Miss Miranda Granger had one wish for the upcoming holiday season—to forget the past and rediscover the woman she was before betrayal and a desperate situation rent apart her happiness. A month at the lavish new seaside resort, the Grandview Hotel, should serve as just the tonic she needs, even if she is forced to spend her time reining in her two mischievous stepsisters while her widowed father sees to his business affairs. After all, she’s all but raised the two hellions since their mother’s death so many years ago. If only she could save them both from the cursed Granger temperament. All she can do is hope that her sisters manage to survive it to womanhood unscathed, something she has not managed to accomplish herself.
Troy Davenport comes to the Grandview Hotel for one reason alone—to find Miranda Granger, and to paint her. He’s been able to think of nothing else since meeting the then-anonymous woman on the deck of the ocean liner R.M.S. Mauretania so many months ago. Now he has her name—thanks to a well-timed photo on the Society page—and he hopes his paintbrush can unlock the mysterious woman’s secrets. Of course, Troy—an accomplished American painter who was trained by the masters in France—harbors his own secret, as well. He isn’t who he seems to be, and he has a vested interested in keeping his true identity safe.
Neither Miranda nor Troy are prepared for the passion that flares between them when they meet at the Grandview, blossoming into a grand affair over the course of their stay. Miranda allows herself to believe that, at last, she’s found the happiness she’s hoped for. But back in the village of Weckham, everything falls apart, and Miranda finds herself once again betrayed by the man she loves.
Only nothing is as it seems, and on Christmas Eve, back at the Grandview Hotel, a miracle occurs on the chalky cliffs by the sea…
Title: A MIDNIGHT CLEAR
Author: Kristi Astor
Series: Connected Edwardian-set historicals
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Zebra Books
Year of release: 2010, November 2
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Received digital ARC from author for review
“What’s this, the society page?”
– Troy and Miranda’s reunion scene at the glass house > heartbreaking and sweet
Miranda Granger is proper, serious and responsible. She also comes across as sad. After a near scandal she has curbed her impulsivity and true passionate nature and past mistakes haunt her. Troy awakens her true nature but she fights the attraction as to not make the same mistakes she made in the past. A past where she fell victim to a fortune hunter who ruined her reputation, chose money over her and left her no choice but the life of a spinster.
Troy Davenport/DeWitt is an American and a painter. He’s handsome, masculine and boyishly charming. Troy is immediately fascinated by Miranda and not only as his muse or model. Miranda is afraid of the feelings Troy evoke in her, afraid she’ll succumb once more to a fortune hunter’s seduction. What she doesn’t know is that Troy isn’t the uncultured poor artist he appears to be.
As the story is very character-driven and I took no review notes about a plot, I’m assuming there was no significant or discernible plot to speak of. I didn’t mind that as the romance between Troy and Miranda and their intricate and moving back-stories were sufficient in holding my attention from start to finish
A MIDNIGHT CLEAR is set in the England of 1908. This early 20th century time period is a new period for me in reading historical romances as I’ve read only Medieval, Victorian and Regency. I must say I liked it a lot as it’s historical yet with a bit more modern feel in terms of technology (motorcars instead of carriages…watches…). This combination worked very well for me.
This was a delightful read about money, scandal, social standing and outward appearances that pulled me in straight away. I was captivated by the artist in Troy and intrigued by Miranda’s past indiscretion that’s hinted at from the start. I was a little thrown back at the flashbacks to several years earlier in a few inconsecutive chapters but this was only a minor thing. The flashbacks were needed to understand the characters and I was glad Kristi Astor inserted them, I just don’t know if the points of insertion were conductive to the flow of the story.
A MIDNIGHT CLEAR is a very well written character-driven historical with intriguing tidbits being unraveled slowly to reveal the backgrounds of two wonderful characters who find their soul mates in each other.
She swallowed a lump in her throat. “Most people would say you’re too young to settle down and take a wife. Especially one of…of an advanced age.”
“Then most people don’t know their arse from their elbow. And good God, Miranda–an ‘advanced age’? You’re not yet thirty.”