A Kiss for Midwinter (Courtney Milan)

A Kiss for Midwinter is a novella in the Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan (set between the first and second novel).
Finished on: 15.7.2021
[Here are my reviews of the other Brothers Sinister books.]

Lydia Charingford has left her past far behind her with the help of her family and her best friend Minnie. The only person who still reminds her of that most difficult time and who still could ruin her, is Doctor Jonas Grantham. Despite knowing about her past, Jonas has no such inclination, though – he would much rather win Lydia over for himself. If only she’d give him half a chance to do so. When he sees an opening to spend more time with her, he proposes a wager – and Lydia accepts.

A Kiss for Midwinter is a sweet read that explores its characters’ vulnerabilities in a really wonderful way, but the romance didn’t quite get off the ground for me in this one. I still enjoyed it, but it didn’t make me squee as it should have.

The book cover showing a dark-haired woman in a white 19th century dress with mistletoe in her hair.

A Kiss for Midwinter deals with a couple of very serious issues and I loved how it does it. Lydia’s teenage pregnancy, the way she hasn’t dealt with the trauma of it at all, just pushed it away, how she has to reframe sexuality and love for herself again before she can even dare think about it in more than just purely practical terms, if at all. There’s a lot here that is well-observed and shown.

Jonas, too, has his problems, especially the very difficult relationship he has with his mentally ill father, a hoarder. His frustrations with the situation and his attempts to convince his father to let himself be cared for were very plastic and relatable. I also liked his bluntness that ties directly into his (medical) practice of actually talking about sexuality and birth control.

So, the two characters on their own were very well-drawn, vibrant and gave space to a lot of social issues to be discussed. All things that I really enjoyed. I just didn’t feel a lot of chemistry between the two together – and that meant that the romance part felt a little lost for me amidst all those big issues.

I suspect that if you find their chemistry stronger (and chemistry is a very subjective thing), the entire novella will work beautifully for you. For me, there remained a bit of an unsatisfying hole. Not one that ruined everything, but one that I would have liked to fill anyway.

Summarizing: not bad, but the other stuff in the series so far was better for me.

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