Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback
Publication Date: October 2, 2007
Series or Standalone: The Hathaways #1
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
CW: Discussion of suicide, racist language/depictions of Romany/Gypsies, alcoholism, drug use
Rating and reviewing Mine Till Midnight has been a challenge. I’m not a hundred percent sure of how I feel about this. I think I liked it? There isn’t anything glaring that I disliked about this book, but I also wasn’t in love with it. I mainly feel indifferent to this book. It also took me a while to read this – nearly a month, which is AGES for me – and it was a very broken-up reading experience so that might have contributed to my feelings.
Mine Till Midnight is the first book in Lisa Kleypas’ The Hathaway series. This series is a spinoff of Kleypas’ Wallflowers series, which I frankly adored. In this book, we meet the Hathaway family – Amelia, Winnifred, Poppy, Beatrix and Leo, and Merripen, Gypsy. After Leo unexpectedly gains a possibly cursed title, the Hathaways are elevated in society, leaving Amelia with her hands full. With her brother drinking himself into a stupor, Amelia is left to care for the Hathaways on her own. To sober Leo up, Amelia decides to move the Hathaways out to the run-down estate Leo inherited in Hampshire, Ramsey House. Meanwhile, Cam Rohan, who we’ve seen in multiple Wallflower books, most prominently in Devil in Winter, is growing tired of his life working at Jenner’s, the gaming club. As a half-Gypsy, he’s longing for the freedom of his people. Cursed with good luck, he’s managed to acquire massive wealth, despite his best efforts to get rid of it. When he meets Amelia as she’s searching for her brother at Jenner’s, there is an attraction between the two. And while Amelia thinks she’ll never see him again, as luck would have it, he happens to be a guest at the neighboring estate, Stony Cross. Fate keeps throwing them together when both want different things, yet they cannot deny the attraction between them.
Let’s start with some of the things I liked about this book. One of the things I love about Kleypas’ writing is that her characters feel real. They have depth and feel like real people. She also really excels at writing great dialogue that feels authentic and flows like the conversation would in real life. She also can weave humor into books in fun and interesting ways, and I really enjoy that.
Part of what made me really enjoy this book is the Hathaways. They are an unlucky bunch, but despite the hand they were dealt, they’re still a close-knit family who genuinely cares for each other. I loved Amelia’s two younger sisters and how each Hathaway has their quirks. My heart also ached for Amelia as she’s had a lot thrust on her shoulders, and her brother is clearly grieving the death of his fiancé and is in a bad place mentally. She feels she has to handle everything to protect her family, an admirable trait. I’m honestly a big fan of each family member and am looking forward to them each getting a book.
If you’ve read the Wallflowers series, Cam is a character you’ll be familiar with. I was interested to see what Kleypas’ would do with him. I’m not really sure she handled the discussions about the Roma and Gypsies the best, which was something I was definitely a bit worried about going in. Many stereotypes about Roma’s seemed to be reinforced in this book and the treatment of Cam and Merripen by others, including the Hathaways at times, wasn’t the best. Despite this, I did still really like Cam. As a half-gypsy, he’s a bit of an outsider in both of his cultures, which I found very interesting. He’s also a self-made man and clearly a thoughtful and intelligent guy. I could have done without some of his overprotectiveness, but I overall genuinely liked him.
The romance in this book was where I started to get some mixed feelings. I liked the beginning and first half of the book with the initial interactions between Cam and Amelia. I felt like there was definitely chemistry there, and I liked that they could both see each other for who they are. However, the romance lost me a bit once they finally got together and started sleeping with each other. I’m not sure what it was, but it felt like all the chemistry disappeared between the two of them. I found the writing in the first love scene awkward – I wasn’t sure whose perspective it was supposed to be from, and the writing didn’t read romantic at all. After that, I sort of lost interest in Cam and Amelia being together. It was a really strange reading experience as I liked them together, especially in the beginning, but then I didn’t really care what happened with them in the end. I actually ended up getting more invested in the side plot with Winnifred and Merripen, which was clearly setting up book two.
In terms of the plot, it felt a little bit all over the place. In true Kleypas fashion, the ending did have a bit of an overtop twist that felt ripped right from a soap opera. I truly love that about Kleypas’ stories. The twists towards the end might not be the most believable, but they are FUN, and I’d say the drama at the end of this fell under that umbrella.
Outside of that, I was so thrilled to see so much of my favorite Wallflower couple Westcliff and Lillian, from It Happened One Autumn. When I realized the Hathaway’s house was next to Stony Cross, I was so happy. We also get quite a few cameos by St. Vincent and Evie, who I know are many fan favorites but not my favorite couple. I really loved these cameos as it’s like saying hello to an old friend.
I know Kleypas’ can deliver on the romance, but this one just didn’t hit the mark for me and wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. It’s not a bad book by any means, but one I wasn’t super invested in towards the end. While this book didn’t a hundred percent work for me, I’m still planning to check out the next book in the series. I want to read about Leo’s happily ever after because that boy is haunted and grieving so badly, and he needs a HEA.
The final verdict is this isn’t my favorite Lisa Kleypas novel, but it’s also not my least favorite novel (I’m looking at you Devil in Winter). It didn’t stir any strong emotions in me, which isn’t the best feeling after reading a book since it sort of feels like indifference, but that’s the truth. I’m still looking forward to making my way through more of Kleypas’ back catalog, as I know not every book can be a slam dunk.