Read Best Danse de la Folie By Sherwood Smith –

This is a solid and entertaining regency romance The dialogue is sharp and very funny, and the two heroines who are much older than the normal regency debutantes are good foils for each other This is also a book that is firmly set in the regency era, with all of the strictures that entails, and fun details that show the research the author put into the book In fact, the only thing that hindered my enjoyment of this otherwise excellent book was the villain, who was a bit too cartoonish and one note to be quite real view spoiler This carries all the way through to the end The last scene of the book is about the villain rather than either of our romantic pairings, which just shows the villain s primacy in the text hide spoiler A Light Hearted Regency Folly, Starring Miss Clarissa Harlowe Whowants A Quiet Life But Falls In Love With A Smuggler, The Marquess Of St Tarval Tarval S Sister, Lady Kitty, Is Determined To Write A Dramatic Gothic To Save Her Brother S Mortgaged Estate If She Can Reach London Clarissa S Much Pursued Cousin, Mr Philip Devereaux, Is Inexplicably Intrigued By Lady Kitty, Who Is Doing Her Best To Encourage The Match Between Him And Clarissa, Except That Clarissa Is Now Betrothed To Lord WilburfoldeAnd So The Madness Of Changing Partners Begins In The Dance Of Love I admit it, this wasn t a five star rating until about halfway through, when I realized I d become extremely attached to the characters without noticing Danse de la Folie has a wonderful sensibility of the age and feels very authentic in the speech and manners of the characters, and I loved the romances all of them, not just the main two If the ending feels a little abrupt, I didn t mind so much because it felt like the right kind of comeuppance for our villain Excellent story, and so satisfying. I thoroughly enjoyed this book with one caveat One of the things that has prevented me from enjoying a good many of the historical romances inundating the genre these days is that most authors seem to have no familiarity with the era and no desire to learn Not so Sherwood Smith Her regency depiction feels real and detailed with just enough explanation that anybody can feel comfortable with the motivations and reactions of the people in it The main characters are engaging and their relationships and struggles drew me in from the start.The one discordant note was Lucretia She starts off well enough as a nasty piece of work subtly undermining Kitty for her own benefit and stringing Tarval along until something better comes into view So far, so good As the book progresses, however, she continues with her destructive behavior beyond the point I find believable She becomes a storybook villain with motivations that make less and less sense as her plot becomes and twisty view spoiler To compound the matter, hers is the last scene of the book as we see her downfall made complete Her comeuppance was a little too pat and it felt like Smith was maybe too enad with her as a villain hide spoiler Oh, this was simply lovely A silver fork Regency with a real eye for period detail and a warm beating heart It s the sort of book with lots of twists and turns and at every turn it chooses happiness I dithered a lot about whether I should add this one to my fluff shelf, because although it made me feel all fluffy and cozy inside it has a refreshing solidity, grounded as it is in such a goodhearted, clear eyed view of humanity Our four heroes are well balanced, thoughtful individuals who are capable of forming deep friendships and of falling in love with people who are good for them, the couples we wind up with on the last page are couples it is easy to imagine enjoying each other s company, even after many years of marriage After having a fairly bruising day dealing with some people who are decidedly unpleasant, I stayed up late to finish this novel as balm, spending time in this world just made me feel better about my own world I love the developing friendship between Clarissa, a wealthy heiress looking forward to a happy spinsterhood, Kitty, an impoverished, adventurous noblewoman with a bent towards romance and novel writing And it tickles me no end that this romance centred novel actually passes the Bechdel test Our heroes are good fun as well St Tarvel, Kitty s brother, a responsible man who has taken to smuggling to maintain his estate, and Mr Devereaux, Clarissa s wealthy cousin, a society man in line to inherit a Duchy, pursued by everyone and rather jaded and aloof He doesn t get to stay jaded for long though, because as soon as this novel begins we are plunged into adventures from shipwrecks to the London Season, and a sprightly pace is maintained throughout such as would cheer up even the most aloof ducal heir. Regular Goodreads followers know that I rarely give new books 5 stars that s for classics, and books I still love after several years But this one was so much fun, it s joining my five star moderns club.Sherwood Smith has delivered a delightful sweet Regency novel for fans of the genre I d have to say that for both historical accuracy and adapting the silver fork genre for modern readers, Smith did a wonderful job She has a discerning eye, allowing her characters to grow and change through the period of time covered in the story.Clarissa Harlowe is 24, practically on the shelf but resisting marrying anyone she cannot picture herself conversing with for the rest of her life Her latest refusal has her aristocratic father shaking his head Napoleon s first romp through Europe about over, she is sent off across the Channel to Holland to an aunt a trip derailed by a shipwreck Suddenly Clarissa is falling in love with her rescuer the smuggler the Marquess of St Tarval, and taking his irrepressible sister, Lady Kitty, under her wing We have persistent suitors, unknown relatives, beloved half siblings, meddling aunts, mean girls with agendas, grandmothers who pull rank in short, we have a delightful swirl of regency romance.Smith plays fair for the times, and shows her deep knowledge of the period by bringing earlier periods and clothing styles into the plot in a very real way Her characters conversations and inner thoughts not only move the plot but flesh the protagonists out into people you can believe in and root for.Recommended I hope she does another one And I now have a regency tag. I just noticed that I d never written anything about this not an unusual occurrence, admittedly, but one I regret all the same Autumn 2012 was one of the hellish times around here, but still To make up for it, I m doing star rating, which I don t do for friends books normally.Also I m repeating the pleas a lot of us sent out at the time for . I thought this was going to be a bit better than it was I was delighted by some of the Thackeray esque tones that I thought I was encountering when I first entered the book, the wry omniscient narrator But that disappeared quickly After the initial establishing plot involving smuggling and rakish doings, I thought that the whole thing went downhill rather quickly And even that plot was got rid of with a flick of the hand later when the time needed to be spent with the romances rather than with any sort of extraneous adventures There were some isolated sentences that I remember making me smile But really the characters were flat, the dialogue was rather stilted and careful, and the conclusion, as ever with a romance, foregone I finished it and it was fine But it turned out forgettable than I thought it would be Like a first draft outline, I thought And a perfectly good one too Needed the details sketched in, that s all. A lovely Regency romance Clarissa is a conflict averse heiress trying to avoid a boring suitor By chance, Clarissa makes the acquaintance of the poor and infamous Decourcey family and rapidly becomes fast friends with Lady Kitty Together, the two young ladies embark upon a Season in London, each with their own romantic entanglements I loved the friendship between them, and the slow realizations each of them have about the other s character But what I most enjoyed was the light, effortless feel of the writing and dialog The dialog always felt natural, both to the period and to the characters My only quibble with this story was that the pov switched a little randomly, often from one paragraph to the next. Sherwood Smith is a chameleon She so easily adapts to all manner of stories and genres Danse de la Folie is no different It is a typical Regency style romance with four main players Clarissa, Kitty, Carlisle, and Philip True to form there are hijinks and misunderstandings and marriage swapping along with a couple of spoiled girls doing their best to get their own way But also true are the proprieties of the time, which is nice No first names and heaving bosoms which always drove me nuts so I was quite pleased knowing that this would not be the case when I bought it.I won t delve into the plot but I can say that like all of Ms Smith s books it is well written and I found myself engaged the entire way through.My only regret is that I bought it for my Kindle and not through Book View Cafe as I assume money would get to Ms Smith that way Ah well Next time