A Kiss For Midwinter, by Courtney Milan

>> Saturday, August 24, 2013

TITLE: A Kiss For Midwinter
AUTHOR: Courtney Milan

PUBLISHER: Self-published

SETTING: 1860s England
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: Part of the Brothers Sinister series

Miss Lydia Charingford is always cheerful, and never more so than at Christmas time. But no matter how hard she smiles, she can't forget the youthful mistake that could have ruined her reputation. Even though the worst of her indiscretion was kept secret, one other person knows the truth of those dark days: the sarcastic Doctor Jonas Grantham. She wants nothing to do with him...or the butterflies that take flight in her stomach every time he looks her way. Jonas Grantham has a secret, too: He's been in love with Lydia for more than a year. This winter, he's determined to conquer her dislike and win her for his own. It all starts with a wager and a kiss...
We first met Lydia Charingford in the first full-length entry of the Brothers Sinister series, The Duchess War, where she was Minnie's friend. Dr. Jonas Grantham met her a long time before that. He was a young trainee physician at the time, out on rounds with an old, established doctor, and they were called to see a pregnant 15-year-old girl of good family. The older doctor treated her with horrible disdain and judgment, and prescribed a substance that, as far as Jasper knew, was a danger to the child, if not to her own life. However, out of a mix of uncertainty in the face of experience and self-interest (he was due to take over the older doctor's practice), Jasper said nothing and has felt terrible about it ever since.

When they meet again, Jonas doesn't initially recognise Lydia. He seeks out an introduction purely because she's a beautiful, marriageable young woman and he's a man in a good position, looking to marry. She, however, does recognise him and assumes he does too. She assumes he thinks badly of her and feels threatened. And that sets the tone for their interactions. Jonas, who soon comes to admire and love Lydia, is perpetually on the wrong foot with her, as she always sees judgment and condemnation in whatever he says. His love of the truth, and his refusal to go into polite lies (influenced partly by what happened to her) don't help.

It doesn't sound great in the description, I'll admit. It sounds like the sort of thing where a reader would be screaming at the characters to just have a conversation, dammit, and stop assuming things. But with these two, it definitely is not that easy, and you get exactly why they can't communicate. It fits the characters and their experiences of each other, and the fact that their interactions are filled with love and guilt and fear, all at the same time. I had my heart in my throat whenever they were together.

There is a lot to love here. The romance is obviously wonderful, as are the writing and the characters. And then there's Lydia and Jonas' relationshps with their respective fathers. They both come from loving families, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of feeling, even pain there. There was a scene, late in the book, between Jonas and his father that had me in tears. I loved it, and I loved the novella.



Angiegirl 25 August 2013 at 04:26  

I loved this one so much. Her novellas are ace.

Rosario 25 August 2013 at 07:28  

I agree, and this one is my favourite so far! :)

Ana T. 25 August 2013 at 21:51  

I think you have convinced me that I need to try Milan. Can this be read out of order?

Rosario 26 August 2013 at 07:16  

Ana, yes, it stands alone fine. There's a couple of passing references to events in previous books, but you won't have an issue with them. Hope you enjoy it!

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