Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

Dear Ms. Kleypas:

Book CoverThis was a much anticipated book from Cam’s first appearance in the Wallflower series. While many readers believed Cam to be destined for a romance with Daisy, Daisy was paired off with someone else and Cam was left for his own book. While the story contains a romance, it is much more a story of Cam’s life and Amelia’s life and their intersections rather than a union of the two.

Cam Rohan is a gypsy who has forsaken his heritage to work as the majordomo of St. Vincent’s gambling clubs. He suffers a good luck curse. Every endeavor which he undertakes result in more good things happening to him. Conveniently, loaded with all the money that a man could possibly need, Cam feels smothered by his good fortune.

Cam’s character is set up as one that is feeling some kind of “life crisis.” His friends, what few he has, are married and starting families. Cam begins to think of his past and his lost “tribe” and finds the constraint of the society life almost more than a Rom should bear.

Amelia Hathaway is the figurative head of her family who has become, through a curse of their own, the newest family of the Ramsay viscountcy. Miss Amelia’s older brother, Leo, is the newest Viscount, but he’s more intent on drowning his sorrows in liquor, women and other vices to pay attention to his family’s needs. The book opens with Amelia searching Cam’s gambling house and then a neighboring brothel in order to seek out her brother and haul him home.

The opening sequence had me raising my eyebrows as Amelia, without regard for her reputation, first demands entrance into an exclusive male gambling hall and then down the street into a brothel ending with a public kiss exchanged with Cam in the middle of the street, blocked by only the carriage. Later on, Amelia throws up concern for her reputation when Cam maneuvers her into private situations but those protestations seemed incongruous given her initial forays into the streets of London.

One of the problems with this book was its cast of many characters. Not only were there five Hathaways, all of whom demanded to be both seen and heard, but also St. Vincent, Evie, Lord Westcliff, Lilith, Captain Swansea, another Roma, and a ghost. Individually, Cam and Amelia were interesting characters although Cam appeared to have a deeper character arc than Amelia.

There are many issues that are unresolved at the end of this book than tend to make this story feel like part of a larger series instead of a wholly contained novel. To some degree, that lack of resolution of some issues, particularly Cam’s past, seems to belie the seeming contentment that he has found with Amelia. I found the failure to deal with the societal issues of a gently bred woman’s marriage to a gypsy to be disconcerting especially since Amelia had a number of unmarried younger sisters who would be making their debut in a few years. I couldn’t help but wonder if their lives wouldn’t have some taint as a result of a marriage between Amelia and Cam. It was hard for me to buy that this wouldn’t be an issue with Amelia since her whole life seemed to be consumed with protecting and providing for her family.

While I believed that the two were well suited, it seemed that the plot revolved around their individual lives rather than the union of their lives. I liked the parts which discussed the flavor of the Roma and I liked each character individually. I thought Cam was a particularly lovely hero with a different type of sensibility; more of a seducer than a commander. But I think the book suffered from its own identity crisis. It wasn’t sure whether it was the love story between Cam and Amelia, the redemptive story of Amelia’s wastrel brother Leo, the pathos of the Roma lifestyle; the romance between Amelia’s sister and their Roma servant, and so on. All of the issues that were raised were interesting and poignant, yet none felt fully fleshed out. It is above average but the seeming inconsistencies in character and the multitude of unresolved issues left me shaking my head a bit. C+

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased in mass market. No ebook format as far as I know.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

16 Comments

  1. Robin
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 14:09:16

    I have yet to read this, but I am very relieved that Kleypas will continue to write historical Romance. It will be interesting to see Kleypas develop under the auspices of a new publisher, since she had been with Avon for so long.

  2. Vanessa
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 14:21:54

    I couldn’t agree more. While Cam was an interesting hero, Amelia would uncharacteristically swing from uptight mother hen to bold exhibitionist (mores be damned!)

    And the ghost thing, meh.

  3. Ann Bruce
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 18:22:02

    I found the failure to deal with the societal issues of a gently bred woman's marriage to a gypsy to be disconcerting especially since Amelia had a number of unmarried younger sisters who would be making their debut in a few years. I couldn't help but wonder if their lives wouldn't have some taint as a result of a marriage between Amelia and Cam.

    The capitalist in me says that Cam’s money will make up for a lot of faults.

  4. lisabea
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 19:18:59

    I wait to see the fangirl fallout.

  5. Karmyn
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 20:24:42

    Lisa Kleypas is usually an automatic buy for me, but I think I’ll skip this one. Or maybe pick it up at the used bookstore if I ever actually run out of books to read, which is unlikely given my recent shopping spree at bn.com and ebay.

