The Pennyroyal Green Series: It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long

This is the part I wrote before I read the book which is, as one might expect should one be paying attention to both me and such things, a historical romance novel and which, as one might expect of someone who often takes longer to write the reviews than read the book, has been copiously revised since.

It Happened One Midnight is a new release from someone on my autobuy list and as such makes me very, very happy.  There are authors for whom I will pay full price and whose books I order in advance for Kindle. In order of quality with one being “magnificent” and 5 being “You show promise, Caroline,”, and no one being anything less than very good indeed, they are:

  1. The Monarch, Courtney Milan, who happens to have a book coming out on July 15th.
  2. Julie Anne Long – DING! DING! DING!
  3. Tessa Dare released a delightful book two weeks ago called Any Duchess Will Do
  4. Sarah MacLean whose next book comes out in November.
  5. Caroline Linden who has a new book out on July 30th.

This is the part I wrote while reading the book…

Julie Anne Long is the second best author in historical romance and while that may seem like damning with faint praise, the simple fact is that Courtney Milan is genre-defyingly good; HOWEVER, to give credit where it is due, Julie Anne Long is an extremely clever writer and is actually funnier than Milan. She creates entertaining conversation, well-rounded characters, and magnificent smolder. Her current series, which will be at least 10 books if I am adding correctly, is built around the fictional Sussex town of Pennyroyal Green and features the Eversea and Redmond families. This time it is Jonathon Redmond’s turn and, to be honest, I wasn’t that excited about his story. He hadn’t made much of an impression in previous appearances. I. Was. Wrong. I’m 25% of the way through It Happened One Midnight and it is laugh out loud funny.

Thomasina (which is apparently not pronounced Tamsin as I had been gulled into believing and I still think I’m right) “Tommy” de Ballesteros is the illegitimate daughter of a displaced Spanish princess or some such. I’m not really clear on that yet. She moves within Society, but is not precisely of it. She supports herself and does good works of the more than slightly dangerous variety. Confident, rich and rakish Jonathon Redmond is the youngest of four children and his controlling and obscenely wealthy father is about to cut him off without a penny. It’s something Isaiah Redmond does quite often: cuts children off, drives them away, and forbids their delightful, but inappropriate, wives entry to the family homes. Things of that nature. In this case, Jonathon has shown some prowess with investments, although he is between profits at present, and hoped his father would help him invest in a colour printing press, the first of its kind in England. Isaiah says, “No. I want you to get married in the next six months to an appropriate rich woman with a title or lose your inheritance. Your mother will put it about that you are available. I’m cutting off your allowance.” Now Jonathon needs an investor and/or a suitable wife. Tommy needs to create some security for herself and would very much appreciate it if people would stop assuming that she is a courtesan.

Back to reading, but first something for you to do while you are waiting. I have reviewed two of Long’s books and I recommend both of them very highly: A Notorious Countess Confesses and What I Did for a Duke which is a classic.

After devouring It Happened One Midnight

Julie Anne Long’s best work features truly swoonworthy heroes and vibrant heroines. Jonathon and Tommy are great both together and individually.  Long gives them time to grow and opportunities for the reader to see how they fit together.This was an engaging, winsome and satisfying read. The subplots involve poignant exploration of nineteenth century social issues and the nature of family. Long continues to be in great form and avoided the twee pitfalls of her last book, but not all of the editing issues which is a very minor quibble.  I emphatically recommend It Happened One Midnight.

A complete summary of Julie Anne Long’s catalogue, with recommendations, can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful which includes the aforementioned observations.

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