Summary: 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... — Goodreads
My thoughts: A Kiss for Midwinter has claimed the top spot on my personal 'Best of Courtney Milan' list, knocking Proof by Seduction out of the position it's held for years. As a love story, A Kiss for Midwinter works beautifully. As historical fiction about the world of Victorian medicine, it is fascinating. And as a book, it's just plain wonderful.
Milan is one of the few authors who does novellas really well — she packs a full book's worth of emotion into even her short works. A Kiss for Midwinter is exceptionally well done and the romance between Lydia and Jonas was fully developed. Technically, their relationship began in The Duchess War, the first full-length book in Milan's Brothers Sinister series, but the novella stands alone well.
The romantic tension between Lydia and Grantham is palpable and their verbal sparring is witty and charming:
"Rest easy, Miss Charingford," he said. "I wasn't attempting to seduce you. I had come to no conclusions about your virtue. I was only talking to you because you were the eleventh prettiest young lady in Leicester."
Faint dots of pink appeared on her cheeks. "Oh?" There was a dangerous tone to her voice now. "Eleven, am I?"
"That is — I mean —" He looked away. "Shite. I didn't mean to say that."
She didn't gasp at that obscenity. "Work your way on to number twelve," she snapped. "Number eleven wants nothing more to do with you."As the book progresses, it becomes more than just a romance. Milan interweaves detailed explanation of Victorian medicine with family backstories from both Lydia and Jonas. As always, her non-romance subplots are fascinating and serve not only as character development but as devices that expertly further the plot. The romantic payoff in the end is near-perfect — suffice it to say that as a doctor, Jonas has a rather clinical view of sex, something Lydia is happy to take advantage of.
I don't often give out A+ reviews, but A Kiss for Midwinter is a story that stayed with for me long after I finished reading it and will do so until I read it again...which I may go do now.
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Page Length: 121 pages (ebook)