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Fly Me to the Moon #3.1

A Midnight Clear

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Annapolis, Maryland, 1948

Frances Dumfries is the perfect admiral’s daughter. She runs the household, hosts the parties, and never falls for the midshipmen surrounding her. Having fun or putting herself first is definitely not on her schedule. And she doesn’t want anyone—particularly not a man too handsome and kind for his own good—to point that out.

Midshipman Joe Reynolds sympathizes: ever since he tumbled headlong into love with Frances, life hasn’t been much fun. With only so much time until he ships out from the Naval Academy, he’s racing the clock, and her refusal to give him a second look, to secure her affection. But this sailor isn’t surrendering in the campaign to win her heart.

Torn between duty and selfishness, it will take a Christmas miracle to show Frances and Joe that love is rare, precious… and worth fighting for.

150 pages, ebook

First published November 7, 2015

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About the author

Emma Barry

26 books144 followers
Emma Barry is a teacher, novelist, recovering academic, and former political staffer. She lives with her high school sweetheart and a menagerie of pets and children in Virginia, and she occasionally finds time to read and write.

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5 stars
53 (22%)
4 stars
91 (38%)
3 stars
74 (31%)
2 stars
11 (4%)
1 star
6 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews
Profile Image for WhiskeyintheJar.
1,318 reviews542 followers
March 26, 2017
4.5 stars

Read this for 12 Tasks of the Festive Season:
Task the Ninth: The Happy New Year:
- Every year you get a little bit older! Read a coming of age novel or any old favorite comfort read to start the new year right.

Y'all. Seriously.

Set in 1948 we have Frances, a nineteen year old Admiral's daughter who has basically had to take on the responsibility of wife, setting up dinners and functions, after her mother passed away. She is constantly hounded by young naval men only wanting to date her to get in good with her father.

In walks Joe, a midshipman who has one conversation with Frances and gets struck by love at first sight. It's a novella, so I'll forgive the insta-love but only because how the rest of the story went.

Just, gah. I don't know, it was so romantic! The way Joe pursues Frances, y'all, he gives her books...

THAT HE READ. He read a Georgette Heyer for her.


As she watched him, he didn't touch her; He looked. Merely looked. Looked in a way that made touching beside the point. His hands were in his pockets, and her heart was in her mouth.

You're going to swoon hard for Joe. Frances was a bit of a tough cookie but oh how you understand her when she says she doesn't want to be a Navy man's wife. I loved Frances' family, sister, and father. Her father may anger you at first but with few words and one amazing scene where he sits on the floor with Frances, you'll sympathize with a man who did a tough job and maybe doesn't fully understand raising girls but loves them. I loved how the authors had Joe showing respect for the Admiral and a bit nervous but in a couple scenes show him standing up to him and for Frances. Y'all, again,

There's not too much of a holiday feel to this but who needs that when you have Joe. This story is just so romance-y and if you want your face to hurt from smiling and your heart to feel like it is going to burst out of your chest, you must read this.
Surprisingly, the only down fall was the epilogue for me. Reminder it is 1948 so their sex scene is a bit..awkward and I don't know, it kind of dented the chemistry I felt from the couple earlier. Or maybe it's just my 21st century womanhood screaming, "Get at it Frances!" cause, y'all, again,

So, I know this review is basically me telling you I have the hots for Joe but I had to let someone know, couldn't keep it to myself. Read this book if you at all like romance.
Profile Image for sraxe.
394 reviews393 followers
March 2, 2016
It felt confusing and achy and gave him the sweats when he thought of her—the long, cool fall of her blonde curls, the elegant turn of her ankles, the refined sweep of her neck—every bit of her made every bit of him throb.

Being in love felt remarkably like a bad head cold.

I loved it! Joe was pretty adorable with his steadfast pursuit of Frances. He knew he wanted her and did whatever he could to have her. Even though I felt bad for him at times (Frances was pretty brutal in her initial rejection), I liked that Frances didn't just fall at his feet. She had her reasons for rejecting him, for which I felt the authors gave completely believable reasons. And, even when he thought he couldn't have her-have her, he decided he'd do whatever it was he could to make her happy regardless. He got an automatic thumbs-up from me just for that. But then, the authors took it a step further, and it was revealed that Joe's a virgin to boot (which, tbh, is what cinched the 5-star rating), so extra props to him and the authors there!

