Lady Arabella Blydon has beauty and a brain, and she's tired of men who can see only one without the other.
When a suitor tells Arabella he's willing to overlook her appalling bluestocking tendencies on account of her looks and fortune, she decides to take a break from the Marriage Mart. During an extended stay in the country, she never expects to meet Lord John Blackwood, a wounded war hero who intrigues her like no other man.
Lord John has lived through the worst horros of war...but nothing could have been as terrifying to his tormented heart as Lady Arabella. She is intoxicating, infuriating...and she makes him want to live again. Suddenly he's writing bad poetry and climbing trees in the pitch-dark night...just so he can dance with her as the clock strikes midnight. And even though he knows he can never be the sort of man she deserves, he can't help wanting her. But when the harsh light of day replaces the magic of midnight, can this tormented soul learn to love again?
Maybe My Tastes Have Changed....
...But I found this book to be less than engaging. I have been a fan of Julia Quinn in the past, but I haven't ready anything by her in about five years, so either my taste in novels has changed considerably or this one just wasn't up to the standards the author set in the past. I was hugely disappointed because the main premise of the story sounded very interesting and promised to be a good story, but the execution left a lot to be desired. I will explain without spoilers to spare the diehard fans:
First, the dialogue was generally too silly to qualify as the witty banter that it was intended to be and was so full of anachronisms that it frequently took me out of the story.
Second, the love scenes were so goofy and trite that I started to wonder if the book was actually supposed to be a parody. The words and descriptions for each "romantic interlude" were completely formulaic; so much so that I could have crossed them off a list called "Terms and phrases commonly used in romance novel love scenes."
Third, the behavior and internal monologues of the hero and heroine were so inconsistent that I almost felt that I was reading a couple of diferent novels accidentally bound together. The hero swung so rapidly between tortured veteran, noble gentlemen, flirtatious love interest, and hormone-fueled teenager that I felt at times that he had a personality disorder. The 20-year-old heroine was alternatively a sheltered and naive society girl, a woman of the world, and a highly-perceptive psychoanalyst.
I stuck it through to the end only because I paid so much to hear it. I would probably be a little angry about wasting my money on such a crummy story if I wasn't so confused by the whole thing...
That said, I still gave the book three stars, mostly out of respect for the narrator - I was impressed by her ability to read aloud one of the most ridiculous novels I come accross in years without laughing through it. Very professional on her part, and she definitely deserves kudos for her fortitude.