Published by: Amazon Digital Services
Format: .mobi ARC
Genre: Historical Romance
Reviewed by: Erin
Buy at: Amazon
What to Expect:
Could you use some sweet, minimal angst historical romance in our life right now? Yeah, that’s what I thought. It’s been a tough week. Here are some lovely escapist holiday novellas for your reading pleasure.
Round Midnight by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner is a duology of prequel novellas in their mid-century Fly Me to the Moon series. If you want the short version, my recommendation is that you buy every single book in this series immediately, then preorder the next one. Just…go. Do the thing. You won’t regret it.
A Midnight Clear
Annapolis, Maryland, 1948
Frances Dumfries is the perfect admiral’s daughter. She runs the household, hosts the parties, and never falls for the midshipmen surrounding her. Having fun or putting herself first is definitely not on her schedule. And she doesn’t want anyone—particularly not a man too handsome and kind for his own good—to point that out.
Midshipman Joe Reynolds sympathizes: Ever since he tumbled headlong into love with Frances, life hasn’t been much fun. With only so much time until he ships out from the Naval Academy, he’s racing the clock, and her refusal to give him a second look, to secure her affection. But this sailor isn’t surrendering in the campaign to win her heart.
Torn between duty and selfishness, it will take a Christmas miracle to show Frances and Joe that love is rare, precious… and worth fighting for.
A Midnight Clear is the story of how Frances and Joe Reynolds met and married. She’s the admiral’s daughter and he is the eager young midshipman who fell head over heels for her the second he laid eyes on her. He is the ultimate sweet beta hero who never wavers in his devotion and respect. Frances has become her father’s hostess and caretaker since the death of her mother, and she doesn’t want to be tied to another Navy man after marriage. She has been the head of the household since she was 15, with a dying mother and a father fighting in the Pacific. She’s now the target of ambitious young sailors who want to advance their career through marriage, and she doesn’t have time for that.
Joe is painfully sweet, determined, and openly romantic. He pursues her, but not in a creepy way. He buys her books (a Heyer book!) and tries to find out what would make her happy. She is clearly attracted to him, and makes it clear that her resistance is due to his career, not him personally. He respects her boundaries and pines wonderfully from afar.
This is a lovely, courtly story that shows how enticing mid-century romance can be. And Joe Reynolds is a swoon-worthy hero for the ages.
A Midnight Kiss
Huntsville, Alabama, 1950
New Year’s Eve is a night for old friends, new hopes, and champagne dreams—and Betty Parrish intends to take full advantage. But when her long-term beau makes one too many arrogant comments, she throws him out. After all, who needs men?
Greg Henkins’s New Year’s plans involve tools and engines, not dances and debutantes. But when the vivacious Betty runs into him, his night ends up head over heels. After all, who could resist a midnight kiss?
Greg and Betty are intoxicated by what they share at midnight, but will their budding relationship wilt in the sober light of morning?
A Midnight Kiss features a very, very different hero. Greg is abrasive, uptight, and nerdy. He’s focused on engines, engineering, and science. He doesn’t have time for dating or, frankly, other people. He’s recently moved to the South, and he really doesn’t understand how to play the delicate, roundabout social games everyone else seems to understand. He wants to get through his Christmas leave and get back to the base, where he can be alone with his machines.
Betty Parrish has spent her life learning perfect manners, painstakingly climbing the Hunstville social ladder, as far as she is able. She’s not from “good people,” her granny is loving but earthy, and she can’t trace her family back to any of the famous Confederate generals. She’s perfected a sweet, simpering persona, and has managed to land the mayor’s son. When he shows what an ass he is, her perfect facade cracks in front of the whole damn town. And Greg, of course, takes interest.
Greg is…gaahhhh, so freaking hot. He’s single-minded, focused, intense, and a man of few words. Which means, of course, that the words he does use? Ohhhhh, heart palpitations. For such a short story, the intensity of the romance is cranked up to 10. When he asks “Will you wait for me?” I almost combusted. While the first novella is all about the stately courtship, this second book features two people just itching to get out and go change the world together. Given all the sexual tension in this book, I wish the heat level was a little higher, but that’s a minor complaint.
I loved it, and I will happily reread it again and again. Especially when I need a smile.
What you might not like: Ok, I totally get why people might not want to read a romanticized version of the late 40s-early 50s right now. Completely valid.
What you’ll love: It’s amazing how well-developed these characters are for novellas; we get such a good sense of their inner lives and motivations. Also…you don’t have to choose between your grumpy, terse hero and your sweet beta hero. They’re both here!
Erin is a full time contributor to Binge on Books. She is a voracious reader and reviewer who has been been reading romances since she stole them from under her neighbor’s mom’s bed while she was at work. You can read all her reviews here.
Connect with Erin on Twitter: @booksandjoe