  6. Elle
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 21:39:28

    I found the failure to deal with the societal issues of a gently bred woman's marriage to a gypsy to be disconcerting especially since Amelia had a number of unmarried younger sisters who would be making their debut in a few years. I couldn't help but wonder if their lives wouldn't have some taint as a result of a marriage between Amelia and Cam. It was hard for me to buy that this wouldn't be an issue with Amelia since her whole life seemed to be consumed with protecting and providing for her family.

    I had this thought as well and was a little disappointed that Kleypas had Amelia dismiss the class/ethnic difference issue so blithely, particularly since she did deal with class snobbery issues in Secrets of A Summer Night. Perhaps Kleypas did not want Amelia’s character to generate readers’ accusations of shallowness and snobbery like Annabel from SOASN did, but it just didn’t seem realistic that Cam’s Rom background was almost a non-issue to Amelia, especially given the fact that almost everyone else (excepting, of course, the Wallflower alumnae) treated him like a servant or an untouchable, and expressed horror and disbelief at the idea of a relationship between Cam and Amelia. Even Cam’s “best friends”, St. Vincent and Westcliff, all but admitted to his face that they would not want their daughters to marry a Rom. That seemed more realistic to me than Amelia and her sisters’ attitudes, actually.

    Admittedly, Amelia had grown up with Merripen (I keep wanting to write “Merrylegs”…wrong book) and was more tolerant of Roms than most of her era and station, (although she did seem to me to treat Merripen rather like a servant and didn’t seem too thrilled about his romantic interest in her sister.) Also, she was described as fairly unconventional and out of step with traditional society views, so I suppose that that allows her some leeway to be unusually open-minded and unbigoted for her time. But it seemed to me that the book would have been more interesting if the ethnic/class issues were more of a plot point, particularly if Amelia had struggled with a little bit of ethnic prejudice herself or at least brooded about the potential backlash of her marriage to Cam (who was not only part-Rom by birth, but seemed to flaunt his gypsy heritage.)

  7. Jane
    Oct 19, 2007 @ 09:36:50

    What Elle said. It was an issue for some but never disposed of in a way that made sense to me, as was many of the issues in the book. But, I loved Cam. Kleypas’ portrayal of this non traditional hero was wonderful and the imagery was strong and evocative.

  8. Estelle
    Oct 19, 2007 @ 13:33:54

    I’m buying this one for the Merripen/Win romance. I read an excerpt from their book and it caught my interest so I want to catch what tidbits I can in MTM.

    The Amelia/Cam storiline sounds a bit meh to me.

    We’ll see.

  9. Josie
    Oct 21, 2007 @ 19:10:19

    I read this one yesterday while nursing a mild hangover and while that may have clouded my judgement a little, I found I really enjoyed it.
    The only problem I really had was also with the glossing over of the class issues and how it would later affect the family. But (as Ann Bruce also mentioned) I was able to reconcile that with the fact that Cam’s money would probably smooth the way somewhat.
    I would have given it a B+, loved the characters, thought the Roma aspect was something different (always a plus!) and also loved the sub-plots – numerous as they were!

  10. June
    Oct 26, 2007 @ 18:50:23

    I loved this book as I love all of the Lisa Kleypas books. I especially like the reappearing characters. I am anxious to know if there will be a sequel so that the tatoo link will be solved. There are at least 3 more stories possible from this book!

  11. aura
    Mar 12, 2008 @ 23:07:31

    I absolutely loved mine till midnight. Having read her other novels i think she is an amazing writer.

  12. Maureen
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 20:40:15

    I’ve only stumbled upon this page today after doing a “bing” search of Ms. Kleypas because I would really like to contact her and thank her for the new Hathaway short story I received last week. I would also like to question some changes made in the audio book version of MINE TILL MIDNIGHT. I hope she reads what’s written here and/or someone can direct me to a site where I can address a brief letter.

    MINE TILL MIDNIGHT was the very first of her books that I purchased (after giving up on the historical romance genre after Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’ death) and so I had to add my “review” to those above. I LOVED THIS BOOK … without a doubt! (I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve re-read it. I had to order the hardcover version as the paperback is definitely showing signs of wear.) I immediately ordered three or four more Kleypas “historicals” from Amazon.com, though not in the order in which they were published. I have read all of those that were available through Amazon and am aware that there are others – perhaps three or four that I may not be able to obtain due to the fact that they are no longer in print (although some sellers list prices that I can’t justify spending at this time being unemployed).

