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What Happened at Midnight

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,029 ratings  ·  108 reviews
When John Mason discovers that his fiancée's father has embezzled thousands of pounds from their mutual business, he's furious. When his betrothed, Miss Mary Chartley, flees, taking the money and all the evidence with her, he's outraged. He plans to bring the woman he once loved to account--and he’ll shed no tears when he does.

But when he finds Mary, she's not living a lif
Kindle Edition, 104 pages
Published March 14th 2013 by Courtney Milan
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 ·  1,029 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

Courtney Milan is one of my favorite historical romance authors, and stories like What Happened at Midnight are why. Sweet, sexy, romantic, and witty, her stories take you on an exciting adventure, sure to leave you with a smile on your face.
From the cover:

When John Mason discovers that his fiancée's father has embezzled thousands of pounds from their mutual business, he's furious. When his betrothed, Miss Mary Chartley, flees, taking the money and all the evidence with her, he's outraged. He pl
Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
I had read and enjoyed Her Every Wish, another Milan novella, so I hoped I would like this one too. And it was okay, but it seemed to be missing something. The characters were a bit bland, and I didn't quite understand why the nephew was supposed to receive money (I may have missed it being explained). I didn't get why, at the end, (view spoiler). I did like the general setup and there were some ...more
Stuff you can generally rely on getting when you read a Courtney Milan-penned story:

- complicated issues for the hero, heroine, or both
- a headstrong heroine, who wants to do more than the lot assigned to her in life. Let's not also forget that she's also very sure of her sexuality, for the most part
- a hero, who understands the value of loving and supporting the woman in his life
- credible, real-life angst

As such, this story ticked all the boxes. It was by no means disappointing, but if you're
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Review posted on Demon Lover's Books & More


This was originally published in the anthology Midnight Scandals, see my review here

This story begins at the precise moment that Mary’s father’s business partners are ransacking her house looking for the money he embezzled. Mary is in the process of running away when one of the partners decides to beat the information out of her. Her fiancé John steps in, but he doesn’t stop her from leaving him. You see, he was one of her father’s business partners
Sara Reads (mostly) LOTS of Romance
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Milan, Fans of low-key novellas! Those who don't have time to read a full length novel
3.5 Stars
Yesss Courtney Milan's novella game is so strong. I think it's really hard to pull off any novella because it's hard to fit all the plot, character development and smut into a less than 200 page story. I liked this one for several reasons. First, the portrayal of a possessive, abusive person was incredibly realistic. Most spousal abuse comes in the form of subtle acts, verbal and emotional meant to manipulate, and this was very accurate. Kudos to Milan for a realistic portrayal of abuse
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful romance about a love thought gone. Mary Chartley is forced to take a position as a lady's companion after her fathers death and subsequent revelations about his embezzlement. To make matters worse, her fiance, John, is one of the men he stole from. Devastated, she returns his ring and flees saying she has no idea where the money went. When John should suddenly show up at a neighboring estate of her new position, she is sure he is there to turn her in. But John sees how subdu ...more
Sue (Hollywood News Source)
The best thing about reading a Courtney Milan's book is they're always refreshing. I love the sobering topics she usually infuses like feminism, and other relevant issues. The otp is also cute so there's that.
Gwen (The Gwendolyn Reading Method)
Classic plotline of "she done him wrong" or HAS she? Not a bad rendition of it, but not Courtney Milan's most inspired piece.
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
a novella that reminds me of the fact that, no matter her faults, courtney milan is still far and away my favorite romance novelist. this was a perfectly satisfying little snack that did a lot of things right and really nothing wrong for me.

I can't recall reading any other romance novels that dealt with the type of abuse we see here. I think milan handled it deftly and in such a way that we feel its full chilling impact but not for so long that the novella loses its untroubling tone. I also much
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I totally thought that I’ll never finish it after starting and getting to chapter 4 a few month ago. Yesterday around midnight I decided that it was time for bad decisions, so I started to finish it — that resulted in me not going to my two morning classes. I know, bad bad bad...
Nevertheless, I actually stopped the first time just before things started to be interesting. My main problem the first time was something to do with how John acted and the whole ordeal. I probably just wasn’t in the moo
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Content warning: ⚠️ Implications of domestic violence/abuse of power, verbal violence against women ⚠️

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I’ve liked Courtney Milan’s other books, and perhaps I wasn’t in the right headspace for this book. The story opens with the heroine in peril from her father’s business partners, who believe he has swindled them and absconded with their money. She’s engaged to one of the business partners, who thinks she’s hiding the money and her father’s whereabouts. (This i
4+ stars. This novella has some of the things I admire most about Courtney Milan's writing: strong heroines and heroes, full character development, and complete storyline. Not one word was wasted, each has a purpose. The reader is not left asking how, why, or what happens next. That takes skill. Ms. Milan has that.
What I absolutely loved about this story was the fact that, from the very beginning, it was obvious this was going to be no ordinary heroine and no ordinary story. Not that I’d expect anything else from Ms Milan, but opening the novella with the heroine having to conceal the truth behind her father’s sudden disappearance was a tremendously effective hook which intrigued me immediately.

