It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long

HAPPENED
It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (265 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

More than one beautiful woman’s hopes have been dashed on the rocky shoals of Jonathan Redmond’s heart. With his riveting good looks and Redmond wealth and power, the world is his oyster—until an ultimatum from his father and a chilling gypsy prophesy send him hurtling headlong toward a fate he’ll do anything to avoid: matrimony.

Intoxicating, elusive Thomasina de Ballesteros has the bloods of London at her feet. But none of them knows the real Tommy—the one with a shocking pedigree, a few too many secrets, and a healthy scorn for rakes like Jonathan.

She is everything Jonathan never wanted. But on one fateful midnight, he’s drawn into Tommy’s world of risk, danger…and a desire he’d never dreamed possible. And suddenly he’s re-thinking everything…including the possibility that succumbing to prophesy might just mean surrendering to love.

Colors are brighter and the champagne more effervescent when Thomasina de Ballisteros (Tommy) and Jonathan Redmond are together. Their joy when they are together, their rightness together, their unique understated way of communicating makes this hero and heroine scintillating companions to have a vicarious adventure with. They seem miles apart socially, but seem soul mates in inner needs. Jonathan has a rich family and position in London Society while Tommy has no one and survives by her instincts.

Julie Anne Long describes the connection Jonathan and Tommy have with each other in exquisite style. It shines like a golden thread that enhances the complex tapestry of the story. Jonathan is the third son of the rich, but untitled Isaiah Redmond. Isaiah seems to feel he can manufacture happiness by bending his sons to do his dictates. The first two sons have disappointed so Jonathan feels the full impact of his father’s demand that he marriage appropriately by year’s end or be cut off completely from funds and family. Since Jonathan has the same acumen for business as his father, his ventures weave a muted but strong, secretive thread through the tapestry. Both his ordinary and extraordinary ventures add tension, humor at times, and hope to the story.

Jonathan’s unique personality emerges bit by piece as he does risky business with Klaus, a chromolithographer, and gets lured into Tommy’s clandestine dealings that deal with a segment of the dark side of life in London.

Pragmatic, resilient, indomitable, and wise to the exploitive ways of the elite Society of London Tommy uses her beauty and social skills to survive in Society and in the underbelly life of London. Her double life takes the reader into some situations that are heart-poundingly scary and some that are heartbreaking. The elite of Society exploit the disenfranchised poor , but every chance Tommy gets she exploits the wealthy, privileged of Society to help a cause she feels strongly about and often risks her life for. In spite of the edge she walks on most of the time, there is an undercurrent of humor that bubbles to the top quite often.

The Duke of Greyfolk and Isaiah Redmond are antagonists that unknowingly, in their hardness, help hone Tommy and Jonathan into strong, successful, socially conscious doers that make a difference for those who cannot help themselves. There are far too many secondary characters that help create remarkable side stories for me to mention them all, but Romulus Bean, the solicitor charged with selling Lancaster Cotton Mills is a winner as far as I’m concerned; Argosy, Jonathan’s friend and his influence with the betting that goes on at White’s is a delightful, worthwhile friend to have; Violet, Jonathan’s irrepressible sister shines in her ability to get the most out of life; “the-diamonds-of-the- first-water” that unknowingly help a unique business venture make Jonathan very rich represent a distinct and privileged part of London Society; all add a special facet to the story that make It Happened One Midnight a page turning, stay-up-late novel.

Ms. Long’s compelling writing is a joy to read. The figurative language, poignant symbolism, revealing metaphors, and sparkling humor bring the story to life. How she makes Tommy and Jonathan’s relationship evolve is riveting. The sizzling undercurrent that finally bubbles to the surface to create a love story about two equally strong personalities sends the heart racing. Ms. Long’s ability to weave in social issues, family tensions, fantastic love scenes, unconquerable humor is amazing. She builds a happy-ever-after not only for the hero and heroine, but also for many others. Most enjoyable reading!

Comments

  1. Love the blurb and post definitely will be picking this up.

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