A Kiss For Midwinter - Courtney Milan The story begins with a doctor’s visit to the home of a pregnant teenage girl, Lydia Charingford, the heroine. The attending doctor is “old school” judging this pregnancy as an illness which will result one way or the other in death and he helps this along by giving her medicine which could proof fatal. It is never quite clear, it the intention was to abort or help the end result along. He is also accompanied by a young man. Jonas Grantham, the hero, who has been accepted at med school and is following the old doctor to gain as much experience as possible. They also have an agreement that when Jonas finishes med school, he will take over the old doctor’s practice.

When Jonas returns after finishing med school, he comes back to (what I assume) small town with a rather cocky attitude of finding a pretty girl, get married thus insuring regular and most of all, safe sex. He sees Lydia but does not recognize her. She however recognizes him.

What ensues is like peeling an onion: both have misconceptions and are hiding their feelings. She assumes that Jonas only wants her because he believes she is “easy”. Jonas has been haunted by the look she gave him when they first met during the doctor’s visit. That look, he believes, showed that she knew that he knew that the old doctor was poisoning her.

Lydia believes she hates him and he believes that too. Every time he tries to explain his feelings which he has learned to cover with sarcasms, she sees it as another way he is toying with her.

They enter a silly wager – she will accompany him on three house calls -, Jonas hopes if she gets to know him better, she will see that he truly loves her. I am uncertain why she agrees to the wager. If she wins, he will never speak to her again, well, she could have accomplished that differently unless her opinion of him was so low that she feared he would blur out her youthful indiscretion to all and sundry.

They do get to know each other, she is surprised and slightly scandalized by his frank talk about sexuality and the prevention of pregnancies. She sees that he is a good man but has difficulties jumping over her own shadow. She never dealt with the outfall of her youthful indiscretion but suppressed her feelings. The good old “head in the sand” method and we all know how well this works.

Part of getting to know each other is the way Lydia learns to deal and acknowledge her feelings regarding her teen pregnancy, what let to it (no rape) and the stillbirth. She had the loving support of her family and today’s parents would likely have send her to therapy to deal with it all. Jonas also has a loving parent but his parent is ill, a heart attack which was followed by a form of dementia. He is at loss dealing with the situation. I like to think that seeing Lydia, seeing her strength and just simply talking to her and not necessarily about his parent, helps him making the right decisions.