Cover Image: A Kiss in the Moonlight

A Kiss in the Moonlight

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed A Kiss in the Moonlight by Cathy Maxwell.  The character are wonderful.  Happy reading!
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**
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Cathy Maxwell has been a longtime favorite author of mine since I began my romance reading journey, and A KISS IN THE MOONLIGHT is truly a triumph.

Dara and Michael's romantic journey is one of twists and turns that will entertain readers while evoking great emotional reactions. Their story is earnest and sincere, making it a delight to read.

Overall, I highly recommend A KISS IN THE MOONLIGHT!
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Another winner from Cathy Maxwell and one that's a little different, too. In addition to the main couple (who are not initially obvious), there are many other stories and characters set up for future stories. So, lots of possible romances, and a mystery on top of it all.
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New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell begins a spectacular new series, the Gambler’s Daughters. Three aristocratic sisters must use their wits and wiles to make their ways in Regency London.
Cathy Maxwell has done it again in this first book of the new series!  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion of this book which I read and reviewed voluntarily.
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I loved the fact that this featured a wily, independent heroine in an unconventional setting. And the hero isn’t a duke! 

I can’t wait for the release of the next book in the series!

Full review to come on my blog.
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Wow, Amazing 5 Stars for A Kiss in the Moonlight by Cathy Maxwell! Maxwell is a dynamite storyteller and this tale kept me turning the pages. Dara wants a better life for her sisters and she comes up with a plan for them to go to London and marry Dukes'. After her sister Gwendolyn wins the funds the sisters, Dara, Gwendolyn, and Elise along with their great-aunt travel to London. At first, the women are not invited to any events, but soon they are invited to one of the biggest parties of the season and they soon learn who invited them. The gentleman who aided Gwendolyn at the gaming hall in Ireland. His friend Michael Brogan is also in on his plan but it has nothing to actually do with the sisters, but they are a convenient aid. Michael is searching for the crooks who are stealing funds from the military. He calls upon the sisters and flirts with the young Elise and everyone thinks he's after Elise but Dara does not want him to be with Elise, firstly she herself is falling for him and second, he's not a duke. But soon Dara begins to fall deeply for Michael and he begins to fall for her. But her sister Elise is deeply in love with him and she wants nothing but to protect her sister's heart. Soon Dara finds herself in scandal and also with Michael, on the hunt for a killer. This is their only chance, they have one season, can they all find love and marry a duke?

This tale just takes many turns and has romance, scandal, murder, and mystery all thrown into one amazing story. You will not be able to put it down! I truly love these sisters and I can't wait to read each of their stories and see where the next book in the series takes us! I most highly recommend A Kiss in the Moonlight!
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Cathy Maxwell is a new to me author and I am so glad to have discovered her with this book. She really brings the characters to life for me. This is her first book in a new series The Gambler's Daughters following 3 sisters who are trying to make their way in society. After their gambling father disappears and they find themselves on their own their great Aunt is all they have to look after them. Middle sister Dara comes up with plan using what little they have & gambling it to finance their season with plans to find a husband for each of them. When politician Michael Brogen gets involved
it changes everything, especially her well thought out plans.
 This book really showed me the wonderful writing of Cathy Maxwell. It has everything you want and more. A little mystery & humor and the perfect make you melt romance your looking for. My favorite part that really shows you just how fun this story is, at the beginning of each chapter she starts with Dara's example
 following the proper rules of society. Then even better is their less proper aunts response.
 This was a wonderful story & I look forward to the rest of the series
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Oof this was rough! Honestly, the premise was spectacular! Unfortunately, the writing was flat, the story never developed well and I just didnt care for any of the characters. 
After their annoying cousin inherits their home, three sister (and their great-aunt) from Ireland run from home and try their luck at London's Marriage Mart. Middle sister, Dara is the mastermind behind the whole things because her number one goal in life it to see to the well-being of her sisters (this backfires). She has an immediate attraction to Mr. Michael Brogan, an Irish MP. Unfortunately, he looking only at her little sister, Elise. Yes- major sister drama, sprinkled with a 'who stole this money' mystery. 

What a bummer because the idea was just great but it never delivered. 
Side note: This is the first ARC I have received that I honestly questioned whether an editor even looked at it. In no way did it reflect what I thought about the story, but I have never seen so many spelling/grammar errors. 

Thank you #NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Since their father disappeared and their toad of a cousin took possession of their home, the Lanscarr sisters, Gwendolyn, Dara, and Elise, have found themselves in a predicament. To prevent them being forced into unwanted positions, Dara proposes they gamble for the money to finance a season in London. Her hope is that with their looks and charm they’ll be able to snag titled husbands despite their lack of fortune.

It seems the scheme is actually working when the sisters are declared the season’s incomparables, but Dara’s plan is challenged by sensible MP Michael Brogan, who she finds irritating and attractive in equal measure. He doesn’t have the title she craves, but Michael is determined to teach Dara a thing or two about London life and men in general, leaving her to question all the plans she made.

I feel like I keep saying this lately, but I’ve got some mixed feelings on this one. I really liked the premise and I’ll continue the rest of the series because of that, but I think this story succumbed to first in series syndrome. There was just too much ground to cover here with getting everything set up that the romance was rather lost. In the first half of the book especially, Dara was annoyingly naïve but also controlling and manipulative of her sisters. She was determined that they go along with her plan and didn’t really listen to what they wanted. Dara and Michael didn’t even get page time together until a quarter of the way through the book. At 29% they still hadn’t had a real conversation beyond her rudely stealing a dance with him from her sister. This scene just made Dara seem even more rude and I was left wondering why in the world she thought she could warn this man away from her sister when there was no reason to. Of course, it was because she had feelings for him herself, but that aspect didn’t feel especially believable just because of the way her behavior came across to me.

Dara was also quite the little snob and for no reason. She wanted her sisters to share in her ambition but continually failed to ask what they wanted. She claimed to have done so much to get herself and her sisters to London, but really all she contributed was the idea and the nagging. It was Gwendolyn’s card playing that provided the funds that ultimately made the move possible and to be honest I was more interested in her interactions with Beckett Steele than in Dara’s with Michael. In fact, for a while it seemed Gwendolyn and Beck would be the MCs of this story. Anyway, I just couldn't understand why Dara was the self-appointed boss of the other two sisters or why she felt so entitled. Even when she was well-meaning, Dara was obnoxious and difficult to like. She continually assumed she knew best, that flaw even foiling some of Michael's high stakes political investigation and likely resulting in a man's demise because she couldn't keep her mouth shut and quit making assumptions about Michael and her sister. All that said, Dara was much more likable in the latter third or so of the book, but I still didn’t get the romance. Apparently, she and Michael bickered a bit and fell in love, but most of this appears to have occurred off page and we don’t see much of it, so it was hard for me to really believe that they had a connection, much less deep, abiding love.

I think Michael and Dara could’ve used more time on the page together, alone. There’s also a bit of political intrigue going on and that just seemed like another thread of the story that didn’t have time for a proper fleshing out because of all the other elements at work here. Most of the time one or both of her sisters is around and while Gwendolyn is likable and their eccentric aunt was both humorous and charming, the younger sister, Elise, was just over the top. She was this annoying spoiled brat of Dara’s creation and that, of course, backfired on Dara. It seems Elise’s story will be next, and I do want to read it just because of how this one ended, but it’s going to take quite a lot of character development for her to become likable for me. This certainly wasn’t terrible by any means, but I didn’t love it the way I wanted to or thought I would. I think there was perhaps just too much going on here.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I'm giving A Kiss In the Moonlight 3.5 stars rounded up rounded up to 4.

This is the first in a new series with three sisters fleeing their guardian in Ireland to have a season in London. To, of course, find husbands. Book one is Dara's story, and she is the middle sister. She's the one who tries to take care of the others. Sometimes , putting their needs ahead of her own even at times to her detriment. 
 She finds love with Michael, a man her sister Elise is interested in. This causes a rift between the sisters. I felt that Elise came across as selfish and immature in this, but I'm holding on to hope that she will be redeemed in her story. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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A Kiss In The Moonlight is the first novel in The Gambler’s Daughters series by Cathy Maxwell.  This is my first book by this author, and I had mixed feelings about the story.  The writing was engaging, and I cared for the characters, yet sometimes I felt confused.

Dara and her sisters are destitute and devise a plan to go to London for a season to find Dukes to marry.  Along the way, Dara meets Michael Brogan, a man who entices and infuriates her.  Michael is successful if not titled and finds himself falling for Dara, not Elise, the younger sister who is infatuated with him.

I felt lost in the first few chapters of this book.  We are introduced to three sisters:  Dara, Gwendolyn,  Elise, and their great aunt, Tweedie.  This book is Dara’s story, yet there are several chapters at the beginning of the book from the point of view of Gwendolyn and a man named Steele.  At first, I was confused about which sister was the main viewpoint.  I understand what the author tried to do; however, I don’t think it worked.

I loved the characters of Michael, Dara, Gwendolyn, Steele, and Tweedie.  I did not like Elise, she was too self-centered, and I had trouble relating to her.  The bulk of this story focused on the vivid characters I enjoyed.  The plot, once it started following Michael and Dara, was excellent.  I especially enjoyed the last few chapters.  The story flowed well and kept me interested.

There were captivating moments in this story.  I loved the premise and writing, and I look forward to the next book.  Sometimes it takes a little bit for a story to gain momentum, and this was one of those novels.  When it did find its pace, the book was interesting, intriguing, and captivating.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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After reading the first 40-ish% I skipped to the final chapters, plus the cliffhanger prelude to book 2, then hung my hat. I was so confused starting this book as the description plus each chapter “quote” was about Dara, buuut the first meet cute was between Gwendolyn and Steele?? Sooo much time was spent establishing their story that I wasn’t even interested in Dara and Michael’s anticlimactic meet after that. Not to mention the ending has me assume that book 2 is about Elise, leaving book 3 for Gwendolyn. UGH. I get that first books can set up a lot but I want the first book to still focus on the MCs and feel whole in and of itself. The final straw for me was two sisters falling for the same hero. Please no, I’m out. 

Thank you to the publisher for the advance reader copy via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.
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Cathy Maxwell is an author I always enjoy, her novels have a lightness and air to them that are extremely readable, they are always well paced and prove to be a quick and fun read, and the stories always have a gentle sweetness to them. A Kiss in the Moonlight is Maxwell's first foray into a new trilogy that centers around three Irish Sisters who must use their wit and wills to traverse the London marriage season. Their ultimate goal is to all marry Dukes but will love get in their way? Maxwell's first novel has a lightness and fun to it, the hero and heroine are fun together and watching them interact together really drives this story. 

I really love that the hero is a clever, handsome politician who must challenge the heroine and her goals to marry a duke. I love that the hero falls fully in love with the heroine before she learns her true heart. Watching the hero challenge the heroine about her ideas about men, ambition and love is so delightful. Maxwell does a lovely job with their banter and clever remarks to create two people who are so worth rooting for. Maxwell' s novels do tend to be lean on sensuality, and A Kiss in the Moonlight is more closed door than I was first expecting. I don't think it harms the story in anyway, because some of her past novels the sensuality can come a bit abruptly into a scene, and I think this novel shows that Maxwell is exploring a new way to show closeness and trust with her characters in a more gentle and soft way. 

If you are a fan of Cathy Maxwell then I think you will have this to be a sweetly charming novel and a lovely new series to explore. I also would recommend this as an introduction to Maxwell's work, especially if you love a light historical that has low steam but still has a great sweetness and romantic center.
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This is the first in a new series, so there's a bit of 'set up' in the first few chapters.  I was a bit confused at first since the story focused on non-main characters initially, but it came back around to the main characters - Dara & Michael.  

Dara is the middle of three sisters who are at the mercy of their cousin and his wife when their father - a gambler of some fame - goes missing and is presumed dead.  She decides the three of them are going to London to secure their fortunes by each marrying a Duke.

They are an immediate hit when they arrive in London for the season, but almost immediately the flaws in Dara's plan starts to show - she is intrigued by MP Michael Brogan, who seems to be enamored with her younger sister.  Michael is not a Duke, nor will he ever be, but when circumstances demand they wed they find out they're made for each other.

It was a good start to the series, and I am excited to see how it goes from here.
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Good start to the new series. Gwendolyn, Dara, and Elise are three sisters and daughters of a gambler. The girls lived with their grandmother when he went off on his travels. It's been a long time since anyone heard from him, so when their grandmother dies, their unscrupulous cousin claims the heir's rights and moves into the house. He promptly tries to marry the girls to anyone who will have them. Middle daughter Dara decides their best bet is to go to London for the season and find dukes to marry.

The three women are short of cash, so when they sneak off on their trip, they stop first at their father's favorite gaming hell in Dublin. Gwendolyn disguises herself and enters a game of faro to win the money they need. Though a talented player (she counts cards), she finds herself losing badly, unaware that the dealer is cheating. She is rescued by a gentleman named Becket Steele, who stakes her further play in exchange for a later favor and stops the cheating. Gwendolyn rapidly makes up for lost time, returns the stake, and escapes when things turn rowdy.

We next see the sisters in London, where things start slowly, thanks to their one Society connection being out of town. Thanks to the mysterious Mr. Steele and Michael Brogan, an Irish MP, they get a break. Suddenly Elise and Gwendolyn are declared the "Incomparables" of the season, and men have lined up at the door to court them. Dara remains in the background, believing she is the "plain" sister. But Dara is the brains behind the plan and keeps her sisters focused on the prize. But that focus gets disrupted as Michael Brogan begins paying attention to Elise, who eats it up. Dara is furious and does her best to discourage him.

Dara irritated me at first with her mercenary approach to husband hunting. I got that they needed husbands, but her narrow focus on dukes left out many perfectly suitable men. I enjoyed seeing Michael give her a hard time about it. It quickly became apparent that there was a strong attraction underneath their antagonistic encounters. However, Dara refused to accept it, knowing how Elise felt about him. It isn't easy, and a couple of passionate kisses complicate her efforts.

I enjoyed seeing the progression of the relationship between Dara and Michael. The bickering between them is a different sort of flirting, though neither realizes it. I liked Michael's realization that he got much more enjoyment out of his duels with Dara than he did talking to Elise, and I was happy to see him pull back from that relationship. Dara's life becomes even more complicated when her rescue of a drowning child and Michael's assistance put her at the center of a scandal. Suddenly the sisters find themselves again on the outside looking in, with their plans in ruins. I loved Michael's insistence on doing "the right thing" and had to laugh at Dara's attempts to get out of it.

Besides his duties as a member of Parliament, Michael has learned of an ongoing embezzlement problem at the War Office. With Steele's help, he has identified one of the players, but Dara inadvertently interferes with one of his attempts to learn more. She is later with him when they witness a murder, and I loved how her practicality helped temper his emotional response and how he's impressed with how much help she is when there is more trouble. I also approved of his protectiveness when he realized she was in danger. I ached for Michael when he thought the investigation was ruined and cheered when an unexpected twist turned things around. The resolution was very well done.

At the same time, Michael and Dara realize the truth of their feelings for each other but fear rejection if they say anything. I liked seeing Dara gain her courage first. Her confession was fun and quintessentially Dara-like, followed by the most Michael-ish response. I hope we get to see more of them in the following books.

I liked the dynamics among the three sisters and loved their aunt "Tweedie." Dara is the planner, but all three are intelligent, well-spoken women interested in more than your average debutante. As the book continued, you could feel their frustration at hiding who they were. Dara tends to be heavy-handed in her need to keep them on the straight and narrow, and eventually, her sisters rebel. Gwendolyn was okay, just more interested in having some time for her pursuits as well as their Society obligations. But Elise was a spoiled brat. Her popularity quickly goes to her head, especially regarding Michael's early attention. She doesn't seem to notice when he backs off and becomes insufferable when she discovers Michael is more interested in Dara. She desperately needs an attitude adjustment. The book finishes with an epilogue that appears to be a lead-in for the next book and is Elise's story. I have high hopes that she will get that awakening.
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Rules of society are to be followed, not to be bent or broken, in “A Kiss in the Moonlight” a Gambler’s Daughters novel by Cathy Maxwell!!

Taskmaster Dara Lanscarr and her sisters must marry dukes for a better life, so they attend the London marriage market with their aunt, Dame Eleanor aka Tweedie.  However, Dara breaks a couple rules for good reason and her scandalous behavior leads her to face the fact that she is desired!

I love the sarcasm especially from Dara in the beginning, and from all sisters throughout the book!  Tweedie’s hilarious mockeries are in the form of theories and thoughts that accompany Dara’s rules at the beginning of each chapter.

I enjoy the different types of mysteries in the book!  Dara helps her beau Mr. Michael Brogan solve a treason.  One sister gets hurt over the union and her actions are a mystery to her family.  The other sister seems to be admired by a hot, mysterious person.

The middle-child with the “average looks” gets the ring first however it takes a direct guy, the right guy, to make the direct girl see the beautiful truth!  I highly recommend this book!

Thank you to Net Galley, Avon, and Harper Voyager US for the ARC in exchange for a honest review.
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I reviewed this title for Fresh Fiction. My review can be found at the following link:
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I sympathized with Dara in places but she wasn't the kind of MFC I usually gravitate toward, being something of a wet blanket and a martyr as the second half of the book proceeds. I did like the young Irish MP, MIchael, she becomes engaged to, and found the skulduggery he's involved in during the last 30% of the book interesting.

As far as tropes go, I'm not crazy about "we must marry dukes" (there really weren't that many handsome, eligible young dukes flitting around at balls) or love triangles involving family members. And I really didn't like the attitude of Elise, the youngest sister, who goes from being semi-tolerably immature to making nasty accusations toward Dara just because she'd hoped to win Michael's hand. She put me off, and I don't feel the urge to read the next entry in the series, which will feature her.

I wish the author had plotted this out differently, focusing on the aspects that work and culling out the rest. This book feels like an unfinished novella was tacked on to a finished one, and they were both awkwardly put together. Too much ground is covered, and it makes everything feel rather rushed, including the post-marital steam between Dara and Michael.
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I'm a fan of Cathy Maxwell's books. I love how they make me laugh, sigh, and swoon. She's a master of all three. Her newest, A Kiss in the Moonlight introduces her Gambler's Daughters series and the three Lanscarr sisters from Ireland: Gwendolyn, Dara, and Elise. It's an intriguing journey filled with mystery, danger, unexpected romance, and a heart-wrenching family rift (hopefully to be mended in book two). 

This first book sets up the series with a fair amount of time devoted to each of the sisters. We begin to learn about their personalities, their desires, and how they each behave within the network of their family and sisterhood. I liked them. Well, I liked two of them. One has some significant growing to do before she engages my support. I'm eager to see what Maxwell has in store for her in book two.  

In this book, it's rule-making, middle sister, Dara (the plain, overlooked one in her opinion) who unexpectedly steps into the romantic spotlight. She and Michael are such a wonderful match. I loved their banter, chemistry, and partnership as they worked together to bring a traitor to justice. Michael really couldn't have found a better life partner. It was so gratifying to watch Dara evolve, accept that she's deserving of love, and finally realize the self-confidence and self-worth that had been outside her grasp. I may have cheered out loud when she finally stood her ground and claimed that which she deserved. 

One of my favorite parts of this book is the beginning of each chapter where the author shares one of Dara's proper rules, followed by flask-carrying Great Aunt Tweedie's less than proper response. Snort laughing may have ensued over more than one of those responses. 

*ARC received for fair and unbiased review
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A really cute start to the series!

Three Irish sisters, Gwendolyn, Dara, and Elise, left with nothing after their father's disappearance, hatch a plan to go to London for the Season to try to marry Dukes. Dara, the middle sister, makes all the plans, writes down all the rules for respectable ladies, and makes lists of all the available suitors, but she doesn't account for her younger sister falling for a charming MP Michael Brogan. And she doesn't account for her falling for him as well.

Things to look forward to:
-teasing and bickering
-passionate kisses in gardens
-daring rescues of children
-tight sister dynamics
-being caught in compromising positions
-a dash of murder and intrigue

I really loved Dara and Michael's relationship. That moment when he realizes that he's in love with her? God I wish I could bottle that up. I really related to Dara's character, they way she always puts others before herself, even if she ends up the one suffering. The Lanscarr sister dynamic was also sweet, but I wish Elise wasn't so immature when it came to Dara and Michael's relationship and marriage. It sort of reminded me of Kate and Edwina's relationship in Bridgerton season 2, a weird jealous love triangle that nobody really wanted. So reading Elise's scenes was a little painful. Her book is next so I hope we will see some sort of redemption arc with her behavior.
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