Illustrator: Richard Newton
Book Series: Midnight Vampire #1
Published by: Pinnacle
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era Romance, Paranormal Romance, Vampire Romance
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader
TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠
Midnight Kiss by Nancy Gideon is a vampire romance from way back in 1994.
Nancy Gideon is an author I’m familiar with only through her identity as Dana Ransom. As Dana Ransom, Gideon has written some of my favorite historical romances.
Although I’ve read a few vampire romances, I’ve never been a sucker for them, so this Halloween I decided to bite my teeth into Gideon’s Midnight Kiss. (The puns are awful, aren’t they?)
The Characters and the Setup
Set in Regency Era England, Midnight Kiss begins with man prowling the dark London streets. This man is no man, however; he is an immortal–a vampire named Louis.
Marquis Louis Radman is desperate to find a cure for his preternatural malady. He has spent one hundred thousand nights wandering through the cities of Europe for sustenance, cursed as one of the–surprisingly many–undead who exists by drinking human blood.
Like vampires of legend, he cannot die a natural death. A stake through the heart or sunlight can destroy him. Nor can Louis tolerate the touch of a crucifix or the smell of garlic.
Driven mad by his doomed eternal state, he seeks the help of Stuart Howland, an English physician who specializes in bloodborne illnesses. Dr. Howland attempts to cure Louis of his vampiric disease by experimenting with blood transfusions.
Meanwhile, Louis is drawn to the doctor’s lovely assistant, his daughter, Arabella–the OG Bella of vampire romances.
Arabella is a clever and capable young miss who didn’t fair well in her only London Season due to her outspoken personality. Although she doesn’t fully comprehend the nature of Louis’ illness, she is drawn to the dark, mysterious man who can only be seen at night.
Louis is enchanted by Arabella and vows if he can live as a mortal, he will make her his bride.
Another man has eyes for Arabella, and his fiendish attempts to make her his will draw a horrific danger close to home.
At last, when the treatments seem to work, Louis and Arabella marry. Inexorably drawn to Louis, Arabella has no idea what evil lurks ahead. The pair have a passionate start to their relationship, believing a bright future lies on the horizon.
Recall that Louis is not the only vampire who walks the earth. He shares a turbulent connection with a several who will seek him out and try to take the life of his innocent human bride.
When the truth of her husband’s nature is unveiled, will Arabella be horrified by his monstrosity? Or will she become drawn to him even more?
The Conclusion: Spoilers ⚠
Louis cannot escape his past, as he is a being trapped in time. The vampire who created him is obsessed with him and hunts him down. Death awaits.
By the end, Louis and Bella vanquish some of his enemies, while others survive for another day.
Husband and wife leave England to flee to Vienna. Arabella is pregnant with Louis’ child, and a world of possibilities lies before them.
Arabella’s father dies before he can find a cure for Louis’ vampirism, so Louis is doomed to remain undead. Arabella remains mortal and will die of old age.
In following sequels, after Arabella’s death, Louis finds love with several other mortal women.
Thus breaking the HEA rule of romance!
For that reason, I don’t think I’ll be finishing the series. Knowing this also affects my perspective on this book, and reduces my enjoyment factor. YMMV, but I’m a stickler for for the rules.
Final Analysis of Midnight Kiss
I wish I had read Midnight Kiss when it came out in 1994. At 16 years old, that would have around the end of my vampire-craze phase. The 1992 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula & 1994’s Interview With the Vampire, along with Anne Rice’s Vampire series (up to Tales of the Body Thief–oh, Lestat, how I loved you!), the Dark Shadows TV reboot, and a life-long adoration for Christopher Lee led to my passion for blood drinkers.
Alas, I no longer hold vampires in the same romantic light I did back then. The angsty themes of eternal suffering while existing as a human-but-not-human once fascinated me. It’s all a bit too emo for me, now.
Still, I found Midnight Kiss to be engaging, if a bit overwrought. I’m not certain if Nancy Gideon was the first author to pen a full-length vampire romance. Undoubtedly, she was one of the firsts. So I commend Gideon for trying something innovative and fresh–as this was thirty years ago.
Nevertheless, I know there are better vampire romances the genre has to offer.
Midnight Kiss was the first in a long-running series. I’d rate Midnight Kiss 3.5 stars if I view it as a standalone. Since I’m not continuing the series, I’ll keep that rating.
|Rating Report Card|
They were a gift from her handsome new suitor. After a wretched Season in London, Arabella Howland was ripe for a real romance. But she soon discovered that the Marquis Louis Radman was no ordinary bachelor…
A mysterious blood malady had brought Louis to Arabella’s father. The celebrated Dr. Howland was his last hope–the only man alive who could break the spell that had tormented the nobleman for the past three centuries…
DARK DESIRESMIDNIGHT KISS by NANCY GIDEON
But Arabella saw only a man–a tender, irresistibly seductive stranger whose burning touch sent her own blood racing. Yet even as she donned a wedding dress and vowed to love Louis forever, the past was reaching out to claim him, calling him back to a place of eternal lust and longing–and forcing Arabella to choose between her sunlit world and the dark ecstasy of a…Midnight Kiss