Rachael Penrose is confined to Bedlam insane asylum in London after
discovering that her uncle Victor plans to kill her brother in order to inherit the family fortune. Victor, with a gang of criminals, uses French privateer Sebastien Falconer as the scapegoat for his crimes. When Victor spreads the lie that Rachael informed on Falconer's smuggling activities, Falconer vows revenge on the girl. Gripping suspense and romance play out in front of numerous historical details, including a violent storm that devastated England in 1703 and swept the Eddystone Lighthouse into the sea.
I've heard very good things about Fire at Midnight and it had such a lovely cover that I couldn't resist adding it to the TBR pile. The book is the author's first and I think it shows, while the potential was great and I really liked knowing about Bedlam and about the storm that swept the lighthouse away in the end I was left with the feeling that this was a bit too light for my taste.
First of all Sebastien and Rachel immediately feel attracted to each other even when he wants revenge for her supposed betrayal and she doesn't know who he is. After she finds out who he is and how he dislikes her they still get involved with each other. I felt all that happened too soon. Then Rachel proceeds to change her opinion of Sebastien several times during the course of the action either because she is influenced by his twin brother who is out to get him or because he is so convincing that she just believes him... I guess I just felt she was too immature and young to deal with what was happening, and Sebastien read like an adventurous alpha male who probably wouldn't let her grow up. I also think the brother and grandfather seemed a bit over the top in their hatred towards Sebastien and his mother respectively and that Rachel's uncle was not developed enough as a villain.
There was a certain feel of adventure to the whole story that I liked and I also appreciated that the setting was very different from what you usually get in historical romances. Wilkinson's style is very easy to read and enjoy and that leaves me in a bit of a difficulty because I didn't like the characters but I really enjoyed everything else. I think I'll give it a 3.5/5 and look out for the author's next book to see how it goes.