Reviewed by Kini
I follow Emma Barry on Twitter and was super excited when she mentioned she was sending out ARCs. I didn’t even look it up because I have so thoroughly enjoyed every book in this series so far. Also, it should be noted that I almost never read historical. I like my romance in the present, don’t judge me. But seriously, this series by Barry and Turner is fantastic, set in the 1950’s and 60’s and centered around the space program is so well written. They also introduced me to the fact that women worked as “computers” in the early days of NASA. Anyway, back on track. I jumped at the chance to read this book. When I got it opened it, I realized it is actually two novellas bundled into one. I am not at all opposed to this, but I had read the first one a while back and didn’t re-read it. So for the first half I am digging deep in my memory bank. This review will focus on the second story in the book.
A Midnight Clear
Annapolis, Maryland, 1948
Frances Dumfries is the perfect admiral’s daughter. She runs the household, hosts the parties, and never falls for the midshipmen surrounding her. Having fun or putting herself first is definitely not on her schedule. And she doesn’t want anyone–particularly not a man too handsome and kind for his own good–to point that out.
Midshipman Joe Reynolds sympathizes: Ever since he tumbled headlong into love with Frances, life hasn’t been much fun. With only so much time until he ships out from the Naval Academy, he’s racing the clock, and her refusal to give him a second look, to secure her affection. But this sailor isn’t surrendering in the campaign to win her heart.
Torn between duty and selfishness, it will take a Christmas miracle to show Frances and Joe that love is rare, precious… and worth fighting for.
This novella was a sweet story about the courtship of Frances and Joe. They show up in other books in the series, but as older adults. This novella focused on how they met. Frances doesn’t want to be with a man in the service, because of her dad. She wants to be her own woman, well as much as one can in 1948. If I recall correctly, Joe has to work very hard to court Frances and convince her that he loves her for her and not for her just to be his wife.
A Midnight Kiss
Huntsville, Alabama, 1950
New Year’s Eve is a night for old friends, new hopes, and champagne dreams–and Betty Parrish intends to take full advantage. But when her long-term beau makes one too many arrogant comments, she throws him out. After all, who needs men?
Greg Henkins’s New Year’s plans involve tools and engines, not dances and debutantes. But when the vivacious Betty runs into him, his night ends up head over heels. After all, who could resist a midnight kiss?
Greg and Betty are intoxicated by what they share at midnight, but will their budding relationship wilt in the sober light of morning?
This is a pretty short read, and I don’t want to give it all away, but it was great. Betty is a strong young woman, who was caught up in the what she should be doing in 1951 Alabama. Her beau was a douche to her and her granny and Betty decided she wasn’t taking it. It was great. Betty and Greg chat at the dance and it just goes from there. They have some great conversation and back and forth with each other.
One of the things I love the most about this series is the way that even though it’s the 50’s and 60’s, the characters still act on their desires, but it is in a much more historically appropriate manner. Betty and Greg kiss some and love it and feel it, but aren’t acting like complete horndogs.
“Well, I’m dressed for a night out, aren’t I? I’m going dancing.”
“Don’t come home until you kiss a boy!” Granny shouted after her.
Oh, Betty didn’t intend to.
The Betty he knew was flighty, simpering. But this woman, with the fierce light of battle in her eyes, was no pallid maiden.
I really liked this story. It was fast and sweet read about how this couple met and fell in love. I look forward to the next installments of the Fly Me to the Moon series. I’d love to try out more books that take place in that time period, so send me some recs!