Midsummer Moon (1987)
Midsummer Moon (1987)
Let’s get the important thing out of the way first: This is a FABULOUS cover. There are many covers for this book, but this one–hands down–is the best. I mean, there is a HEDGEHOG in his pocket. A hedgehog that plays an important part in the story!
He looked at the hedgehog. It stared back at him with beady innocence. Yes, it seemed to say between twitches of its sharp little nose, I’m in the salt cellar, and I’m bloody pleased about it.
Mind you, this isn’t a comedy. It’s an historical romance with elements of steam punk and some very funny bits.
Some of which involve her pet hedgehog.
But I get ahead of myself.
Ransom Falconer, Duke of Damerell, is looking for Mr. Merlin Lambourne, brilliant inventor who has supposedly created something that might help in the war with France.
Unfortunately for Ransom, Merlin Lambourne is a Miss, and she has no interest in decamping from her laboratory to work on anything except her flying machine. But it’s not her flying machine the British government is interested in, and somehow the French have heard about her invention, and are also interested in her, and they will certainly not ask politely.
This isn’t steampunk–not published in 1987–but it’s pretty close. And it’s not alternate history, since the author hasn’t done anything that was completely implausible.
But it has elements of both, and it’s a lot of fun.
There is boinking in this book (just so you’re aware), but it wasn’t the primary focus of the book. And there were lots and lots of other elements. Like kidnapping and flying machines and untoward actions and misbehaving younger brothers and, of course, a hedgehog.
Many, many things happen in this story, but it never goes over the edge to ridiculous. There is a sensible reason for each event that happens. And although Ransom sometimes behaves abominably, he’s not a jerk (which I couldn’t have tolerated), but acts in the way he thinks best both for England and for his family.
Several times he comes really close to being an asshole, but then realizes what he’s done and is sorry.
And there are some lovely secondary characters as well, especially Ransom’s nephew, Woodrow. He was awkward and what you would expect a boy his age to be, but he was also a good boy, made nervous by his fears he won’t live up to the expectations of his uncle. And of course Shelby, Ransom’s brother and Woodrow’s father, and his ex-wife, Jeanette. And his mother–I wish there had been a bit more about his mother, as she was a very interesting character.
I have to admit that I didn’t particularly care for Ransom’s sister, but it wasn’t because she was a bad person, it was just because I find people like her irritating.
And, there was a mystery that I quite enjoyed. I initially guessed the “bad guy” but then changed my mind a couple times, which is always good. But even once I was sure who the “bad guy” was, it didn’t remove my enjoyment of the tale.
All in all, I really enjoyed this story, and can highly recommend it, despite the boinking.