A Midsummer Night's Sin
by Kasey Michaels
A Midsummer Night's Sin is the second in Michaels' "Blackthorn Brothers" series - three brothers who are the illegitimate sons of a marquess and an actress. While I didn't like this book quite as well as I did the first, there are still delights to be found here.
Regina Hackett and her cousin Miranda sneak into a dodgy masquerade ball where they get much more than the bit of risqué fun they'd planned. Regina has a romantic encounter with a laughing, drop-dead gorgeous rake in the garden, but Miranda winds up being abducted. Regina turns to her mystery man - who turns out to be Robin Goodfellow Blackthorn, but called "Puck" (of course) by all - for help in locating Miranda. They do not find her that night, but join forces to discover her whereabouts. They quickly learn that there has been a string of disappearances of pretty, short, blond women in recent weeks, though Miranda is the first one of good family to be taken, and all indicators point toward a white slavery ring.
The plot is, as you may gather, very dark, not only in the slavery angle, but in Regina's home life. Her father is a ruthless and wealthy cit who bought an earl's daughter for his wife, and rules over his wife and daughter through threats and intimidation. Regina's mother has immersed herself in drink in order to cope, and Regina is trying to figure out how to avoid being sold in marriage to the highest titled bidder.
Puck, himself, has plenty of darkness in his background, what with having so many doors slammed in his face due to his birth, but, like his namesake, he is good-humored and whimsical, always ready with a joke to lighten the tension. And, with all the evil and danger surrounding him and Regina, that is a welcome respite.
Sometimes, I felt that the gloom and oppression was a bit too, well, gloomy and oppressive. And sometimes in the face of it, Puck's good humor was a bit jarring. But, overall, I found the tension an interesting change from your usual regency-set romance, and Regina and Puck to be appealing and admirable characters.
Reviewed by Cheryl Sneed, November 30, 2011
“Cousins sneak out to a dodgy masquerade ball and get much more than they bargained for.”
December 2011, 384 pages
Handsome as the devil and twice as tempting, Robin "Puck" Blackthorn lives for the pleasures of the moment. His only rule—never dally with an innocent woman. But when an encounter at a masquerade ball leaves him coveting the one woman who refuses to succumb to his charms, Puck realizes that some rules were made to be broken….
Scandalized to discover that the masked man with whom she'd shared a dance—and a forbidden embrace—is in fact the ton's most celebrated rake, Regina Hackett vows to keep her distance. Yet when her cousin vanishes, it is to Puck that Regina must turn. And as they embark on a dangerous journey through London's darkest alleys, Regina will discover that beneath Puck's roguish facade lies a man who will stop at nothing to protect her—or to convince her to take a chance on an unrepentant sinner.