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Dancing at Midnight

(The Splendid Trilogy #2)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  12,107 ratings  ·  558 reviews
Lady Arabella Blydon has beauty and a brain, and she’s tired of men who can see only one without the other.

When a suitor tells Arabella he’s willing to overlook her appalling bluestocking tendencies on account of her looks and fortune, she decides to take a break from the Marriage Mart. During an extended stay in the country, she never expects to meet Lord John Blackwood,
Paperback, 375 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Avon (first published December 1995)
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Start your review of Dancing at Midnight (The Splendid Trilogy, #2)
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
"Belle," he said flatly. "I don't want your love. I can't accept it."

"How dare you belittle me this way?"

His hand closed around her wrist. "You misunderstand me. It is because I value your love so highly that I do not accept it."

Time for another reimagined play. Settle down, folks.

Cast of Characters:
Lady Arabella Blydon (Bella): a lovely and (allegedly) brilliant young woman
Lord John Blackwood: a grumpy, self-flagellating war veteran
Khanh: self-explanatory

Act I:
*a blissful pastoral scene*
Jun 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: historical, no-books
I'm really, really sorry, but I found this book to be the ode to stupidity!

I was spoiled by other Ms. Quinn's books and I was expecting something like those, but I just wanted to yell, cry and pull out my hair while reading this book!

The story could have been interesting, the writing was good, but the actions of ALL characters were sooooo.... idiotic that it was over-the-top!

I was rolling my eyes so much that I was dizzy! They all had so many TSTL moments the it was not funny!

I could rant and ra
You know that Katy Perry song that has the line "You PMS like a chick that I know." That's the song that comes to mind when I think of the hero John in this book.
Not that he's a bad hero, but he gives a reader whiplash. He will go from relaxed and bantering with the heroine to yelling "You can never understand what I've done!" and crushing her into a kiss, then push her away in the space of ten seconds.

It's Julia Quinn's second book and it's nice to know that she improves. A lot of this book is
This was the darkest Julia Quinn novel that I have ever read, and honestly, the worst too.

– Belle’s supportive family: I loved that Belle had a great support system in her family. It was clear how much they loved her.
– Seeing Emma and Alex again: They were the couple from the last book, and ughhhh they were cuter than ever.
– Persephone: She was the MVP. She seemed like just another old, friendly woman, who made occasional funny remarks. However, she was pretty badass, and she literally was
Lacey (laceybooklovers)
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5-4 stars! My favorite of the series. John is a wounded war hero, which means tortured, damaged hero! He does push the heroine away a bit too much for my liking but they were still so adorable together.
Al George
A decent read. Nothing to knock my proverbial socks off

just ok

Series: yep

Sexy times: It's JQ. You're mostly safe

Plan on reading more by the author: Oh sure.

Why it did or didn't work for me: Nothing here to rock my world or make me want more. I mean, it's a solid JQ HR romance, just not one of her best.

Not to worry, Ms Quinn, I'm still reading your backlist. Won't give up.
Jan 30, 2021 rated it liked it
3 Lacklustre Stars

This started well and I was getting read to get cosy on the sofa but alas it wasn't the tantalising HR read I was hoping for.

Hero gave me whiplash with how his mood/actions changed.

Persephone as a secondary character I really liked.

Potential Trigger: (view spoiler)
Book Wonderland
* 3.5 stars

The first book was better, but I enjoyed this one too.
I loved John, he was a good love interest for Belle. I liked their story, but John shouldn't have blamed himself so much for what Spencer did in the past.
Sara ♥
June 10-23, 2015

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..... I dunno....... I wasn't as impressed this time around as I have been before. STILL CUTE though!

April 6-9, 2014

Cute! Love it!

June 29-July 1, 2013

I love this book! Oooooohhhh! You forget how AWFUL the bad guy is! I wish John had (view spoiler) Bella and John are pretty great though. I'm gonna read Dunford's book next! It's been a while!

January 22-25, 2011

Ditto my 2007 com
Monty Cupcake ☠ Queen of Bloodshed ☠
DNF. I just can't do it anymore. I read 161 of 255 pages. And that took several times to accomplish.

I like Julia Quinn, she's kinda cheesy, but usually in a cute way. This book is excessively cheesy and beyond melodramatic.

