A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Kate Daltry's father died only months after marrying his mistress, Kate was left alone with a tyrannical stepmother and Victoria, her sweet but dimwitted half-sister. The new Mrs. Daltry blackmailed Kate into staying on for years as an unpaid servant by threatening to dismiss any or all of the estate's servants and tenants. When one of Victoria's tiny Maltese dogs bites her in the lip and causes her face to swell, Mariana threatens to evict the vicar's widow and children in order to force Kate to pose as her sister and convince a prince to let Victoria marry his nephew. But Kate is nothing like Victoria, and the prince, who is betrothed to a Russian princess he's never met, is captivated by her lack of reverence for his title and his person. However much he desires Kate, though, he must marry an heiress in order to support his large household full of his elder brother's cast-off retainers.
This witty retelling of the Cinderella story, set vaguely in Regency England, is great fun, full of quirky, flawed characters I enjoyed getting to know. Might have to add this one to my Christmas wish list!
For readers' advisors: character and story doorways, with setting & language (great dialogue) secondary. Some racy sex scenes.
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