It should be noted that my rating for this book is reflective of how I felt about Frances and Joe in combination with previous book, Star Dust (which this book is a prequel to). I loved that whatever Joe says and does in this book (that he'll never hurt her, that he wants family, and that he wouldn't abandon them) is held true in the sequel. Joe is totally in love with her even then (Joe Reynolds looked at his wife with an expression of wonder—almost as if he was looking at the stars.), so I thought it was great seeing him not spout lies or exaggerations in this one, only to inevitably disappoint at the later point. I can't say for sure how someone who hasn't read the previous book will feel about this book, but I loved that, even 14 years later, Joe still totally loves Frances.

This is going off on a tangent, but it's nice to be able to read a follow-up and see that I can trust the authors to keep it consistent; that when I'm given an HEA by an author, I can trust in the validity of their word and that HEA. I've come across some authors who completely ruin HEAs afterwards (with the H/h of a previous book either cheating, checking out/getting turned on by other people, talking about past conquests, scenes recounting past conquests that include previous Hs/hs etc.), and I'm just left thinking why in the heck would you do that?? As far as I'm concerned, I can never trust that author or their HEA again, tbh.

There is one thing in the book that may bother some, but I didn't have a problem with it at all. I was glad with the decision the authors went with.

If there's one complaint I had, it's that I didn't completely like when Joe refused to take no for an answer from Frances when attempting to court her. Although it only happened in the beginning, and they do discuss it, I didn't like that he'd decided that, because she didn't known him well enough, her rejection was basically invalid. I said that I liked his steadfastness—and I did—but it also bothered me a bit because his refusal smacked of entitlement. However, as I read further, I ended up liking him quite a bit, and the virgin hero bit won me over completely.

I suggest giving it a go! You've really nothing to lose because it's free on Amazon, along with various other places.

(On a side note: Although I generally try and tag pre-1950s books as "historical," I decided to shelve this book as "contemporary," even though it takes place in 1948, because it's a prequel novella to the Star Dust, which was set in 1962.)
Profile Image for Mandi.
2,306 reviews725 followers
December 9, 2015
This is just the cutest novella. Set in 1948, Francis Dumfries is nineteen and an Admiral's daughter - this means she has a lot of responsibility at home. Her mother passed away when she was fifteen, and Francis really had to step up to the plate. With her father away at war, her teenage self had to care for her very sick mother. Now a few years later, Francis hosts her father's important parties and runs the household with an ease of someone much older. Because her father is an Admiral, many of the midshipmen at the Naval Academy want to date Francis, just to get to her father. She is no dummy, and finds herself continuously turning down offers.

Midshipmen Joe Reynolds could care less who Francis's father is - he fell in love with her on first sight, and now wants to date her, badly. But Francis won't hear of it. Even when he says hello to her while passing on the street, she doesn't acknowledge him. But he is in love and will do something about it.

Joe didn't dare admit all of it - that he feared he was actually in love with her. In love with a girl he'd barely exchanged two words with. One who wouldn't even say hello to him. One who didn't care to know who he was.

She is convinced he is the same as all the others, but Joe is genuine. With a little help from Francis's sister, Joe finally wedges his way into Francis's life, and a very sweet and cute romance develops.

I enjoyed the first book in this series, WORD. This book is a quick read about two youngsters in love. I adored both Joe and Francis. They are both warm, kind people who fall in love and it made me swoon a little bit. I love a good courtship, and Joe pulls out all the stops. He is thoughtful with his gifts, persistent, and always a gentleman. Francis soon realizes Joe isn't after her father - only her. There are innocent kisses and hand holding (and a more...naughty epilogue).

Joe is so head over heels in love with Francis, it made me smile.

It felt confusing and achy and gave him the sweats when he thought of her - the long, cool fall of her blonde curls, the elegant turn of her ankles, the refined sweep of her neck - every bit of her made every bit of him throb.

Being in love felt remarkably like a bad head cold.

Oh Joe. You are too cute.

At the time this review posts, this novella is free.

Grade: B
Profile Image for Seon Ji (Dawn).
1,033 reviews227 followers
August 4, 2016

I was emotional when initially writing this review. It was far to harsh and did not accurately portray my true opinion on the book as a whole. Please forgive me.


Very cute and sweet.

