A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan
As a young girl Lydia Charingford is seduced by a married man and becomes pregnant, and only the doctor and his assistant, Jonas Grantham, know the truth. Years later, Lydia is living at home with her parents after an engagement is called off and Jonas is the town doctor and decides it is time to marry. Without remembering her from the long ago night, he knows she is the one because of her happy nature and ability to not fawn over one of the most eligible men in town. Lydia knows exactly who he is and has no intention of marrying him and is determined not to let his intrusive into her life make her unhappy. Jonas pursues Lydia for months and nothing he does seems to win her over so he makes a deal with her: he will show her around and if she can find the happiness in everything he shows her she wins a forfeit, but if he wins then he gets a kiss. Jonas takes Lydia on his rounds; to visit a prostitute with several kids, a young boy with a broken leg, and Jonas' senile father who is a hoarder. When she wins he agrees to never speak to her again, but the wager has brought up the past for Lydia and she finally has to confront her feelings about the miscarriage. Jonas has always known that Lydia is the perfect match for him and now Lydia is coming to the realization that the outspoken and blunt Jonas will always be there for her.
I absolutely loved both of these characters and thought they were so perfect for each other. I loved that Lydia was a genuinely happy person and enjoyed life. I liked that she had issues from her past that she had to work through and that Jonas was the one to help her through them. I loved how blunt Jonas was about sexuality and the truth of the world and the conversations they had were hilarious, but also showed how well suited they were and were so honest and forward thinking. Jonas was wonderful and could see himself truthfully, including his flaws such as his compartmentalizing everything in his life. His relationship with his father was touching and so beautiful to read about, and I liked that Lydia helped him through some of his problems. There was some sexy moments, but the book was far more about their emotional connection and while the sex was hot, it was not the focus of this book at all. Overall this was a wonderful book with two very well written characters who had a beautiful relationship. Milan's writing was spot on as usual, if a little slow moving at times.