Mary Chartley’s father has embezzled a large sum of money from his business and disappeared, leaving his partner
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked some of this story though it wasn't my favorite of Milan's and I think it's mainly because there is such a pile-on of misogyny from so many badly behaving men that the heroine feels victimized in spite of Milan's attempts to represent her as strong and victorious. I suppose the biggest problem I had with the story is that the hero is a jerk for half of the story. From the opening pages, John jumps to the worst possible conclusions about Mary when it is revealed that Mary's missing-in-act ...more
Allie Loo
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 ✯✯ "Midnight" stars

This was honestly such good read!! Especially for it being a novella.

Don't let this keep you from reading the novella but it does contain mentions of attempted sexual assault/coercion.

The plot focuses on John Mason, who discovers that Mary, his fiancee's father had embezzled a lot of money and intends to get to the bottom of the matter by bringing revenge upon Mary after she leaves.

However, after he finally does find her, he's very surprised to see her living i

Katrina Passick Lumsden
As I've previously stated, I love Milan's writing, and usually her novellas are my favorite. She has a talent for writing shorter stories that makes me incapable of putting them down until I'm finished with then. This one, however, rang a bit ridiculous for me. I didn't understand the heroine's motives behind keeping her secret to begin with. If she loved John, she should have been able to confide in him about what happened. The fact that she didn't while she apparently did love him to distracti ...more
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
***REREAD UPDATE (1/15)***
I don't know what happened, but I reread this last night and I liked it WAAAY better than the first time around. Maybe I was just in the right mood, but I really loved how strong Mary was in all the crappy situations life threw at her. So I'm bumping my rating up to a 4.

Not necessarily my favorite of Milan's novellas but still plenty enjoyable. I just thought it lacked a little of Milan's usual finesse.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Smutty McBookwhore
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I am a bit of a Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas lover. So picking up a new historical romance that is neither of theirs is a BIG step for me. That being said I will totally read another of Courtney Milans books! This was a pleasant read. I really enjoyed the way the characters developed. The only complaint I have it the guy. He was a bit to in-tuned with his feelings. I really wanted him to be more of a jerk. Jerks are the best.
InD'tale Magazine

An enjoyable story with substance the reader can sink her teeth into!

Read full review in the 2013 May issue of InD’tale Magazine.
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great things come in small packages, and Courtney Milan writes fantastic novellas! It amazes me how much plot and characterization she can achieve in only about 100 pages!

I really liked this story, about more of the "common" man than many historical romances.
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
It was a novella that I think would have worked better as a full novel, with more space devoted to the multiple issues it wants to touch upon; it feels slightly repetitive compared to more fully developed Milan novels. Readable and quite alright, but somewhat forgettable compared to them.
Lady Wesley
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Appears in Midnight Scandals. ...more
☽ Rhiannon ✭ Mistwalker ☾
Not enough angst or trauma to get on my shelves, but still, close to those themes and engaging to boot!
Aug 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance-novel

An OK rough draft of a longer story. It couldn't quite stand on its own as is, and could use having just about all aspects fleshed out some more.
Arie ☂
3.5 stars. This was a wonderful introduction to Courtney Milan's writing. I can't wait to read more!
It's official. Courtney Milan is my favourite short/novella author. As always, I enjoyed the telling of this story. The alternating dual povs told in the third person were engaging and compelling. Per Ms. Milan fashion, the story begins with the conclusion of The Big Event, the catalyst for the rest of the plot. It was gripping and held my attention in a vise like grip from beginning to end.

I only have a few minor quibbles. The biggest one is that the H didn't grovel nearly enough. He was so fa
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Another Milan novella where I have negative feelings toward the central ship. He tracks down his former love to find out if she knows anything about the money that her father embezzled.

The only think that I at all liked about this novella was the way that it highlighted the fact that a spouse can be abusive through over-protectiveness. Though that's not really what I want out of a romance novel, it was well done, and I think an important thing for people to realize.
Kai Charles(Fiction State Of Mind)
This was a tense and sexy story, for awhile the reader really feels the main character is a villain. A young woman’s life is destroyed when she learns her privilege and comfortable life comes from her fathers embezzlement.
She goes on the run into even worse circumstances that are surprisingly changed by one of the men her father cheated. Nice conclusion and romance.
Coyer summer novella challenge. 1 pt
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Well, I did not see that coming.

It was interesting to see that for all John's intelligence, he was still painfully naive about some things. Mary was so clever about how she sorted everything out, and was able to not only find herself, but also determine her future when her past had been much removed from her hands.

We don't often get such a far reaching epilogue, and I thought it was a sweet and interesting departure from the norm. I hope they got their additional 40 years.
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is definitely not the author's best story, but I think it really suffered in my mind because I just finished The Heiress Effect, which has a very similar bad guy and home situation, and this felt like a pale retread of that amazingly wonderful book. Other than that the plot seemed pretty far fetched, the heroine weak and the hero bland. So only 2 stars for this one.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 02, 2015 09:56AM  

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Courtney Milan’s books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller and a RITA® winner.

Courtney lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, an exceptionally perfect dog, and an attack cat.

Before she started writing historical romance, Courtney got a graduate degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley. After th

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