The problem is that it was too short and felt a bit flat due lack of details. I did like it very much but It would have been better as a full length novel IMHO.

My criticisms:

There could have been a little more conflict, but there was enough to keep me interested.

But the biggie.. that brought down the stars for me was the one and only love making scene. It was disappointing to me. A romance book is supposed to have some level of fantasy..but here it was too realistic... I personally prefer fantasy. This is what killed 2 stars.

Otherwise it was a good read. Very sweet.


Hero & Heroine both virgins both are each others first last and only
Cheating- No
Cursing- No
Sex - Once - very poorly done and not until the end
HEA/ILY - yes to both
Marriage- Yes
Rape- No

Profile Image for Jess.
2,979 reviews5 followers
November 19, 2015
I loved this. LOVED THIS.

I'm usually wary of stories where a woman doesn't want a certain kind of life and then ends up in it anyway, but I bought the transition here. And I'm not sure if I've ever read a more charming wedding night.

(This was free when I grabbed it and even if it's not still that way, you should all absolutely read this.)
Profile Image for SheLove2Read.
2,852 reviews181 followers
December 24, 2015
First off, I need to thank fellow reader and friend Willaful for bringing this to my attention. It's probably not something I would have discovered on my own, not being familiar with the author. The cover is what drew my initial interest. It's visceral without being too erotic. It perfectly fits the feel and emotion of the story.

Joe is a Midshipman in the US Navy, in the time just after the end of WW2. Frances is the young woman who has caught his eye and his heart, but she also happens to be the daughter of a legendary Naval hero and Admiral. Frances wants nothing to do with a Navy man, believing them all only interested due to who her father is. Except Joe. Joe is only interested in Frances, and he makes that quite clear. It's actually quite daring for the time and circumstances, but with a single-minded determination, Joe finally wins her heart.

It's romantic and nostalgic, and leaves the reader longing for a different time and place. A beautifully told story. I enjoyed it immensely.
Profile Image for Lyuda.
538 reviews138 followers
December 30, 2015
Charming novella set at the Naval Academy in the late 1940s. It's a prequel (it should really be # 0.5 instead of #2) to Star Dust and features Frances Dumfries and Joe Reynolds. They were minor secondary characters in SD but worse noticing for their strong bond and, most memorable, for when Joe declined the opportunity to orbit the Earth because of his son’s acute illness. The novella is focusing on their courtship 15 years ago.

Frances is nineteen-year-old daughter of a legendary naval hero and Admiral. Ever since her mother passed away, she took over the running of the household, raising her younger sister, and being her father’s hostess.
Because her father is an Admiral, many of the midshipmen at the Naval Academy want to date Francis, just to get to her father. She is smart enough to realize it and rebuffs them all, including midshipman Joe Reynolds. But Joe is different. He could care less who her father is. It is Frances herself that interest him. And with determination fueled by love and desire to see her happy, Joe embarks on wooing her. The old fashion courtship is so refreshingly delightful, swoon-worthy and would sure make you nostalgic.
The authors did a terrific job in creating realistic setting and fully developed, especially for a short read, protagonists.
The novella is sweet and romantic and it’s free for now (thanks, Jill, for pointing this out)!
Profile Image for Tori.
931 reviews20 followers
February 9, 2017
This was so hecking cute!!! Just a really sweet romance with basically no drama. Loved it.
Profile Image for Karen.
1,419 reviews107 followers
November 22, 2015
This is one my new favorite series. It's just so..... romantic in an old school way. The heroes are so nice and there are these big declarations of love. Makes me swoon :-)

*This is a Kindle (& I think everywhere else) freebie
Profile Image for Marielle.
729 reviews2 followers
April 5, 2017
This was soooo sweet and Joe might be the best hero ever!
It's a novella, so much is left unsaid and yes there is instalove (it's a novella). But it was soo sweet, romantic and with tons of swoonworthy scorching looks and a great epilogue (don't skip it if you end up reading this book). The thing missing however is astronauts, since this is a prequel kind of novella, set in 1948 and focusses on minor characters that appeared in Star Dust (which I need to reread now in order to read the HEA for Joe and Frances).

All is resolved within a few weeks, but to add to a believable HEA the engagement lasted months and months, so when the epilogue came I was convinced.

