Fire at Midnight
Lisa Marie Wilkinson
Medallion, Mar 2009, $7.95
In 1703, her odious Uncle Victor Brightmore with the help of Dr. Elliot Macgulay places his eighteen year old niece Rachael Penrose in Bedlam Insane Asylum to keep her out of the way of his stealing her younger brother’s inheritance. To insure his plan goes without a hitch Victor has abducted his nephew James and has spread rumors that Rachel told the authorities about smugglers like Frenchman Sebastien Falconer. Victor leads a more vicious smuggling crew than that of Sebastian.
Whereas Sebastien searches for Rachel, John Wyatt, a pal of her friend Tarry Morgan, breaks her out of asylum. However nine days and drugs have taken their toll so when he realizes they are followed, he places her in another carriage so that he can divert Victor’s
thugs from her. Sebastien takes the woman to his isolated home only to learn his ailing guest is Rachel. She escapes to London where Tarry sent James after rescuing him. There she meets Sebastien’s English customs officer estranged twin Jacques while Victor has John killed and the house belonging to Tarry’s father burned to the ground. Soon all will converge in danger and love.
FIRE AT MIDNIGHT is an exciting Georgian romantic suspense starring a strong lead couple and a solid support cast. Though he has no redeeming quality in some ways the ultra villain Victor steals the show as his plots and actions are diabolical and deadly even when he is off the page. The rest of the secondary characters are also developed enough to either enhance the story line or the understanding of the two stars; especially Tarry who wants to be a hero to his beloved friend and to his larger than life father, but though he tries he lacks the skills. Fans will enjoy this fine early eighteenth century historical thanks to deep characterizations that hopefully include sequels.