Catherine's Reviews > The Devil's Waltz

The Devil's Waltz by Anne Stuart
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's review
Sep 09, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: historical, romance, read-2010, bad-childhood, england, manipulation-plot, rake-bad-boy
Read on September 09, 2010 — I own a copy

3.5 Stars to be specific.

It seems like this author has quite a talent for writing dark, shady, unrepentant men. Christian definitely fits the bill. He is an actual fortune hunter. I don't think I've ever read about a fortune hunter hero who doesn't have a problem with that status. Christian would have preferred having money himself, obviously, but he had no problem marrying to get it. He was a master manipulator. He was able to look at someone and know how best to portray himself. He also has no problem with any number of other villainous deeds. You want blackmail? He's all over it. How about kidnapping? Well, he doesn't have a problem with that if it proves necessary either. He's unrepentant and makes no bones about the fact that he only cares about what's best for him. He has numerous enemies and very few friends.

Annelise has fallen on hard times. She's wellborn, so she can't work, but her family can't afford to support her either. She lives by becoming a guest at someone's house that needs her help. She's not a servant, and she doesn't get paid for her work, but there's an unspoken obligation involved. The most recent house she's "visiting" has her instilling manners and good breeding (or at least trying to) in shipping heiress, Hetty. Right away she runs into Christian as he tries to lure Hetty down the bridal path. She's knows his true nature and refuses to let him have Hetty.

While I have a weakness for Christian's character type, I have to like the heroine too, and I have to believe in their romance. I found myself wavering on that here. I really feel that there wasn't enough quality time spent on their relationship. It seemed like so much focus was cast on Christian and his shady deeds that there wasn't enough time to develop a believable romance. Also, the I-love-you came awfully fast from Annelise. I just didn't feel that it was believable with so little to work with. On the other hand, I didn't like the fact that Christian didn't admit to falling for her until the very last minute. I'd prefer a little middle ground for both of them.

I was extremely irritated by Annelise's refusal to believe anything bad that was said about Josiah. When multiple different people imply the man is a lunatic, perhaps you should stop trying to tell them they're exaggerating. It made Annelise look extremely stupid. Also, I really didn't see a reason why Annelise wouldn't just leave. Honestly, she had no real attachment to the family, and she didn't even like them. I know it wouldn't have served the plot if she had left, but it really made no sense.

I would have liked this story a lot more if a believable romance had been constructed. As it is, it just average.

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Reading Progress

09/09/2010 page 49
13.0% "If I was Annelise, I'd have to bash in that silly twit's head and make it seem like an accident." 2 comments
09/09/2010 page 201
52.0% "I would really like to strangle Annelise. Her refusal to believe all the bad things she's told about Josiah makes her seem stupid!" 6 comments

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Dina (new)

Dina Great review, Catherine. I love AS's oldies, but it looks like I won't be reading this book soon.

message 2: by Catherine (last edited Sep 10, 2010 03:04PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Catherine Thank you, Dina. I looked at which of her books you have on your shelves. By her "oldies" do you mean all the harlequin ones? If not, which ones are her good ones?

message 3: by Dina (new)

Dina Yup, I mean her old Harlequins. They were very good and unique, with unusual heroes and interesting storylines. Those were the days... *sighs*

Catherine I like dark, morally ambiguous heroes, but it seems like I never get a good balance. I don't read romance just for the hero, so I need them both to be interesting. I also need to believe that the heroine sees something in the hero that makes her love him. We may see his real thoughts because we're in his head, but she only sees his actions and hears his lies. I need to see her catch some hint that makes her know he's just refusing to face it. You know what I mean?

message 5: by Dina (new)

Dina Absolutely, Catherine. I must admit that I read romance mostly for the hero, so an annoying heroine alone hardly ruins a book for me - unless she's really unberable. Obviously, I need a good plot too because a great hero alone doesn't turn a book into a winner either. I know it's sexist, but I'm more forgiving towards "weaker" heroines than heroes. I can't help it. :(

message 6: by Catherine (last edited Sep 10, 2010 03:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Catherine I'm the same way. It's easier for me to ignore the irritating heroine (unless I'm stuck in her head 1st person in a UF) and concentrate on the hero. But I need to see some connection between them. I want to believe this guy actually can have a real relationship with a girl. I want to watch him fall hard despite himself. That's where I get my thrills. :)

message 7: by Dina (new)

Dina Oh yes, I need to believe the connection between the H/h too. If I don't, it ruins the book - no matter how amazing the hero is.

UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Catherine wrote: "But I need to see some connection between them. I want to believe this guy actually can have a real relationship with a girl. I want to watch him fall hard despite himself. That's where I get my thrills. :)"

I agree with this, 100%! And I'm with Dina, too. I read for the hero more than the heroine, but I'm not happy unless they actually seem to belong together. The author has to convince me of that or I can't LOVE, as opposed to like, a story.

Catherine Agreed! That's why I liked it, I just didn't like it.

message 10: by LethalLovely~Maybe I've Always Been More Comfortable in Chaos (last edited Sep 10, 2010 09:27PM) (new) - added it

LethalLovely~Maybe I've Always Been More Comfortable in Chaos Ugh! This novel sounds like crap. No wonder I couldn't remember if I liked it or not. Manipulative, blackmailing, kidnapping man-ho hero? Check. A stupid heroine who doesn't seem to have a personality? Check. Unbelievable romance that surpasses the need to suspend disbelief? Check. Ugh.

Awesome review. I was thinking about rereading TDW but your review has reminded me why I only go for Stuart's RS novels. Pass.

Catherine LOL! Glad to help. ;)

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