Dancing at Midnight

Dancing at Midnight

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Overview

Lady Arabella Blydon has beauty and a brain, and she's tired of men who can see only one without the other.

When a suitor tells Arabella he's willing to overlook her appalling bluestocking tendencies on account of her looks and fortune, she decides to take a break from the Marriage Mart. During an extended stay in the country, she never expects to meet Lord John Blackwood, a wounded war hero who intrigues her like no other man.

Lord John has lived through the worst horros of war...but nothing could have been as terrifying to his tormented heart as Lady Arabella. She is intoxicating, infuriating...and she makes him want to live again. Suddenly he's writing bad poetry and climbing trees in the pitch-dark night...just so he can dance with her as the clock strikes midnight. And even though he knows he can never be the sort of man she deserves, he can't help wanting her. But when the harsh light of day replaces the magic of midnight, can this tormented soul learn to love again?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781470854409
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/13/2016
Series: Avon Historical Romance
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 5.70(h) x (d)

About the Author

Julia Quinn is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels are perennial bestsellers. As a graduate of Radcliffe College and Harvard University, she loves to dispel the myth that smart women don't read (or write) romance. She has been inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. There are ten million copies of her books in print in the United States alone.


Lucy Rayner is an Earphones Award-winning narrator and award-winning British actress. She has starred in numerous short and feature-length films, including English20 and Total Retribution. For her performance in Bolero, she was named Best Supporting Actress at the 2013 Madrid International Film Festival. She has worked on both sides of the Atlantic in a number of theater productions and films, many of which have screened at festivals around the world. She has a master's degree in history from the University of Edinburgh and is a graduate of the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Oxfordshire, England, 1816

If, one by one, you weeded all the world --
Arabella Blydon blinked. That couldnt be right. There weren't any gardeners in The Winter's Tate. She held the book farther from her face. Even worse. She pulled the book closer. The type on the page slowly focused.

Belle sighed and leaned back against a tree trunk. That made a lot more sense. She blinked a couple of times, willing her bright blue eyes to focus on the words that lay before her on the page. They refused to obey, but she wasn't about to read with her face pressed into the book, so she squinted and plodded on.

A chilly wind passed across her, and she glanced up at the overcast sky. It was going to rain, no doubt about that, but if she were lucky she'd have another hour until the first drops fell. That was all the time she'd need to finish The Winter's Tale. And that would mark the end of her Grand Shakespearean Quest, the semi-academic endeavor that had occupied her spare time for nearly six months. She'd started with All's Well that Ends Well and proceeded alphabetically, wending her way through Hamlet, all the Henrys, Romeo and Juliet, and a host of other plays she hadn't even heard of before. She wasn't exactly sure why she'd done it, other than the simple fact that she liked to read, but now that the end was in sight she was damned if she was going to let a few raindrops get in her way.

Belle gulped and looked this way and that, as if afraid that someone had heard her cursing in her thoughts. She glanced back up at the sky. A beam of sunshine burst through a tiny hole inme clouds. Belle took that as a sign for optimism and plucked a chicken sandwich out of her picnic lunch. She bit into it daintily and picked up her book again. The words seemed just as unwilling to focus as before, so she moved the volume closer to her face, which she contorted in a number of different ways until she found a squint that worked.

"There you go, Arabella," she muttered. "If you can just hold this exceedingly uncomfortable pose for another forty-five minutes, you should have no problem with the rest of your book."

"Of course your facial muscles will probably be quite sore by that point," drawled a voice from behind her.

Belle dropped her book and whirled her head around. Standing a few yards away was a gentleman in casual, yet elegant, attire. His hair was a rich chocolate brown and his eyes were the exact same color. He was looking down at her and her solitary picnic with an amused expression, and his lazy pose indicated that he'd been watching her for some time. Belle glared at him, unable to think of anything to say but hoping that her scornful gaze would put him in his place.

It didn't seem to do the trick. In fact, he looked even more amused by her. "You need spectacles," he said simply.

"And you are trespassing," she retorted.

"Am I? I rather thought you were trespassing."

"I most certainly am not. This land belongs to the Duke of Ashbourne. My cousin," she added for emphasis.

The stranger pointed to the west. "That land belongs to the Duke of Ashbourne. The boundary is that ridge over there. And thus you are trespassing."

Belle narrowed her eyes and pushed a lock of her wavy blond hair behind her ear. "Are you certain?"

"Absolutely. I realize that Ashbourne's land holdings are vast, but they are not infinite."

She shifted uncomfortably. "Oh. Well, in that am, I am very sorry for disturbing you," she said in a haughty voice. "I'll just see to my horse and be off."

