Friday, June 22, 2012

Midsummer as a Plot Device

Midsummer Blog Hop

When I saw this blog hop I knew what I wanted my post to be about.  Midsummer and Midsummer’s Eve are a popular plot device in books so I thought it would be fun to share some of the books. (While all are not SFR they all fall under the Science Fiction/Fantasy umbrella.)

I received an ARC of Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. From Netgalley and was reading it when I signed up for this hop. Deborah used Midsummer Night it as a way to get Matthew and Diana out of the house for the night in 1590 England (where you usually were not safe to be out after dark).  I won’t tell you why she wanted them out all night.  That would be a spoiler but I can share a harmless quote that tells some of the history of the time.  “No, Matthew said, “the bone fires.  Traditionally people celebrate Midsummer Eve by lighting fires: bone fire, wood fires and mixed fires.”  This was after Diana asked why all the bones were stacked up outside houses.

Another author who uses Midsummer is S.M. Stirling.   He uses not only Midsummer in his Dies the Fire, he also uses the entire Wiccan Religion as part of the story line.  Kier Salmon has a post about how she helped with the research for Dies the Fire.  It is titled A Popular SciFi Novel Featuring a Witch and is worth following the link to read. 

Another common use of Midsummer is as a time to summon special power.  That is how Guy Gavriel Kay uses Midsummer in The Summer Tree (The Fionavar Tapestry Book 1).  You can see what he does is this quote. They “came to their power in blindness with that ceremony on midsummer night.” 

In Imajica by Clive Barkee  Midsummer was something you had a reason to look forward to.  Here in the story “Midsummer Night was only two day away and…”

In Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos by H.P. Lovecraft there is “curious sights to be seen about the monolith on Midsummer Night…” Like in other stories Midsummer Night has special powers.

In Destiny; Child of the Sky“by Elizabeth Haydon it is also a special night as this quote shows;  “it had been confirmed by the Patriach’s ring on Midsummer’s Night the previous year…

C. S. Lewis used it as a reference in a scene that “roared as a woodland bonfire on Midsummer night” in The Chronicles of Narnia.

And in Bloody Good by Georgia Evans there is disbelief because “I never did believe those stories of dancing around Fairy rings on a midsummer night.”

Marion Zimmer Bradly even used Midsummer on Darkover. Midsummer and its celebrations are not confined to Earth.  “I also know how to behave when I want them to accept me as a woman at …Midsummer, when the dances in Thendara, for instance go on all night….”  Saga of the Renunciates

In Hawk Eternal (Hawk Queen Novels)  by David Gemmell it is used as a way to show a length of time.  “It lasts two weeks from Midsummer’s Night…"

And one last one for this post.  Elizabeth Moon gave it power in The Legacy of Gird.  In her story you “risked dangerous dreams, on Midsummer Night.”  But in another of her books, Kings of the North it was “Give you Midsummer luck,” the child said…

Leave a comment with your favorite book that uses Midsummer in the plot so you are entered into the drawing for prizes?    What prizes?


1st Prize - a Kindle Touch or Nook Touch
2nd Prize -a library of science fiction romance titles from over 20 authors (these will be mostly ebooks with one print anthology), and an Anabanana Gift Card.


$5.00 Amazon gift certificate

All comments will be entered into the drawing for the Grand Prize.  Visit as many of the blogs below as possible and leave a comment (only one comment per blog) to get more entries.  Be sure to leave your email address so you can be notified if you win a prize. 


  1. Thanks for sharing the information. I will have to write down some of those suggestions!

    Happy Solstice!

  2. I never knew there were so many books that used Midsummer for plot. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I think Midsummer was used as a plot point in Anne Bishop's Witch series, too. It's been a couple years since I read them, but I seem to recall the first book including a Midsummer love spell that drew in one of the fey.

  4. I did not know there were that many Midsummer books out there! A fun post, thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Fires from stacks of bones? Interesting. That is quite a list of midsummer themed books, with great quotes. Great post.

  6. I know Midsummer rituals are performed in Linda Robertson's Persephone Alcmedi series and Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series.

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com

  7. I love when history is tucked into a story, like bone fires. thanks for sharing.

  8. I've been wanting to read a Discovery of Witches for a while, but I just can't seem to get my hands on a copy. Thanks for all of the recommendations!

  9. I can't remember any book that uses Midsummer in the plot. Thank you for the giveaways and hop!

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  10. I've read some of those books, but going to look at some of the others.

    All the best!
    jessicasubject.writer at gmail dot com

  11. I'm going to have to look into the books you mentioned. The Chronicles of Narnia is the only book I can remember reading that mentions midsummer in the plot.

  12. Wow! Thats a lot of books. I didnt know there were so many with the Midsummer plot. Ive only read a couple of those books, gonna have to check out the rest. Thanks for sharing and for the fun hop!

  13. Hi we were talking about this on another blog on books that had midsummer in their plot. I do not know any myself right off, but thank you for a list of them. I will for sure look some of them up. Thanks for being part of being part of this great hop. Joannie jacddmj [at]aol[dot]com

  14. Wow who knew there where so many books with Midsummer in them. I only new of the Shakespeare play and Narnia. I'll have to look up the rest.

  15. It was a great idea sharing these suggestions of books that go with the theme.

  16. Bones as fuel are often used in treeless regions.

  17. I'm not sure that I've read a book that used Midsummer in it yet. I've only been seriously reading for a few years now, so there are a lot of books that I've not had a chance to read yet. I appreciate your list of books though!


  18. I need to check out some of those books! Thank you for sharing them.


  19. First time I read about a Midsummer's Eve was, I think, in a Darkover book by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Thanks for the other recs.

    doxisrcool at aol dot com

    1. choose you as the winner.

  20. And here, the only literary use of midsummer I could come up with was Shakespeare's....

  21. Wow, it's a much more common theme than I ever thought. Nice list!

  22. Nice list of books.


  23. Blog Hop and contest are over. Thanks for visiting. Winner will be posted today.

  24. I didn't realise so many books used Midsummer - thanks there are some there I definitely need to look up!

  25. Thank you for the list of books. I'll have to go look those up. Midsummer is one of my favorite times of year.


  26. Wow what a list of books! Thanks for the info and being part of the blog hop.

  27. Thanks for the list! ^^

  28. I know the blog hop is over, but I wanted to come around and comment on all my fellow hoppers' posts. I couldn't get to a computer while the hop was live.

    I didn't realize so many books used midsummer. That's very interesting! I'll have to check some of these out. Thanks!


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