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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mistress by Midnight by Nicola Cornick

Mistress by Midnight by Nicola Cornick
Publisher: Harlequin HQN Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (379 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Fennel

Merryn Fenner is on a mission to ruin the Duke of Farne. A beautiful bluestocking with a penchant for justice, Merryn has waited ten years to satisfy her revenge against sensual, mysterious Garrick Northesk. Her family name had been tarnished at his hands, her life destroyed. And now she intends to return the favor—by finding the true heir to the duke's title and disinheriting Garrick.

Yet when a disaster traps Merryn and Garrick together, white-hot desire stirs between the two sworn enemies. Her reputation utterly compromised, Merryn is forced to do the one thing she cannot bear: accept the scandalous marriage proposal of the man she has vowed to ruin.

Many components draw a reader to a certain book. The author? Check! I look out for Ms. Cornick’s books. The cover? Check, although I had to visit the author’s website to find it! The title? Check! It intrigued me as soon as I saw it. But… As I read on it puzzled me because it didn’t appear relevant to the contents of the book. If I have a nit, it is the misdirection of expectations the title created.

Why the author? Well Ms. Cornick’s writing is seamless, suspenseful and always well paced. In Mistress by Midnight the author pulls you in immediately. An unexpected homecoming and the hero, Garrick Farne, discovers all sorts of discrepancies and expectations he has to deal with without delay. By his actions and reactions the author introduces us to a strong man who has overcome familial confrontations and been strengthened by them. He’s a man set in his ways, and knows both what he wants from life and what he expects from those around him.

We sound discover he abhors greed and cruelty so often found in the Gentry of Regency times.

Tuck a heroine, Lady Merryn Fenner, underneath his bed, the same bed she’s been sleeping in during his absence. Introduce a scheming vindictive ward of his father’s, Harriet Knight, whose ambition is to become the Duchess of Farne, and you have the intial ingredients for another amazing Cornick story. Add in a dash of factual history, in this case the London Beer Flood of 1814, a resentful bastard of Garrick’s father, stir generously, and the author tantalises her readers taste buds with humour, tragedy, and ultimately a hard won HEA. A winner on all fronts.