Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Perfect Waltz – Anne Gracie

Last year I read The Perfect Rake and had great fun with Prue and Gideon’s witty dialogues. Since then I’ve been looking forward to it’s sequels. The Perfect Waltz is the second book, about Hope Merridew.

I also enjoyed this one very much although I didn’t find it as light as the previous book. The hero, Sebastian, has come to London in search of a wife. He feels a wife would be the solution to his sisters problems. The two young girls grew up separated from him and the older one is a rebel and the younger doesn’t speak.

Thankfully we get to know him before he meets Hope and so are aware of his love for his sisters and that he can have tender feelings. Because ever since he meets Hope and finds himself dancing with her he is also stiff and rude. That is the power of attraction being fought. He is decided to court Lady Elinore, a very proper lady dedicated to good causes, and his feelings for Hope keep getting in the way.

He judges Hope by what he thinks are all young misses and so finds her lacking in what concerns raising young ladies. One thing that bothered me was the fact that there were several opportunities for Sebastian to be set straight about that and discover that Hope also had lived a hard life but there are always interruptions and what not preventing that. I know that would make for a shorter story but this way it felt too artificial.

Of course Hope also feels very attracted to him and they keep meeting at social functions. A walk in the park introduces the Merridew family to Sebastians’s sisters and soon he starts to realise how they are improving just by being around other young girls. As the action progresses he realises there’s more to Hope than he first thought, actually it takes more time for that to be evident because it’s like Hope decided to make up for her difficult upbringing by being totally carefree in how she behaves, and after resolving things with Lady Elinore they finally have their happy end. There’s a fun secondary plot about Seb’s friend and the Lady Elinore although I think her change was too sudden, I needed for that story to develop more to understand it and how it happened.

The books also deals with the very harsh treatment given to working children during the regency period mentioning work at the mills and child brothels. Not enough to make it a hard reading but to make you aware of that reality.
A B.

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