Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Anne Stuart - The Devil's Waltz

When you dance with the devil, you hold hands with temptation... 
Christian Montcalm was a practical man, if a destitute scoundrel, but his plan to bed and wed the delectable Miss Hetty Chipple would take care of that sticky wicket. However, there was a most intriguing obstacle to his success. Annelise Kempton desired nothing more than to come between this despicable rogue and the fortune (and virtue) of her young charge. 
Certainly, Annelise understood the desperation that comes from hard times, but Montcalm would fail-she would personally see to it. All that stands in her way is a man whose rakish charm could tempt a saint to sin, or consign a confirmed spinster to sleepless nights of longing...to give the devil his due.

Comment: This was the book chosen by my friend H. and myself for our buddy read of this month. If I remember well, what made us pick this book was the fact this was story featuring different types of characters: he is a rake and she a proper woman, I suppose the thrill is to see how the author would develop their romance.

In this book we have the story of penniless Annelise Kempton, a woman approaching her 30s who is still single, poor and has no place to stay out of charity for her father died without providing for her. 
Her most recent placement is in the house of mr Chipple, whose daughter Hetty is a great beauty and her father expects her to marry nobility. Annelise is there to help the girl to be a proper lady of society and attract the best suitor.
That man is certainly not Christian Montcalm, a rake of the worst kind who has set his eyes on Hetty for her money. The problem is that by trying to put him away from Hetty, he sets his eyes on her as a good challenge and their interactions confuse Annelise the more time they spend together fighting and being opponents. Will these two find a compromise, especially after discovering certain facts about Hetty's father?

I liked this story for the most part.
The plot was a bit simple, some situations quite predictable but of course what makes it interesting is the characters and heir behavior facing certain situations/obstacles.
This starts as something very simple, with a young and apparently spoiled young girl needing some guidance to be better accepted by those mothers who might see her as a good potential for their sons. She has the beauty but also the impulsiveness of demanding things and that could ruin her father's plans of marrying her well.

As the story develops, we get to learn a lot more about Hetty and her father and their situation in life and I can say they have the money but they aren't exactly happy people. I confess, though, that Hetty was just too annoying to be likable and she fulfills all the expectations of a silly, young girl with thoughts only to her needs.
Her father developed into something a bit darker than what anyone imagines when he first appears on the page. Nevertheless, even his personality was pout aside when compared to the main couple, the real "attraction" of this story for me.

Annelise, for instance, was a fascinating character.
She has been frequently placed in the house of other people to act as a chaperone for young charges, as a sort of governess and companion if needed but always without being paid for she is a lady and it just wouldn't be proper. However, Annelise doesn't let herself be sad about her situation and she dreams of the day she is given the possibility to just spend her older years in a small cottage somewhere.
I liked her personality, how she had her self pity moments but quickly turned her thoughts into some productive and I was amazed by how brave she was in everything. 

Christian is the obvious rake, someone who doesn't act as properly as he should, someone who doesn't act or think like the gentleman he is supposed to be. He will inherit a viscountcy and that is why he wasn't yet completely barred from polite society but everyone knows he is after someone with funds. He has the obvious development from bad/unsuitable to hero and as we learn why he is so apparently mean some things do seem less harmful in his attitude. He is redeemed, as one expects.

The romance is sort of slow burn and I don't think it was because the author wanted to portray such a proper evidence of how society worked back then. I think the deliberate manner in which the main couple interacted here and there while their thoughts and feelings for one another started to change into what we already knew would happen - their falling in love - was well done and my favorite part of the story.
The end has a very sweet epilogue and it did balance well the more negative aspects of the story.
This was the trademark "opposed characters" style this author likes to write about but this was a lot sweeter for me than what I had read before by her.
Grade: 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment