Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Chance to Dream - Lynne Connolly

A love too strong to disguise, a disgrace too deep to ignore.

Orlando Garland, Lord Blyth, has spent a lifetime restoring the family fortunes but now it's time for him to think of himself for a change. When he hires a dowdy companion for his invalid sister, it doesn't take him long to suspect "Charlotte" is more than she appears. Yet the lively young woman proves to be good for his sister. And Orlando can't ignore the seductive beauty behind the disguise.

Violetta Palagio's mask has never chafed before-until now. She longs for the freedom to love the handsome Orlando. Yet to reveal herself would be disastrous for them both. She is La Perla Perfetta, the daughter of London's most successful courtesan. For most of her life, her mother has cleverly kept Violetta's identity a secret. Will she risk all that, now the threat that kept them in disguise for so long is finally gone?

For the first time in her life, Violetta is in love. Can she find the courage to come out from behind the mask?

And if she does, will Orlando chance everything he has worked so hard to rebuild-for a courtesan's daughter?

Book 2 in the Triple Countess series is about Orlando, the second brother, and Violetta Palagio, the daughter of London’s most famous courtesan. Violetta has been a part of her mother’s entourage under the name La Perla Perfetta but she never revealed her face and in fact she would prefer to lead a respectable existence. When she hears from her godmother (Orlando’s mother) how his sister Perdita is an invalid she decides to disguise herself and do what she can to help.

I did like Violetta and Orlando a lot, it seems inevitable that they would be attracted to each other from the beginning as soon as he sees that there is more to her than meets the eye and Orlando, well, he is such a nice guy that it is not difficult to see why she would fall for him. But their road to happiness is a rocky one. Violetta knows from the beginning that she will never be respectable enough to marry Orlando, even if their mothers are friends in secret, and he also seems unable to find a solution.

Violetta does manage to help Perdita, she seemed almost too clever doing everything right to make an invalid walk again, not to mention recognizing Perdita’s friend, lady Judith’s true inclinations and generally organizing everything. When Perdita finds Orlando and Violetta together she has to leave. They can’t find a respectable solution and Violetta doesn’t want to be dependent on her lover so it seems it is the end for them. I wouldn’t want to spoil the story for you so I won’t say more but the last chapters are fertile in heartache, agony and hope.

I liked this story better than book 1 because I felt I knew the characters better, there were some attitudes that puzzled me like Perdita who, at  first was all for her brother’s relationship with Judith, and then changed her mind all too quickly or Violetta reveal herself, but as a whole I found this a better read than the previous book. On to book 3 now…

Grade: 4.5/5

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