One of my favorite romance novels of all time is Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale.
It was the first romance that made me think, “Please sir, I want some more!”
I had read about the glory that is Laura Kinsale on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and I took myself to Powell’s Books and did the walk of shame to the Romance section, conveniently located in THE PLACE WHERE EVERYBODY CONGREGATES, i.e. the cafe. I see you, Powell’s Books. I had no idea which one to buy first until I grabbed Midsummer Moon and flipped it over.
The book blurb on the back made me laugh out loud:
If he really loved her, wouldn’t he want her to realize her dream? Merlin Lambourne is a famous inventor. When her life is endangered by Napoleon’s advancing forces, Lord Ransom Falconer, in service of his government, comes to rescue her and falls under the spell of her beauty and absent-minded intellectual brilliance. Bringing Merlin back to his estate, he promises that she can work on her inventions safe from the war. But he feels he must thwart her dream of building a flying machine, not only because he’s determined to keep her safe, but also because he’s terrified of heights. When a plot to kill her nearly succeeds, Lord Falconer is forced to admit that her invention might just save both their lives..
It sounded like so much FUN! And it was. I laughed, I cried, I gaped, I squirmed, I sighed. I couldn’t put it down! I enjoyed every second of that book.
Ransom Falconer, Duke of Damerell, is all icy reserve and cool, composed demeanor when he meets Merlin Lambourne. Merlin isn’t one of those swoony types, she’s this sheltered inventor who keeps a hedgehog in her pocket (so fucking awesome) and is more focused on her flying machine than on how her nipples inadvertently harden around “Mr. Duke” (as she calls Ransom – she can’t even be bothered to remember his NAME). She can make rockets out of the odds and ends that she keeps in her pockets (not the hedgehog though – awkward!) when she’s in a pinch. Need a speaking box or a flying machine? She’s got it covered. And Ransom, dignified Duke of Damerell did I mention, IS a swoony type. Literally. HE. FAINTS! Okay, so it was because he lost a lot of blood when he was shot but c’mon, he FAINTS, he’s acrophobic (fun with words!) and he also had a stammer until he was 21.
I can’t even.
Hold on a second.
As you can see, I have a soft spot for Alpha males with cracks in their stony facades. I also have a thing for heroines who save the day. Together they taste GREAT!!
Within hours of meeting Merlin, Ransom accidentally devours aphrodisiac-laced mutton and sets about getting to know her rather intimately. Merlin is surprised, naturally, but game. I remember feeling the exact same way while I was reading it- “Wait, what?! Why is he…oh. Aw. That’s sweet.” A few seconds later, “Okay, that’s HOT.”
Since Merlin is no longer a maid, Ransom proposes (she refuses). And proposes. And proposes. The first time he does it out of duty. The second time is so he can continue getting to know her better (ahem!). The next hundred times it’s because – well, you should read it and find out. BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME!!!
One GRILLION stars. Okay, more like 5.