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Hathaway sisters plus Romany Gypsies in the time of Queen Victoria? Yes, please!

Mine Till Midnight tells the story of Amelia Hathaway, the second eldest of five children, who is doing her damnedest to round up her elder brother and save him from himself. This is actually the first of the Hathaway novels - I already read and reviewed the fifth and final one, Love in the Afternoon - and we learn that Leo Hathaway unexpectedly survived a bout of scarlet fever, but he's been wishing himself dead ever since, having lost his fiancée to the ailment. The middle Hathaway sister, Win, also survived, but is now an invalid. Amelia is the sturdy one on whom everyone relies. She's assisted in this by Merripen, a Romany Gypsy taken in by the Hathaways when he was only a teen.

Amelia meets her love interest, Cam Rohan, when she arrives at a gaming house in search of Leo. Cam is half-Rom, half-Irish and 100% foxy, complete with earring and gold rings on his hands - including his thumb. He helps Amelia find Leo, then claims a kiss - and one of the cherry red ribbons on her bonnet. *swoon* He turns up quite unexpectedly in Hampshire, where he is visiting the Hathaways' new next-door neighbor, and he quickly sets out to win Amelia's heart. I confess that I like him quite a lot, and I like their romance quite a lot, and the book made me happy happy happy.

Seduce Me at Sunrise tells the story of Winnifred, who has been in love with Merripen ever since she was a little girl. She leaves England to go to a spa in France in order to recover her health, and returns two years later (with her doctor in tow) to find that Merripen has become a competent property manager and a very hard man indeed. Merripen has always been in love with Win as well, but he feels he's not good enough to deserve her - not only because he's a Rom, but also because he was raised to be a brutal fighter - the human equivalent of a mistreated pit bull, really.

I quite liked the way the relationships between all the Hathaways were further developed in this book, and the way that Leo's true character started to creep in, even though he's not the focus of this title (his romance is book four in the series). Leo manages to get through to Merripen when nobody else can, and a sexy abduction results, followed by a really terrific scene in which Win has to deal with the doctor (no spoilers here, but that scene made me all kinds of happy) and secrets are disclosed and I was nearly inspired to dance the mamushka (okay - so that's the dance they did in The Addams Family; so sue me).

Incidentally, you should see the stepbacks on these books. They're delicious. Also, I've already read the other two books in the series, but they'll wait their turn for review. And now, I'm probably going to scare up the books in the Wallflower series, since some of the happily marrieds who drift into the Hathaway books come from there. *grins*

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