waited until we were married, you’d own the right to use my body. Now I can say no.”

“And I can say yes,” she whispered.”

That’s the best description for all three novellas I could find within the stories. None of the heroine’s adhere to the strict moral rules of the time or live up to the expectations the society has for young unmarried women, but each and everyone of them wants the choice and takes it.

As always with Milan’s novellas, I thought the story should have been a full length novel instead. As interesting as their “adventure” was, I thought the forgiveness and re-embrasement of their love was rushed. At least Mary and John had to wait a while longer before the sex.

Also, I felt like this one could have used one more round of edits. There was a whiff of repetition, which remains repetition no matter how intentional it might have been. Those words could have been used to explain how Mary [highlight to view spoiler: placed her dead father’s body in her trunk and how was she able to move it to the window and out of it—before lowering it with the rope—and to wherever she took it after her escape].

A Dance in Moonlight by Sherry Thomas
2 stars (rounded up)

At first I thought Thomas managed to write the most appropriate story for a novella. It starts and focuses on one night when a chance encounter leads to flirting, talking, instant friendship, and love. But then Ralston and Isabella part and start writing letters. I didn’t give up on the story utterly until the confrontation with Ralston’s lookalike and Isabelle’s childhood love. The confrontations were rushed and so were their resolutions. Once again the story proved to be too large for its length.

I liked Thomas’ writing style well enough, but the disaster of the ending and the unfortunate sex scene descriptions have convinced me to give her books a wide berth. Unless someone I trust recommends me her books I won’t be changing my mind.

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3 Responses to Rameau’s review archive: Midnight Scandals by Courtney Milan, Sherry Thomas, Carolyn Jewel

  1. blodeuedd says:

    Maybe not the anthology for me then

  2. Not for me and the spoiler is not working either. Monday.

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