Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Midnight's Wild Passion
Antonia Hilliard let passion rule her life once and the consequences of her actions resonate for the rest of the life. She loses her position in society and finds herself the companion of her distant cousin's very young and beautiful daughter, Cassandra Demarest. Nicholas Challoner, the Marquess of Ranelaw, is society's most notorious rake and he has one purpose; to avenge his own sister's ruin by ruining the daughter of the man who ruined her- the lady that Antonia is determined to protect. Nicholas at first sees Antonia as a challenge to get around, but as he realizes that her dowdy clothes and spectacles are merely covering a lush and beautiful young body, he sees her as a delightful side dish to the main course of Cassie. Knowing the consequences of giving in to passion Antonia knows she must never give in to Rainlaw, but the more she gets to know him the more difficult it becomes to ignore him. Nicholas is always charming and seductive with the women he intends to seduce, but things are completely different with Antonia.
He wants to discover all the secrets he knows Antonia is hiding from him, he wants to punish the people who have put her in this situation, and he finds that more and more he is forgetting that Cassie is supposed to be his main target. She wants to resist him but his seductive powers are too much and deep down she acknowledges that she wants to be seduced; she wants one more night of passion and Rainlaw puts to shame all the other men in the ton. Rainlaw is shocked that the proper chaperone wasn't a virgin and even more shocked when he runs into her previous lover at an inn. Antonia had hoped never to come face to face with her ex-lover again and he threatens to ruin the new life that she has made for herself. She has learned to hold her own since she was a teenager and doesn't want to be dependent on any man and doesn't want to be anyone's burden. Rainlaw knows that his life will never be the same, but doesn't know how to give up his quest for vengeance. Both Rainlaw and Antonia will need to forgive and make allowances for a completely new way of life in order to find their happily ever after.
Antonia was a great character because she was intelligent and took care of herself even while recognizing that she had many benefits that others did not have. She did take a little too much responsibility for her actions and tortured herself over an understandable lapse in judgment for far too long. I really wanted her to come to grips with what had happened and forgive herself but she never really did. This kind of dragged down the book and lead to too much angst over what would happen if she let Nicholas seduce her. Nicholas was apparently a heartless rake but we really weren't given much to go by as he pretty much started making changes in his behavior as soon as book began. It became clear very early on that he was not going to seduce Cassie and even when he did display rak-ish behavior, it was more desperate than anything. This made it hard to get a clear grasp on his character. He certainly did change for Antonia and became a man that was worthy of her because he was sympathetic and caring and proved himself willing to do whatever he could to make her happy.
A lot of books talk about the hero seducing the heroine, but here it was really true because throughout the scenes it feels like Antonia doesn't really want to do it but it is just her sexual needs that compell her to it which I didn't really like. It was hot enough, but a little too wordy for my taste. It took me three pages to remember how wordy Anna Campbell is and indeed conversations and scenes ended up taking about twice as long as they probably needed to. There was a lot of internal musings and lots of descriptions to an extent where they were almost unnecessary and superfluous. I am a fan of knowing what is happening in people's minds, but there is really a limit and Campbell pushes and exceeds that limit for me. The relationship between Antonia and Nicholas is definitely the main focus of the book and they have a lot of alone time and it is clear why they were falling in love. I really enjoyed a lot of the back story involving the seduction of Nicholas' sister and Antonia's relationship with her family. Perhaps because it was the most fast paced stuff in the novel.
Rating: I liked the romance and the characters but if I had been the editor I would have slashed quite a bit of the book to make it a little faster- it was just not my taste really.