    Cam Rohan (I’m so tempted to do a “spoiler” and list his true name!) is quite a departure from any romantic hero created by any of the other romance genre authors I’ve previously read. As an African-American woman, I can certainly empathize with the prejudice he (and Merripen – I figured out their connection early thinking “how ironic it would be if …”) encountered: of being judged by the color of your skin before anyone bothers to get to know you well enough to judge you based on “the content of your character” and your abilities. I don’t agree that Amelia dismissed any class/ethnic differences between herself and Cam. Her father was an intellectual, broad-minded scholar – who home-schooled his children or rather seemed to allow them to study whatever interested them, as well as providing the basics of a middle-class education – who I’d like to think taught his children to be tolerant of others different from themselves. It just seems natural that the parents would take Merripen into their home when he was found injured after the “Gypsy hunt.” Merripen was probably a very good example in trying to understand someone of a culture different from your own (if you had the patience) because he was so closed off because of his own life experiences.

    I do agree that Cam’s “fabulous wealth” had begun to open doors for him (as he himself stated in the book) and would eventually for his gadje wife and their children. Hey, no matter how class-conscious the times in which these characters existed … money talks. Even George, the footman at the estate/opium den where Cam found Leo, conceded that he was “a gentleman, even though he was a Gypsy.” And as Evie, Lady St. Vincent, told Amelia “the morning after,” Cam’s dissatisfaction with living on the fringes of polite society led him to believe that he’d only be truly happy if he could live the life of a wandering freedom loving Roma until he came to the realization that he wasn’t searching for a place (or tribe) so much as a person. Cam himself admits this to Merripen in SEDUCE ME AT SUNRISE.

    Yes, this book left quite a few unanswered questions that I would have liked answered (I’m very detail-oriented) for instance: When and where were Amelia and Cam married? (A Hathaway Wedding short story gives the reader/fan a look at Win and Merripen’s wedding day – I smiled/laughed through all of the novella.) Is Leo ever informed about the Ramsay house treasure? Does Christopher Frost “get his?” and so forth.

    I am awaiting delivery of the audio book version of SEDUCE ME AT SUNRISE and hope that I won’t experience the same disappointment (re: changes in the text/plot/expositon and near elimination of what I considered a major character) as occurred in the audio book version of MINE TILL MIDNIGHT. I’m also looking forward to reading Poppy’s story when the paperback and audio book versions of TEMPT ME AT TWILIGHT are released later this month. (The last two books of the Hathway family series also feature dayparts in their titles. As the Wallflowers series feature the four seasons.)

    I love her use of book-hopping characters and hope that Annabelle, Lillian, and Daisy (I would love to see/read how she would react to Cam again – now being a wife and mother – as he was the first man to ever kiss her in DEVIL IN WINTER) might make appearances in the later Hathaway family books.

    I am a confirmed fan of your historical romances Ms. Kleypas, and can pass many hours happily reading (and re-reading) about heroes like Cam Rohan, Derek Craven, Zachary Bronson, and yes, Sir Ross Cannon. Thank you, and Bring ‘em on!!!

  13. Maureen
    Sep 09, 2009 @ 21:09:55

    An addendum to my review above,

    Amelia should have been more mindful of “setting an example” for her three younger sisters after she’d begun her sexual relationship with Cam. Especially as she wanted to be regarded as the sensible, serious, and sober “head” of the Hathaway family. But I guess Cam rocked her world, as it were, so much that even though she hadn’t committed to him, she couldn’t stop him or herself, and was willingly, continously, “compromised”. Win follows her heart (and sexual urges) when it comes to Merripen in SEDUCE ME AT SUNRISE, being intimate with him before their wedding day also.

    In the Wallflower series, both Bowman sisters were “intimate” with their prospective husbands before their marriages weren’t they … and so was their sister-in-law-to-be!!!!

  14. Win the first of the Hathaway series by Lisa Kleypas ‘Mine Till Midnight’ on fReado | Freado Blog
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 01:10:59

    […] Dear Author Share Posted in Prizes Tags: Hathaway, Historical romance, Lisa Kleypas, Romance « Bid and win the thriller – Something Wicked This Way Comes for free on fReado! You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. […]

  15. Paperbackdolls » Review:Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 21:59:34

    […] a favor and pick up some of Kleypas’ books. I doubt you’ll regret it. Also Reviewed By: Dear Author – Addicted to Romance – The Ladybug Launge Paperback Dolls View all posts by […]

  16. 12:05 am
    May 20, 2013 @ 10:20:43

    Excellent site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any
    user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article?
    I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get advice from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!

    Feel free to visit my homepage; 12:05 am

%d bloggers like this: