At the Stroke of Midnight, Contemporary Romance by Tara Sivec
Series: Naughty Princess Club #1
My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
What a wild ride.
Cynthia is at rather a low point in her life. Her husband has left her and their thirteen-year-old daughter with nothing. Unable to cope, Cynthia is desperately trying to carry on as though nothing is wrong, but she can’t keep the facade up in the face of her loud-mouthed neighbour Ariel cutting through the bullshit.
Their unlikely friendship song with another neighbour, a librarian named Belle, and mutually fire financial straits lead them to an intriguing commercial enterprise: a princess-themed stripper service. And who better to help them get started than the incredibly hot owner of a local strip club?
Small confession: I don’t generally enjoy crass humour. I don’t think I’m above it somehow, nor do I have a problem with swearing or sex. I simply don’t find it all that funny. At the Stroke of Midnight relies very strongly on that type of humour. So if that’s your thing, you’ll laugh until you’re sick. If it isn’t your thing, you should still give the book a fair shot. Once I was invested in the characters and substance alongside the humour, I was onboard for the whole thing. Warts and all. This book might well be my gateway drug to enjoying crass humour. It’s definitely my gateway drug for loving Tara Sivec.
I seriously loved this book. Cynthia is amazing. Even in the throes of Stepford Syndrome, she is vulnerable and relatable. Years of an unfulfilling and oppressive marriage haven’t managed to snuff out her strength or determination. She deals with a lot of shit from basically everyone, including Ariel, and one of the best things about Cynthia is that she always comes to a point where she confronts it. This is beautiful every time. Cathartic as fuck. Her blowups spoke to me on a personal level. Even though I haven’t been through the same kind of shit, being fed up is a universal thing.
At the beginning, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get into this. I loved Cynthia, but sometimes I couldn’t help thinking Ariel was a shitty friend and PJ as a love interest worried me because he was pushy and rude. Then something magical happened. Ariel apologised for something. PJ apologised and explained his actions like a mature adult. I was over the moon. Things that bothered me were acknowledged and unpacked in the narrative. This is a book about adults, not only because they swear and have sex. They communicate and take responsibility for their actions. People who don’t do those things are villains.
I can’t wait for Belle’s book.