Profile Image for Brandy Painter.
1,632 reviews251 followers
November 18, 2015
I loved Joe and Frances from Star Dust. Neither of them got a lot of page time (particularly Joe), but they still stood out. Frances with her calming presence and Joe's willingness to miss an opportunity to orbit the earth for his son's medical emergency. This lovely little holiday novella takes readers back to when Joe and Frances first met and is absolutely delightful. Joe is a awesome. Any guy who is willing to woo a girl through gifts of books is. Frances is quiet and reserved with definite opinions on what she doesn't want her life to be. Their courtship is sweet and earnest and absolutely delightful.
Profile Image for Ana.
211 reviews38 followers
November 16, 2015
This novella is set in Annapolis in 1949, a dozen years before Star Dust and is the story of Joe Reynolds (another Perseid astronaut) and Frances Dumfries.    Frances is an Admiral's daughter, who constantly must fend of the attentions of ambitious midshipmen who want to rub shoulders with her father.  Joe, while ambitious and dedicated only has eyes for Frances.  The novella is sweet and romantic, as Joe sets out to impress Frances with his desire to seek her happiness above his own.  The conflict and resolutions both seemed real and believable. Barry and Turner did a wonderful job developing a great supporting cast without stealing any time from the young lovers.
Profile Image for Amanda.
400 reviews100 followers
February 13, 2017
So adorable! The romance might have read as a little quick but it still worked for me, maybe given the post-WW2 setting where fast courtships were the norm though nonetheless meaningful. I especially loved that the hero was a hopeless romantic who read Georgette Heyer and gifted the heroine with books. I also liked the fact that Joe and Frances were each other’s first because you just don’t see that very often. The post-marrieds epilogue was extra sweet and the novella’s standout piece. I’m officially in love with this series.
November 24, 2015
This was such a lovely novella. I really loved how Joe pursued her! As a couple they were so sweet together and

This would have been a strong four stars for me but one part near the end made it lose a star for me because I'm crazytits. Apart from that this was so enjoyable. I especially liked the epilogue.

Profile Image for Elizajane40.
234 reviews6 followers
June 27, 2022
Welp, this was last little dollop I could enjoy in this incredibly accomplished and unique series. Each one has been so different and interesting in its own way. I’m so sad there are no more of them !
Profile Image for Cathy Geha.
3,756 reviews80 followers
May 30, 2016
I stayed up till two in the morning to finish this. I thought I could just read a few pages but I was so very wrong. What a wonderful story! I don’t know if it is because my parents were married around this same time period and my father was in uniform for the wedding or if it is just a story that would have tweaked my heartstrings anyway but I could not put it down till I finished the last word.

Frances Dumfries is the eldest daughter of a career naval man and knows just what it means to become the wife of a man married not only to a woman but also to his career. She is pursued by many men on base but has not fallen for any of them. Joe Reynolds is a romantic at heart and at first sight of Frances he is pretty sure she is the one for him. Frances knows what she wants and does not want and is pretty sure what she wants is NOT anywhere on base. Joe knows what he wants and is smart, persistent and different than others in uniform who have set their sights on Frances. Joe has a way about him that really grabbed me and made me feel good and hope that he would win Frances’s heart. This was definitely a feel-good book that I will no doubt read again.

Thank you to the author for the copy of this book to read and review.
Profile Image for Tammy Ambrose.
195 reviews5 followers
January 2, 2016
My first book of 2016 was a sweet, enduring tale of a woman who was bound by duty and a man who knew love when he saw it. Joe was determined to win Frances for his own and went about it so sweetly. Frances had forgotten how to have fun. Her life was caught up into taking care of her dad and younger sister. I could relate to this. When Joe tells Frances that "he adores her" a little piece of my cold heart melts. I believed it and I wanted her to too.
Profile Image for Kristen.
2,136 reviews24 followers
January 4, 2019
i thought this was really cute. i really liked joe. i mean, really liked him. he was adorable. it's short, obviously, so it's a bit insta-lovey, but still cute and mostly believable. i wish the epilogue wasn't as.. awkward, but eh. like i keep saying - it was cute. i liked it more than the first in this series.
1,018 reviews
February 19, 2019
The feminist in me really wanted to frown on Joe's dogged persistence. No means no, dude, no matter the time period. But he was respectful enough that I didn't cringe, and while he never stopped hoping, he did shift his focus to Frances's happiness rather than his wants. All in all, it was a very sweet story.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews

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