John, the hero, he is whiny, whiny, mopey, woe is me. He has the worst case if PMS ever. He was wounded during the war, now has a limp, but was made an earl & owns a house. Yet he can't get over something that happened during the war, even though in no way was it his fault -
Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
Belle is witty, fun and loves books, poetry and Shakespeare. I remember the hero had a limp and was a soldier, but I remember that I liked this book the least in the trilogy. *an hour or so later* ahhh, now I remember why I didn't enjoy this book much, the whole rape part of it was too much for me. John while in Spain as an army man witnesses a fellow soldier raping a child and her mother blames him, the girl kills herself three days later hence the wounded (gothic-y) brooding John. I really don ...more
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars...

I really hate to say, but this wasn't one of Julia's best. It started out good, but quickly turned into something I wasn't fond of. I found myself flipping to see how many pages were left and almost skim reading so I could hurry and finish. In fact, I thought about not finishing. That is not in character for me and Julia Quinn books!

Anyway, the worst of it is that after all drama with John & Belle in the beginning and his "reasons" for self hate, you'd think he'd act a little more g
This was okay. Had a very promising start with a dark forlorn tone and emotional back story for the tormented wounded-hero that reminded me of her Bridgerton series. But it quickly lost flavor with the sappy heavy-handed dialogue, dull predictable plot and dragged out pacing half way through. Oh man the number of Oh John, 'oh my darling Belle. You heal me. You are my sunshine, my reason for living! I don't deserve you!' just sucked out all the quiet subtle moments and made the characters come o ...more
Katrina Passick Lumsden
Could John get any more maudlin? I mean, for the love of testicles, brother, MAN UP. I got so tired of listening to him whine and throw tantrums and blame himself for something that....OK, you know what, blaming yourself for not acting in time to help someone is one thing, but when he went so far as to say he did it...that was where Quinn lost me. Which totally sucked because I like Belle and John. But melodrama is fast becoming my literary kryptonite, and silly, nonsensical melodrama is like kr ...more
Well, I'm not making a huge review about this book because I don't think it deserves it.
I liked the beginning, sounded entertaining and different. But then it went downhill. I did loved the characters though, all of them.

My problem with this installment was that the romance felt forced and unbelievable. I hate it when characters get in love in the first week. But I hate it even more when it becomes extremely cheesy which was the case with this story. I mean, there's a limited number of times I c
Addie H
Jun 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: zz-rereadfavs
I am re-reading all my 5 star rated romance novels. There are 60 on my shelf. This is book 30.

This is how my 29th re-read held up.


How I gave this 5 stars in the first place I have no idea. The clichés, melodrama, dialogue, hot and cold characters, TSTL behavior.


So unlike JQ’s usual books.

DNF 50%

Downgraded to 1.5 star

This was JQ's second book. It is amazing how improved it was from her first for me. The main difference was the hero.

Lord John Blackwood was a war hero, and I'm a sucker for a tortured hero of good character. It was a bit melodramatic, but it was also funny and entertaining.

I already adored the heroine Lady Arabella Blydon who was introduced in book one as Emma's cousin. As a beautiful daughter of an earl who had already turned down many marriage proposals, Belle was still likeable and down to
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I love Julia Quinn anyways, but I also love a romance novel in which one (or both) of the main characters has a major emotional battle to overcome. The usual obstacles are good for a read too, but the ones with emotional road blocks offer a much greater depth to the characters. All of my favorite romance novels seem to have that as a theme; this is one of those. As always with one of Quinn's novels, I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love.

This is the second book in the Blydon series. Although the
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015-books
Update: After further consideration, I have decided to downgrade my rating to 2.5 stars.
Here's the thing...I liked Belle and John but I didn't really like the prose. Even though John is whiny one minute then a hero the next, I did still like him. It was a bit repetitive for me and the author went in a different/darker direction with this one. I'm a little put off by how quickly the sex arrives in these tales. I thought young ladies of the ton didn't jump into bed a week after they met someone.
The second book in the Splendid Trilogy. I've read most of Ms Quinn's novels and decided to get a hold of the ones I hadn't. This was one of them. It was a fun read with a dark edge to it. John Blackwood is a wounded war hero who feels guilt due to a deed he felt he should have prevented. Then he meets "Belle". Belle shows John how to dance and live again. ...more
The story started out very good but then went a bit downhill. It got way too predictable and the dialogue became a bit repetitive. I enjoyed the first in the series a bit more and hope the last book will be just as good as the first.

