Eloisa James' A Kiss at Midnight is a fairytale retelling - Cinderella with a regency twist - and I loved every minute of it. Kate has been at the mercy of her wicked step-mother, Mrs Daltry, ever since her father died seven years ago. She does her best to look after her father's estate while Mrs Daltry wastes what should have been Kate's inheritance on new dresses and ribbons for herself and her daughter Victoria. Now Kate's sister Victoria desperately needs to marry but before she can do so she must have permission from her fiance's uncle Prince Gabriel. With Vicky unable to attend the ball where she was to be introduced to Gabriel it is up to Kate to go in her place, she must disguise herself as Victoria and get permission for her to marry Lord Dimsdale.
I've really started to rediscover my love of historical romances in the last few months and have always been a fan of fairytale retellings so I couldn't wait to get started on A Kiss at Midnight. Having not read anything by Eloisa James before I wasn't too sure what to expect but I'm definitely planning on reading more of her books in the future. The story had everything I could have asked for - great characters, laugh out loud humor plus a sweet and very sexy romance.
Kate is an easy character to like, she has been put into a very difficult situation since the death of her father - forced to remain living with her step-mother and step-sister because she has nowhere else to go. She also feels responsible for the remaining servants and the tenants of her father's estate, somebody has to look out for them because it is quite clear Mrs Daltry won't. She is horrified by the idea of pretending to be Victoria but feels she has no choice but to agree. When she first meets Gabriel it is hate (and lust) at first sight, the pair bicker like children and I loved watching them try to outwit each other. As they spend more time together their feelings obviously change but Gabriel is awaiting the arrival of his fiancee and Kate knows that they can never be together.
I loved Gabriel, like Kate he takes his obligations seriously and unfortunately he has a lot of people who he is responsible for. His castle is a home for the waifs and strays from his family, family that his brother the King is embarrassed by and won't allow to remain living at court. It is up to Gabriel to provide for them all along with assorted animals who have also been abandoned and the only way he can see to do this is by finding a rich wife. He is due to marry a rich Russian princess but after meeting Kate he begins to wish there was another option. Gabriel is a fab hero, dark and brooding at times but sexy as hell and I loved watching him banter with Kate, the pair make a great couple.
There are also some fabulous side characters, Kate's godmother Henry (short for Henrietta) was a particular favourite of mine along with Gabriel's brother Wick. Henry had me laughing out lout several times during the book and I always looked forward to scenes with her in them. A Kiss at Midnight was a fabulous romantic tale, as a retelling of Cinderella there is no surprise ending but I loved every minute of the journey to get there. As much as I wish there would be more books about these characters in the future I'm very excited that Eloisa James is writing more books in the series, each based on a different fairytale. I'm looking forward to reading them all.