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The Wind Dancer

(Wind Dancer #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  4,025 ratings  ·  121 reviews
A hidden killer...a conspiracy of treachery...and two people caught in the most desperate game of all...

In Renaissance Italy, intrigue is as intricate as carved cathedral doors, but none is so captivating as that surrounding the prized Wind Dancer, the lost treasure of a family--and of the man who will stop at nothing to reclaim it. Lionello Andreas is bound by his vow to
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 28th 2006 by Bantam (first published 1991)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  4,025 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hr, 4-stars
While my TBR pile is collecting dust, I'll continue rereading and reviewing the romance novels of my teenage years.

The first in the series, The Wind Dancer is set during the time period of the Italian Renaissance. Sadly, my knowledge of this particular time is rudimentary at best. Something I'll rectify eventually as I've always found it intriguing.

Anyway, The Wind Dancer.

A few warnings before I delve deeper into the book:
- Like Storm Winds, this book is not for the faint of heart
- Sanchia, the
Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
I picked this up chiefly because I was hoping for something like The Silver Devil. It wasn't anything like that; and I should have known it, because that book is one of a kind. Still, The Wind Dancer is well-written and I quite liked Lion and Sanchia, although I didn't fall in love with them.

It had a number of tropes I secretly love, namely: the slave/master trope with its glorious dubcon; mistress trope (with the hero still married); hero madly chasing heroine; and more. Unfortunately the setti
The Wind Dancer (Original 90's Version)- first in a trilogy has always been a favorite of mine. It’s the setting you see. One you don’t get often in Hist-rom. The setting in this book- the settings in the entire series really- is the thing I fell in the deepest love with, because it’s what sets the books apart.

In the late 1400’s early 1500’s Italy, the power of the dukes and popes are waning and so, to keep that power, they desire one thing. The Wind Dancer.

A Pegasus made of Gold that gives the
This is definitely the most unique setting I've read about in a historical novel.

In 1503 Italy, Lionello Andreas is seeking to regain a treasure that was stolen from his family - the Wind Dancer - and to do it, he is on the search for a great thief. His search brings him to Florence where he makes the acquaintance of Sanchia, a slave and pickpocket who impresses Lion with her talent. He immediately buys her papers and helps her settle the children she has taken under her wing. Sanchia, grateful
Regan Walker
Amazing Love Story...Masterfully Woven Tale!

This is the first in the wind dancer trilogy (THE WIND DANCER, STORM WINDS—and the contemporary, REAP THE WIND) and it is amazing--truly a "keeper" romance, one you'll read and re-read.

Set in early 16th century Northern Italy (1503), it tells the story of Lionello Andreas oldest son of an Italian family that has held as its most treasured possession a small golden statue of the winged horse Pegasus that, according to legend, was given to their family a
I read The Wind Dancer as a precursor to Storm Winds (the second book in this series) which was the Vaginal Fantasy alt for July. I should've just skipped it, as I realized after dialoguing with some other VF readers and Felicia (who mentioned that she read the summary for this first book, and thought it looked stupid and realized that it was unnecessary to the plot of the second one, which was really chosen for its placement during the French Revolution, the theme for July). But I only made tha ...more
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected this to be a bodice ripper, but it definitely wasn't. The hero was very alpha, but the storyline never descended into awesome bodice ripper madness.

The beginning of this story was engrossing. I loved the writing, and the hero and heroine were electric together in every single scene. Then came a plot twist, and it rather emotionally disconnected me from both the characters.

It took me till near the end of this book to get back into the story, but when I did, I was completely engrossed
Apr 02, 2020 rated it liked it
I read this novel because I really enjoy Johansen's suspense thrillers and her extensive use of dialogue to move plots. Reading her writing is like taking a free clinic in how to do it. She started as a romance writer, moved to historical romance, neither of which genres particularly interest me. This book marks her first effort to expand her range beyond those two genres and is therefore where I want to start in my study of her writing.

The novel is 50% historical fiction, 40% romance/historical
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have only read the second book from the series before and loved it. This book is the first one in the series. I liked the first half well enough and couldn't put it down. This all but changed in the second half.
Lion the hero is painted a possessive man with "strong appetite". That's fine. Sanchia the heroine, is portrayed as someone "unique" for her station in life, being born into servitude. Strangely when Lion was "just obsessed", I thought the book was better. After Lion started going on an
Agnieszka "Aeth" Jędrzejczyk
DNF at 25%. It's not you, book, it's me. While I love the Italian Renaissance setting (very assassin's-creed-y), the dynamic dialogues, beautiful writing and of course Lorenzo, I don't think this is the story I was looking for. I was hoping for a battle of wills among two equals, not a master/slave relationship between a 16-year-old girl, mouthy as she is, and a giant of a man who can think of nothing else but to possess her body and soul. I suposse things bet better along the way, but I'm not e ...more
Jane Stewart
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and a worthwhile read.