However it did make for a comfort and nice read.

Lover of Romance
Lady Arabella is independent and has had to turn down several marriage offers because its obvious that it isn't her they want but her fortune, so she decides to take a break and stay with her cousin and her husband in the country. While reading, Lord John finds her and through some witty and entertaining interaction they begin to fall for each other....however John is a wounded war hero and has some ghosts in his past and is unwilling to put Arabella at risk...even if that means giving her up an ...more
Ivana Azap Feješ
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The second book in the Splendid Trilogy, a.k.a. Blydon trilogy and features Belle Blydon. Lady Arabella (Bella) seems like a Regency-era heroine. Alex and Emma from Splendid appear often throughout the book - Emma is pregnant with their first child. In fact, as the story opens, Belle is stating at Westonbirt while her parents are in Italy. Belle is just completing the Grand Shakespearean Quest in which she is reading all of the plays in alphabetical order.

I've read most of Ms Quinn's novels and
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lady Arabella Blydon is staying at her cousin's home in the country when she meets Lord John Blackwood. Bella finds John intriguing. He is a wounded war hero who one minute is very cordial, and the next minute he is very cold. John, who blames himself for the death of an innocent girl, feels that Bella deserves a better man. Even though he finds himself falling in love with her, he keeps pushing her away.

I really liked both Bella and John and thought they were a great couple. The only drawback w
amanda s.
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I honestly believe Belle will end up with Dunford but then again I adore this new Hero, John. Love the banters but could be better if the twist didn't seem forced. ...more
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
The first half of the book was SO good. I know it's probably silly but it's been so long since I've read a book with so many interactions between the main characters and I loved it. I thought it was very romantic, how they couldn't stay away from each other. I adored the whole poem thing, especially the part at the end. It was a fun, enjoyable read.
I hesitated a lot between a 3 and a 4 for my rating but if I had to rate my enjoyment it would be a 4 despite some of the issues I had with the plot
This is my least favorite JQ book I have read so far and I really love JQ's writing. She's amazing. But many, many factors contributed into making this book my least favorite so far.
I felt like the main heroine and the hero switched roles. I get it, he went through so many hardships that turned him into this kind of person but still! She was the one making most, if not all the moves which is such a no-no for me and even when John (Lord Blackwood) hurt Belle deeply with either his words or action

When I first added this book to my to-reads list, I added it with the other two books in the series. So I didn’t know any of the characters or how they were connected. After reading Splendid, I expected Belle to be paired up with Dunford. Imagine my disappointment when I saw some other hero’s name in the description thingy. Ya I know it was mentioned that they were simply friends but but but but… awwwww. I had a similar feeling of confusion when I read Scandal in Spring because I expected Cam to

Sep 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
From time to time, even the best of authors falter. Or, in this case, falter, stagger a bit while wildly trying to regain their balance, and then fall headlong down a flight of narrative stairs before crash-landing in the cellar of awful...and then, whilst lying there stunned, try to dig themselves a bit deeper. Such, sadly, is the case with Julia Quinn and Dancing at Midnight.

Despite being a bluestocking, Lady Arabella Blydon has been something of a success on the marriage market - unless you c
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#1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn loves to dispel the myth that smart women don't read (or write) romance, and and if you watch reruns of the game show The Weakest Link you might just catch her winning the $79,000 jackpot. She displayed a decided lack of knowledge about baseball, country music, and plush toys, but she is proud to say that she aced all things British and literary, an ...more

Other books in the series

The Splendid Trilogy (3 books)
  • Splendid (The Splendid Trilogy, #1)
  • Minx (The Splendid Trilogy, #3)

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“My love has eyes blue as the sky.
Her warm, bright smile makes me want to try
To give her the world,
And when she's curled
Up in my arms where I can feel her touch,
I realize again that I love her so much.
My world has turned from black to white.
Kissing in starlight, basking in sunlight, dancing at midnight.'
~John's poem for Belle”
“Look at me," John gasped. "I cannot remember the last time I allowed
myself to be so happy. I smile all day long without knowing why. I climbed a bloody tree, vaulted through your window, and here I am—laughing.It's the middle of the night, and yet here I am
with you. Dancing at midnight, holding perfection in my arms." -John Blackwood to Arabella Blydon”
More quotes…