Midsummer Moon, by Laura Kinsale

>> Friday, November 12, 2004

Midsummer Moon, by Laura Kinsale was recommended to me some time ago, when I had only read this author's Flowers From the Storm and disliked it. Someone (wish I remembered who!), said I shouldn't give up on Kinsale, because she hadn't liked FFTS either, but had loved some of her ligher commedies, such as this one.

All the king's men could not surpass the intellect, nor all the king's ladies the beauty of Merlin Lambourne. As the infamous Napoleon's deadly army grows ever closer, Lord Ransom Falconer frantically searches for an inventor who can create a new way to defeat the advancing forces. He unexpectedly finds that only the lovely Merlin is adequate for the challenge. Drunk from her intoxicating beauty, Falconer whisks Merlin backto his home on a trail of tender kisses, oblivious to mounting whispers ofscandal. His quickly falls under the spell of her magical touch. But as Napoleon draws nearer, Falconer must use Merlin's own inventions to protect her from danger. The magic of love surrounds them as they fall under the spell of undeniable passion.
Midsummer Moon was delightful. The humour was laugh-out-loud funny, the characters were well done and original, the romance was lovely and the plot lots of fun. My grade for it is an A.

Both protagonists were wonderfully written, just perfect. I especially enjoyed Merlin and her unique way of dealing with the world. Even her extreme naiveté, how she didn't even know sex existed, didn't rub me wrong, and believe me, I would ordinarily be irritated to death by something like this. It's just that this fit who she was so perfectly, an absent-minded genius who has decided certain things, like society's rules, or relationships with other people, are too unimportant to care about and that she'll just concentrate on others, like her inventions, which she feels are more important. She puts Ransom and their relationship in the same basket as those other "trivialities". That's a hell of a fight for Ransom, who in the end, needs to convince her that their relationship is important, too, and deserves her attention.

Ransom was wonderful, too. I loved seeing this proper, straightlaced and stiff-necked duke give in to the madness that was trying to follow Merline's mental processes. The moment he accepted, and even saw the charm in Merlin calling him Mr. Duke, it was obvious he was crazy for her. His fears for her made sense, as did the way he kept insisting she stop working on her flying machine.

The reason I could tolerate him trying to run Merlin's life was that the book didn't end with Ransom convincing Merlin to give up her goals. No, he accepts her as she is and, in turn, she makes room in her life for him. He'll probably end up spending the rest of his life taking care of the mundane details for her, and loving the process. I've read a few books where the relationship develops exactly like this, but it's usually the hero who's the genius and the heroine who takes care of him, which I guess makes it more acceptable for some people.

The humour in Midsummer Moon worked beautifully for me. I'm awful at trying to pin-point just why something was funny and something wasn't, but I'll give it a try. I love humour based on the absurd, and that was what this was. I especially adored the hedgehog, I really did laugh out loud whenever he appeared. And not only was it funny, Ransom's interactions with it added more dimensions to his (Ransom's) character.

Add to all this very compelling and well done secondary characters and an interesting plot to pull it all together, and you get an A read. Midsummer Moon was one of the most charming books I've read this year.


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