Holiday Historical: Jaded Doctor and Optimistic Lady Romance

A Kiss for Midwinter - Courtney Milan

I'm not big on historical romance's anymore, but I really enjoy Milan's short stories. She manages to pack a lot into these eBooks and I love that she goes outside of the typical tropes found in the genre.

In A Kiss For Midwinter, Dr. Jonas Grantham has let the harsh realities of his profession turn him into a cynic. When he decides to pursue the optimistic Lydia Charingford, who hates his guts, he makes a deal with her. Give him three days to find a situation where even she can't find a bright side. If he succeeds, Lydia owes him a boon. If he loses, she'll never have to talk to him again.

I really enjoyed both the main characters here and I loved the glimpses of Lydia's relationship with her father. However, there were moments of the story that didn't work for me. In particular, the sex education monologues from Grantham. I know that Milan was attempting to portray Grantham as the kind of guy who would always tell you the truth, even if it's uncomfortable to hear, but something about his speeches on how sex works really pulled me out of the story.

Additionally, I would have liked to have seen Lydia address the passive part Grantham played in the opening scene with her five years ago. I liked that Milan showed how the experience was still affecting Lydia, even five years later, but I thought that the part her parents played in the aftermath and Grantham's quiet witness to it, could have been addressed more directly. Primarily because I found it strange that Lydia didn't seem to have any real reactions to finding out that her parents might have knowingly poisoned her five years ago in order to ensure her reputation remained intact.

Other than that, I enjoyed watching the relationship between Grantham and Lydia slowly evolve. This was a nice short story for the season.