Sunday, March 9, 2014

What I've Read Recently

What I've Read Recently . . .

Waltz With a Stranger by Martha Lou Thomas -- Regency Romance

Miss Quintilla loves to dance but no one in London will dance with a cripple. When a dashing stranger intrudes on her solitary dance in a library, she falls instantly in love. Warrick Dhever, Baron Eyesley is known as "The Ice Baron" to the ton. He has recently returned from America to take his title and wrest control of his family fortune away from his greedy step-family. His step-sister is forever throwing her relatives his way. He wants nothing to do with anyone from that family and even rejects her advances. He'd like someone more like that little sprite in the library he danced with if he were to marry, which he isn't. He doesn't believe in love or happiness. Yet, he'd so anything to discover who she is and make her happy. Quintilla is not just lame, she's an on-the-shelf bluestocking who champions the cause of Dr. Edward Jenner, the inventor of the smallpox vaccination. The good doctor is not in favor in London at the moment and he enjoys the company of Quintilla's lively family. Quintilla's aunt decides the best thing for her is to marry a wealthy widower in a marriage of convenience. They set about trying to find the right gentlemen when at last Warrick finds Quintilla. Masquerading as an ordinary gentleman, he enjoys Quintilla's witty banter and spending time with her family. He's determined to bring her to the notice of Society and find her the perfect husband. His step-sister has other ideas and Quintilla doubts that a handsome gentleman would ever love a cripple. Will she ever find happiness?

This book started off really strong.
The first half of the plot is great. Quintilla and Warrick get to know each other very well and he thaws his icy exterior to reveal a man of warmth and intelligence. He's has Whig leanings so his conversations with Quintilla show the reader what the social issues were in 1811 without being tedious. He learns from Quintilla and even grows up a bit. I love love love the emphasis on rare books and archives! Then in the middle the plot starts to derail. The misunderstanding just didn't make a lot of sense at that time. If that was to be the misunderstanding, it should have come earlier. By that time they were such good friends I doubt that the misunderstanding could have occurred. It was also a really stupid misunderstanding that could have been cleared up with communication. Then when it is cleared up the book shows promise but the plot goes off the track again towards the end. Quintilla's personality changes, a villain enters the story and exits the story. I didn't like those changes. The end is rushed and doesn't do justice to the relationship.

I loved Quintilla and how she didn't feel bad for herself for having a lame leg. She makes the most of it and doesn't let Society's censure get her down. She's well educated in science and a bit musical. She's witty and charming. Her cousin Kitty is so silly but she made me laugh. She's in need of town bronze but she's charming the way she is. I hope there is another book about her. Warrick is at first, a handsome, intelligent, witty hero. I especially love the dialogue between he and Quintilla. It's funny and it sparkles. The widdowers are also very funny, yet unintentionally on their parts.

I think this story would have been better as a novella. With fewer pages there would have been less room for misunderstandings and less talk about smallpox and vaccination. There was too much of that for my liking. I love that the author did her research and it shows but she was too enthusiastic on the subject.

Sensuality level: mild

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