A Lady By Midnight is the third book in Dare’s Spindle Cove series, a place where odd and unwanted women of England flock to recover from their traumas or get away and let their freak flags fly. The whole thing is a feminist fantasy, of course, but that’s part of its charm. Dare’s characters are ones who could never have existed in the real England of 1814, but it sure is fun to think about it happening.
This book just went a little to far in a couple of directions, I think.
The power couple this time around is Kate Taylor and that taciturn rock of a man, Corporal Thorne. Kate is an orphan with a mysterious past, and Thorne is the extremely damaged brute who is determined to protect her, and who also secretly knows her from forever ago, except she doesn’t remember him. (And he wants to keep it that way.) When Kate’s relatives start popping out of her past like demented gophers, Thorne feels it’s his job to bat them down with the soft foamy hammer of his over-muscled body. Kate has felt ugly and unwanted her whole life, because of the orphan thing, and because of the large port-wine birthmark on her temple, and Thorne’s heart has shriveled to a blackened little raisin. So when Thorne invents a fake engagement to “protect” her, of course you know it’s going to turn into a real engagement, and there will be sexytimes.
The problem is that the whole thing played out so predictable. She melts his heart and teaches him how to feel again. He’s an animal in bed . . . etcetera, etcetera. The end was also a bit Too Much for me as everything comes to a head and events are just a little Too Contrived. Kate’s gopher family is also entirely too cutesy and convenient. They come off as quirky sidekicks rather than actual characters (excepting Aunt Marmoset, for real that’s her name, who has a nice moment of vulnerability and culpability).
Hoping the next book is back up to the standards set by the first two in the series.