This isn’t so much a review as an opportunity for me to gush about an amazing, yet under-appreciated series: the Hathaway family series. Recently, my contemporary romance-loving mom (Hi, Mom!) started reading historical romances (hooray, a new convert!). Of course, she came to me for a recommendation and I immediately pointed her to Lisa Kleypas who is, in my opinion, the queen of historical (and contemporary) romances.
My mom started with the Kleypas classic, the Wallflower series. This is hands-down one of the best historical romance series of all time (It Happened One Autumn is on my Forever Favorites Shelf!). And, even better, Kleypas has revealed that fans will get to revisit some of the beloved Wallflower characters in her upcoming book, Devil in Spring (yay!!). Mama Quirk (no, I don’t really call her that) was hooked by the Wallflower series and wanted to read more. So, I pointed her towards Kleypas’ Hathaway series. I wasn’t planning to re-read them myself, but we were on vacation and I (of course) read my books too fast and ran out of things to read, so I started reading the series again.
I’m so glad I picked Mine Till Midnight back up! This is classic Kleypas- a strong female heroine and equally strong hero are irresistibly drawn together yet must learn to compromise and accommodate one another. Although the Wallflower series dealt with people who were outsiders of the London ton, the Hathaway series confronts many similar issues even more explicitly. In Mine Till Midnight, Amelia Hathaway falls in love with Cam Rohan, a man of Romany descent who straddles the fence between social outsider and society gentleman. Cam is concerned about Amelia and her family’s reputation, but their attraction is too strong to resist! After re-reading Mine Till Midnight, I was reminded of much I loved their relationship and how great a hero Cam is. Amelia is a sensible, pragmatic woman who has taken charge of her siblings in light of their parents’ deaths. She is strong-willed and resilient; at first she is worried Cam will diminish her independence, but he proves to her he can help shoulder her burdens without constraining her. Cam is steadfast, and he augments all the great things about Amelia. I like their story because, although it of course would satisfy any romance lover, it is, at its core, a story of two strong, practical people who learn to work (and love) together.
After Mine Till Midnight, I just couldn’t stop! I also re-read Seduce Me at Sunrise, which differs from the first novel in the series in its lushness and drama. Both Winifred and Merripen, the heroine and the hero, are characters of deep, often gut-wrenching emotion. Merripen is also of Romany descent and his troubled past leads him to believe he isn’t good enough for Win. This novel takes place over the course of many years, as Merripen becomes part of the Hathaway family when he was a child. Merripen and Win’s connection is primal; it’s a heart-stopping, overwhelming, all-encompassing kind of love that sweeps the reader along with it. Kleypas is careful to make the obstacles to their love real enough that the story never feels melodramatic; instead, the drama and tension of the romance lends to a feeling of supreme satisfaction when Win and Merripen finally come together. After reading this book, my heart was full (seriously, giddy tingles!) and I literally wanted to gush about it to everyone– hence, this post! Just to give you some idea of how amazing this book is– and how opulent and lovely Kleypas’ writing is– here’s one of the most beautiful quotes:
“I love you, he thought, looking at Win. I love every part of you, every thought and word… the entire complex, fascinating bundle of all the things you are. I want you with ten different kinds of needs at once. I love all the seasons of you, the way you are now, the thought of how much more beautiful you’ll be in the decades to come. I love you for being the answer to every question my heart could ask.”
I mean, COME ON. If your heart isn’t warmed by that, you must be a robot. Seriously, this is a gorgeous book of sweeping, passionate love. It’s impossible to resist.
I’m glad to have the chance to talk about these two books side by side because although I love them both, it’s for very different reasons. I love that Cam and Amelia are smart, hard-working people who are drawn to each other’s minds (and bodies) and have a sense of purpose and responsibility. I love that they complement each other’s strengths and that they support each other’s weaknesses. By contrast, I love Win and Merripen for their passion, their drama, the utter beauty of their love. I can’t really pick which one I prefer, which is why I’m so glad they’re back-to-back in the series, allowing the reader to experience both kinds of love. That Lisa Kleypas, she knows what she’s doing.
The rest of the series is equally great. I highly recommend checking out any of the Hathaway books; fans of Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and Eloisa James will love the Hathaway series. The family dynamics throughout the series are incredibly endearing and the romances are classically lovely. Honestly, I can’t get enough. I’m smiling as I think about them. Now that I’ve finished this post, I should get back to my homework, but I’m probably going to get started on Tempt Me at Twilight!