My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Prelude to the Devilish Dukes Series
Publication Date: 10/9/18
I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this book. The writing is so smooth, full and robust that it just magically flows like a fine wine from scene to scene. Be sure to start reading early in the day because once you start, you won’t want to put it down. The characters are fully relatable, the villain is vile and the action and chase scenes are heart-stopping. It is just the kind of book I like – filled with excitement, drama, and romance!
Drake Alexander Thomas Chadwick, Duke of Ravenscar is twenty-five years old, seventh in line to the throne of England, rich, powerful, and handsome. What are his greatest passions? Theater, opera, ballet and Shakespeare and he’s in the process of opening his own theater, Chadwick House, to showcase those arts. He’s so determined that he’s even put up his mother’s home as collateral for the building expenses. Now, he is almost ready to open and he has secured the most magnificent French ballerina, Marie Taglioni, to star in his opening program, La Sylphide. He saw her perform this program in France and was mesmerized by her and he just can’t wait to introduce her and the ballet to England. The success of his theater and his fortune are riding on her tiny, talented, pointed toes.
When the troop finally arrives from France, Drake is flabbergasted to learn that Marie Taglioni did not accompany them and instead sent her understudy. Anger doesn’t even begin to describe how Drake feels as he rushes over to the theater to demand explanations and vent his temper. What is he going to do now – he has an understudy – an understudy!!! Yet, when he demands that the troop perform for him right then – in their traveling clothes – no matter how tired they are – he is absolutely stunned. This tiny slip of a girl is the most amazing dancer he has ever seen – so maybe his theater is saved after all.
Five years ago, when she was just fourteen, Britannia (Bria) LeClair learned that she was a foundling. Oh! How that hurt. The people she thought were her mother and father had just died of smallpox and her ‘uncle’ inherited everything. He promptly showed her her baptismal record and then told her she had to leave – no money – nothing. She had a few coins in her pocket and a precious keepsake she’d found after the LeClair’s died. That keepsake – a miniature portrait and a handkerchief contained in a lovely wooden box with her name on its top – could it have belonged to a relative? Her mother?
When she left her home, she made her way to Paris and the Paris Opera Ballet School where she begged the director for a spot in the school. He didn’t even want to see her, but she was persistent and finally convinced him. Ballet has been her life for the five years since then. She’s worked harder and longer hours than anyone else in the school and has finally worked her way up the being the understudy to Marie Taglioni. Now, she is so excited to be going to England to star as the lead in La Sylphide. She absolutely MUST be successful in this role in order to secure her future and she can also search for the lady in the miniature portrait. She couldn’t find her in France, so maybe she is in England.
The opening performance was phenomenal – London had never seen anything like it and Bria was the toast of the town. Every performance was sold out. Her admirers were legion, but she would NEVER, EVER be anyone’s mistress. Yes, she knew that all performers were seen as promiscuous, but she wouldn’t be one of them. As she and Drake spent more time together and got to know each other better their attraction grew and grew. They both fought it because they knew that there was only one relationship that could be between a Duke and a ballerina and Bria wouldn’t be a part of that.
As they come to care for each other more and more, strange things begin to happen to Bria. Someone trashing her room and her dressing room, strange accidents that aren’t accidents. Drake will do anything to keep Bria safe, but it won’t be easy because the villain is cunning. You’ll probably figure out who the villain is and who her parents were early on, but it will still keep you guessing about what will happen next – right up to the exciting ending.
All-in-all, it was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”