This is not a typical romance novel. It has romance but it is more about political intrigue, murder and suspense. Although there is revenge, justice and a happy ending, there were too many loved ones who died which makes it too sad for me. Aside from that, it is well written with intriguing characters. There is heroism and great love. Sexual content: mild.
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This book started out with so much promise. I was completely enthralled with it from the first chapter. That lasted all of another 3-4 chapters. Sanchia started out so interesting. She was clever, insightful, and pragmatic. Then (view spoiler), and turns in to a naïve child that expects nothing bad will happen to her. Less than half way in to the book, she experiences yet another profound change in character (view spoiler) ...more
Susan (the other Susan)
Finely aged cheese! I don't know what it says about me , that I liked Iris Johensen's bodice-ripper-y early work a lot more than the Eve Duncan series... No, wait, maybe I do; it means I'm sick to death of Eve Duncan. I read Wind Dancer and a few other historical romances by this author way back in the day, so I can't comment on any specifics. I recall some interesting sex scenes, though, which sadly went missing in later series. Maybe I'd have liked Eve Duncan & Co. a lot more if there had been ...more
May 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
After years of searching for a copy of this book, I finally got my hands on one. I could not put this book down. It was much different from Iris Johansen's other stories. I loved the time setting of the book. This was another book that I was sad to have end. I felt so much for the characters. I can't wait to read the other 2 books in the series. ...more
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wonderful
the first romance i ever read. well it was thriller and mystery as well. sort of like the works of Sidney Sheldon, with great description, by then i was too young to understand complicated sentences and the change in narrators but the cliff hangers and excitement kept me going.
Edward Beavers
Ended better than it began.

I don't think that this is as good as I was expecting from the Eve Duncan series. it was ok.
Mary Lou Webb
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rags to Riches to Rags to Riches

Sanchia knew only the life of a slave, and she had taken to thieving to feed the three ragtag urchins she had rescued. She was good; she had to be good because the penalty, if caught, was to have her hands chopped off. Her skills rescued her from her life of poverty when a Lord named Lion Andreas had need of a skilled thief. After proving her skill to him, he purchases her, not knowing he was gaining a veritable protective tigress. She insisted that her three char
Kathy O'Mara
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to stumble across Iris Johansen years ago when perusing the paperbacks at the local drug store. I can't remember which book I first read, but it was definitely a historical romance and I remember thinking I hated the title, but the description sounded good so I bought it anyway. Thank goodness I didn't let the title stop me from buying the book! I not only read that book, I quickly bought up any other Iris Johansen book I could find and read them too. I've read all of the Eve ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I started reading with great hope. The idea that Lion needed a thief for a very complicated, delicate, and essential theft got my mind moving. However, once Sanchia completed the heist, things got a little strange for me. Lion decided he would keep her as a slave, even though he didn't believe in slavery, and he intended to keep her in his bed. The intimate scenes between the two of them made me uncomfortable. At points, the story would stop, so Lion could drag her to a corner and have very roug ...more
Jul 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Sold as a historical romance, I felt it was actually about how wealthy people are willing to risk the lives of the hoi polio to get what they want. In this novel, a gold Pegasus statue has been stolen from the home/castle of Andreas Lion. Andreas believes that it must be returned to his country -- and so many people are threatened / killed -- lives are unimportant bargaining chips. The original thief wants it back and is willing to allow thousands of villagers to die to regain the statue. And fi ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ebook, romance
Years ago I read Storm Winds and enjoyed it so much I immediately got other volumes of the series.

Jesus on the stick. Either I was blind back then, or reading a completely different author's novel.

The Wind Dancer is a talentless hack's impaired, loveable child. I can't put it delicately. It's a fine piece of graphomania and when I was not busy wiping down blood from my eyes, I was busy sighing disgustingly. The plot is laughable, the characters promising but lust-blinded utterly stupid. Don't
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Re-read this one for the first time in several years. I still enjoy it, and I'm not even going to apologize. You know why?
1. The cheesy melodrama is fun.
2. The chemistry is pretty intense.
3. The setting and period is unusual.
4. The take on historical figures of the time is interesting.
5. It makes me cry. Every time.

True, there are trite tropes and overly-familiar themes, as with all romance novels (or novels in general). Nevertheless, I find myself caught up in the adventure; boo-ing the villain
Stephanie Ohsewcrafty
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating setting, Renaissance Italy as city-states war for dominance. Speaking of dominance, battle hardened Lionello certainly exerts his over young Sanchia, a slave who has learned the skill of thievery on the backstreets of Florence. He needs her to regain a practically mythic family artifact- the golden Pegasus sculpture “Wind Dancer”, which was stolen. The treatment of women is appalling, but it is historically accurate. Great characters and multilayered plot.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
now i am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. i was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.

i would highly recommend this author and this book.
Alan Leo
Thankfully It's Over

It is quite a long tale, but I found it unsettling to read and complete. There was no joy for me with either character development or plotting.
The entire book and plot were lifeless in their characterizations and drawn out scenes. It's sad but I wouldn't recommend this tale or book to anyone, and I'll never get back the time I wasted reading this book.
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Read this years ago and pulled it off a shelf since I've been dragging this series around with me forever. Now I wonder why. I guess if you leave out all the lusty stuff, which is about half the book, it is a pretty good thriller with an interesting setting and time period (Renaissance Italy) and the secondary character of Lorenzo is fun. ...more
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not what I was expecting from the description. This is a romance novel with some stuff happening in the background. The most exciting stuff were summarized in 1-2 sentences. The rest was romance and sex (with dubious consent issues). Too bad because it had a great start.
Betty S. Holliday
Wonderfully challenging reading. Keeps you thinking,

This is one if the best, and I have enjoyed many. Her entwined history, with fiction and making the characters come to life with each gripping situation. One you want to on forever.
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Vaginal Fantasy B...: Storm Winds (alt) 18 160 Jul 27, 2015 11:37AM  

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Iris Johansen is a New York Times bestselling author. She began her writing after her children left home for college. She first achieved success in the early 1980s writing category romances. In 1991, Johansen began writing suspense historical romance novels, starting with the publication of The Wind Dancer. In 1996 Johansen switched genres, turning to crime fiction, with which she has had great su ...more

Other books in the series

Wind Dancer (4 books)
  • Storm Winds (Wind Dancer, #2)
  • Reap The Wind (Wind Dancer, #3)
  • Final Target (Wind Dancer, #4)

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