Before Midnight by Jennifer Blackstream

Before Midnight
Author: Jennifer Blackstream
Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing
Series: Blood Prince #1
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Fantasy,
Source: Author
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: fourstar

Loupe always dreamed of getting married. She yearned for a caring husband who would take her away from her servant-like existence at home with her stepmother and two stepsisters, a man who would love her forever. Those dreams ended the day she was bitten by a werewolf. Now she’s a mindless beast on the night of the full moon—a condition that forever prevents her from sharing a marriage bed. Not even the attentions of a handsome and endearingly strong prince can convince her that the life she wants is still possible. 

Etienne is a prince in need of a werewolf. A werewolf himself from birth, Etienne and his family have protected their kingdom with tooth and claw—literally—for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the spell of a well-meaning witch is slowly turning him human. Only the bite of a cursed werewolf, one who was not born with the beast inside, can save him from becoming human. He has no time for anything that will not lead him to a cure for the cure. Not even the beautiful maiden whose gentle nature soothes his soul can take his mind from his goal. 

Love cares little for the best laid plans or the impossible. A grand ball. The stroke of twelve. A magic “slipper.” All kinds of things can happen when you don’t leave the ball…Before Midnight.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author as part of a R2R in the Lovers of Paranormal Goodreads group. This doesn’t affect my review and the following is my honest opinion.

I started Before Midnight knowing it was inspired by the story of Cinderella (And looking forward to a retelling of the fairy tale!) so, unlike some other reviewers, it was actually the prologue that caught me off guard. I knew the series was interconnected but the way that Jennifer Blackstream chose to do so has me very intrigued. From the first sentence I was surprised – in a very good way – and the initial intrigue had me devouring the book itself.

And Cinderella meets werewolves? Sounds like a delicious combination to me!

The story of Loupe and Etienne shares some of the themes of the original Cinderella and while I feel like it could have been fine without them, I loved the idea of the ball and the twist Ms. Blackstream put on the slipper. I thought it was a very creative idea and retelling that was never predictable! The characters she created are intriguing (I am itching to know more about the other princes in the prologue!) and both Etienne and Loupe were dynamic in their own ways. You might argue that Loupe was timid and weak but I felt that the growth and development for her was logical and made sense considering her upbringing and history. She is a kind woman and what can I say, I’m a sucker for puppies and her empathy for them had me smiling. And a handsome prince playing with cute little animals? Extra points for the adorable! On the subject of  Etienne, he was a very interesting prince; I have a weakness for werewolves and Ms. Blackstream put a very fun spin on them with her first prince! His dual nature and his struggle to handle his emotions as a human left me wanting to know more of him.

My only gripes are that it wasn’t long enough which, in several parts, made it feel a little rushed. I wanted more of them both and more background to it all. Some of the scenes and some of the characters would have, in my opinion, benefited from more time on the page. Loupe’s stepmother had me wondering; I’d have liked to know just how she and Loupe’s father ended up together or more of where she comes from. My hope is that as the series builds we might have some answers to questions I’m left pondering.

Overall though it was a great read. A fun story with characters that interested me and left me hoping to see them again – even if only in brief snippets in later books. I recommend it; it was worth the read!

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