RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge Review: A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James

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Title: A Kiss at Midnight
Author: Eloisa James
Publication Info: Avon 2010
ISBN: 9780061626845
Genre: Historical: European

RITA®, and the RITA statuette are service marks of Romance Writers of America, Inc.I’ve received a few RITA® Reader Challenge Reviews already – and here’s the first, of Eloisa James’ A Kiss at Midnight, which is nominated in the Best Historical category. This review is from Jayne

Book Cover First: the book description:

Miss Kate Daltry doesn’t believe in fairy tales . . . or happily ever after.

Forced by her stepmother to attend a ball, Kate meets a prince . . . and decides he’s anything but charming. A clash of wits and wills ensues, but they both know their irresistible attraction will lead nowhere. For Gabriel is promised to another woman—a princess whose hand in marriage will fulfill his ruthless ambitions.

Gabriel likes his fiancee, which is a welcome turn of events, but he doesn’t love her. Obviously, he should be wooing his bride-to-be, not the witty, impoverished beauty who refuses to fawn over him. Godmothers and glass slippers notwithstanding, this is one fairy tale in which destiny conspires to destroy any chance that Kate and Gabriel might have a happily ever after.

Unless a prince throws away everything that makes him noble . . .

Unless a dowry of an unruly heart trumps a fortune . . .

Unless one kiss at the stroke of midnight changes everything.

Jayne’s review:

We all know what happens in Cinderella, so the real fun in this novel comes from the characters. We have Prince Gabriel, who is probably the only romance novel hero who manages to be dark, masculine, and totally sexy while swanning about in yellow satin breeches. Kate is intelligent, capable, and down-to-earth, which is a nice change from the usual starry-eyed fairy tale heroine. As always with James, there is a lively cast of secondary characters, my favorite of which was the bawdy, horny lush of a fairy godmother.

I have to admit that this book uses one of my least favorite romance plot devices, which is “We shall never be together, so let us forget our problems in one glorious fuck and then I will run away in tears,” and towards the end I got a little tired of the angsting since we all knew that a happily-ever-after was on its way. When it does come, it’s a bit of a deus ex machina, but again – this is a fairy tale. Magical surprises are the whole point.

Overall, I thought this was wonderful. If you’re looking for historical accuracy and nail-biting tension, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for froth, sparkles, castles, ballgowns, elaborate wigs, and glass slippers (oh, and the glass slippers are SO wonderful), this is perfect. I savored every page. By the time Gabriel and Kate ride off into the sunset, I believed that they loved and deserved each other and all that was left was a contented sigh from me.


A Kiss at Midnight is available from Amazon | Kindle | BN | nook | Book Depository | Powell’s

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    The title is incorrect at the bottom of the post.

    I read this book when it was first released.  I love romances based on fairy tales.  My favorite character, I think, was the dog.

  2. 2
    Sarah W says:

    I enjoyed this book. 

    There really wasn’t any magic involved, unless coincidences count—and they might.  I agree about the deus ex ending, and the initial premise took a bit more suspension of disbelief than usual.

    But Kate’s godmother and her husband?  Priceless.

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:

    @Elaine: thank you! Oops!

  4. 4
    Jayne says:

    Yay! How exciting! Thanks for letting me review!

  5. 5
    Emily says:

    Jayne Great Review! Congratulations!
    You liked the book better than I did but your review is well written.

    @ SB Sarah
    I am nervous about writing reviews. Is there a due date for the reviews?
    Should I send all of mine at one?
    Do you or Jayne have advice about writing a review?

  6. 6
    Brandie says:

    I’m not normally a fan of historicals, but I did enjoy this one. It was a little jarring to see one of the characters refer to a nipple slip as a “wardrobe malfunction”—how 21st century—but the modern touches are excusable, considering it’s more fairy tale than “actual” historical.

  7. 7
    MamaNice says:

    If all books could end with such a happy contented sigh…as a writer, what a great compliment! And as a reader – I’ll be looking for this title! :)

  8. 8
    Ana Farrish says:

    We have Prince Gabriel, who is probably the only romance novel hero who manages to be dark, masculine, and totally sexy while swanning about in yellow satin breeches.

    Ha ha, love this line! Great review.

  9. 9
    sweetsiouxsie says:

    After reading this review, I may have to give Eloisa James another try. I read a Christmas romance that she wrote and was not overly impressed by it. I’ll try, try again!

  10. 10
    Anne Stuart says:

    I adored this book.  Al I can say is thank god I’m not judging the RITA finals in this category.  I’ve read four of the books and they’ve all blown me away (James, Chase, Thomas and Bourne), and if the rest are anywhere near as good I think I’m gonna quit and slink away in ego-shattered despair.
    Seriously, these are the books that make me love writing.

  11. 11
    CupK8 says:

    As Sarah W said, the coincidences were the real magic in this book. I really enjoyed this one. I thought James embraced the freedom that comes with creating your own fairy tale universe, giving her the ability to write characters (as others have said) that were wildly entertaining.

  12. 12
    Christina required says:

    I bought and read this book after seeing this review and I gotta say Thank you. There are very few books now that makes me wanna stay up late reading and waking up even earlier to finish.

    I loved this book and I didnt want it to end!

  13. 13
    luckybluestar says:

    Thanks for the review! I’ve been debating whether or not to pick up this and When Beauty Tamed the Beast.

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