Midnight Valentine by J.T. Geissinger
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
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A hauntingly powerful love story in the tradition of The Notebook and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
True love never dies.
Megan and Cassidy were childhood sweethearts who thought they would be together forever. Fate had other plans. Soon after they were married, Cass’s life was tragically cut short. Still grieving her soul mate five years later, Megan moves to the small town of Seaside, Oregon, hoping to rebuild her life.
Her first night there, she meets the town recluse, Theo. Withdrawn, guarded, and mysteriously silent since a terrible accident left him scarred, Theo takes an instant and inexplicable dislike to Megan. But as their paths cross again and again, Megan becomes convinced there’s more to Theo than meets the eye. When she discovers the reason for his silence, his nightmares, and especially his pointed dislike, Megan becomes convinced of something far more astonishing.
Is a second chance at a once-in-a-lifetime love possible, or is a broken heart the cruelest kind of liar?
I read and really enjoyed Burn for You by J.T. Geissinger, so I figured I’d try some of her other works. Her paranormal series wasn’t as successful for me, but I thought I’d enjoy Midnight Valentine since 1) It’s a contemporary and 2) It has stellar reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Plus, the blurb was really intriguing. With the exception of the Epilogue, the story is told in first person from the heroine’s point-of-view.
After the death of her husband, Megan moves to a small Oregon coastal town to finally realize their dream of restoring an old bed-and-breakfast. Upon arrival in town she meets mute, scarred contractor Theo. Despite having never met him before, Theo seems to hate her and Megan can’t figure out why. She decides to go with another contractor, even though he comes highly recommended and she’s told he’s the best. What does being the best matter if the man can’t stand her, right? Except it seems the universe has other ideas. Strange coincidences keep happening until Megan finally has no choice but to hire Theo.
Though his eyes burn with hatred when he looks at her, they’re both drawn to each other. It seems like Theo knows her, but how can that be possible when they’ve never met? As Megan tries to deal with her grief and torment over the loss of her husband, she also tries to make sense of her strange desire for a man who seems to hate her..yet is drawn to her in spite of himself.
This is a hard book to review without spoilers. I really enjoyed the humor and wit of the heroine, Megan. Her sarcastic sense of humor had me laughing more than once. I also enjoyed the mystery surrounding Theo and why he’d turned mute. Toward the end, the book took a dark turn. Even though I saw it coming, I didn’t expect it to go that dark. The tone of the early parts of the book were light, despite the trauma Megan suffered. So the last quarter, by comparison, read almost like a different book.View Spoiler » Megan’s husband, Cass, and Theo each had accidents the same night, at the exact same time though they were in different states and were complete strangers. Pretty early on I figured it was going be a case of Cass somehow inhabiting Theo’s body, and I was correct. While that wasn’t a surprise, the way Geissinger brought the story together was much darker than I anticipated. I was really loving the tone and feel up to that point, even with the fantasy element. Theo thinks he’s going crazy because sometimes he hears a voice in his head that isn’t his own. In fact, he stopped talking because his voice didn’t sound like his own. He ends up checking himself into a mental hospital to get “fixed” and he’s told he’s schizophrenic. He’s put on medication and comes out high as a kite and not at all the way he was throughout the book. Megan decides he needs to face the truth – he isn’t crazy, he really is somehow her dead husband. Had it been written right, I could have bought the whole thing. Like I said, it was well written and I wasn’t surprised at all that’s where it headed. But it was so dark, and his treatment and recovery were such a focal point there at the end, I wasn’t able to get past it. « Hide Spoiler
None of what happened was a surprise as I’d figured it out early on, but the way it was told kind of killed it the story a bit. While I enjoyed Midnight Valentine overall, I wasn’t left feeling warm and fuzzy when I closed it. Still, it was very well written and I can’t deny I was pulled in by the story of Megan and Theo, both separately and together.
I’m conflicted about the grade. The first 1/2 was a solid 4 for me. The humor, the wit, even the slow burning romance. All of it worked. The last 1/2 pulled my grade down. Ultimately I’m giving it:
2.75 out of 5