"Don't be silly," he said quickly. "I hope I am not so ill-tempered that I cannot allow a lady to read under one of my trees. By all means, stay as long as you like."

Belle considered leaving anyway, but comfort won out over pride. "Thank you. I've been here for several hours and am quite ensconced."

"So I see." He smiled, but it was a small one, and Belle got the impression that he was not a man who smiled often. "Perhaps," he said, "since you will be spending the rest of the day on my land, you might introduce yourself."

Belle hesitated, unable to discern whether he was being condescending or polite. "I'm sorry. I am Lady Arabella Blydon."

"Pleased to meet you, my lady. And I am John, Lord Blackwood."

"How do you do?"

"Very well, but you still need spectacles."

Belle felt her spine stiffen. Emma and Alex had been urging her to get her eyes examined for the last month, but they were, after all, family. This John Blackwood was a perfect stranger and certainly had no right to offer her such a suggestion. "You can be sure I will take your advice under consideration," she muttered, somewhat ungraciously.

John inclined his head, a wry smile touching his lips. "What are you reading?"

"The Winter's Tale." Belle sat back and waited for the usual condescending comments about women and reading.

"An excellent play, but not, I think, Shakespeare's finest," John commented. "I myself am partial to Coriolanus. It's not very well-known, but I quite liked it. You might read that sometime."

Belle forgot to be pleased that she had met a man who was actually encouraging her to read and said, "Thank you for the suggestion, but I've read it already.

"I'm impressed," John said. "Have you read Othello?"

She nodded.

"The Tempest?"

"Yes."

John searched his brain for the most obscure Shakespearean work he could recall. "What about The Passionate Pilgrim?"

Dancing at Midnight. Copyright © by Julia Quinn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Dancing at Midnight (Blydon Family Saga Series #2) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 120 reviews.
argirl More than 1 year ago
i adore julia quinn's bridgerton series and had feared i wouldn't enjoy her other books as much. dancing at midnight was wonderful! it had an interesting plot, characters i loved (and actually ached for at times), and julia's usual witty writing. it does appear to be one of her newer books as her writing is not as smooth as her more recent books but it was not a detractor from my enjoyment in the least.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved it. i fell in love with the characters and there was a lot of comic relief. the only flaw though, in my opinion, was..that there wasn't enough character/plot development. otherwise, it was excellent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very++enjoyable++
happilyeverafters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The romance develops too fast and is not believable. The main male protagonist is annoyingly controlling and not terribly appealing. The main female is not particularly impressive either. Not a great plot by any means combined with underdeveloped, unappealing characters.
JulianaPhilippa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Was decently good, but one of Quinn's earlier works and is somewhat amateurish compared to her more recent books. The story is loose and somewhat frenetic at times and the connection between the main characters happened pretty quickly and although the exchanges and relationship was engaging and interesting to watch, it didn't feel completely authentic that their need/love for each other and desire to marry happened so quickly.
Cyberlibrariannyc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Dancing at Midnight" is my favorite of Quinn's non-Bridgerton books. How can I not love a heroine who needs glasses and reads a lot? The characters are well-written -- I feel as if I really know these people -- and the story is highly entertaining. It's simply a terrific read.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What happens when a lively girl meets a reclusive war veteran? Sparks, compassion, and romance. This was not as light and silly as the story of Belle's cousin in Splendid, but the characters had depth, and while the hero was a little moany, it was easy to sympathise with his fears.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many of this author's books and have really enjoyed most stories. This one was a bit of a let down. The story became predictable and a bit cheesy around half way through. I sped through to the end so I could finish it, but was not satisfied like I usually am with her books. I quickly purchased another book, but unfortunately by a different author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a favorite. Too contrived and I hate when the ladies act like complete dingbats. Some truly ridiculous elements in this one. Annabelle deserved better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was pretty decent but I was extremely bothered by the fact that besides Emma being married, there is pretty much no mention of the first book. What Belle went through at the end of that book, and less than a year before, should not have just vanished entirely from her mind (I'm trying to be vague in case someone didn't read it). This book could be read without reading the first one (and might actually be better if you didn't).
GoGo3 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story...until the climax. I won't spoil the ending but I give Julia Quin's protagonist characters credit for their development and intelligence. Belle was great until she devolved in to a stereotypical horror film helpless female. I was underwhelemd with the plot vehicle chosen to create the end of the story. It was out of pattern for the characters.
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lolamh10 More than 1 year ago
I love Julia Quinn's romances. This book was loaded with just enough angst to make my heart race a little, and humor enough to make me laugh out loud.
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