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The Courtship Dance by Candace Camp

Posted by Mistress on February 16, 2009

Lady Francesca Haughston had given up on romance for herself, finding passion instead in making desirable matches for others. So it seemed only fair, when she learned she had been deceived into breaking her own long-ago engagement to Sinclair, Duke of Rochford, that she now help him find the perfect wife.

Of course, Francesca was certain any spark of passion between them had long since died – her own treatment of him had seen to that. The way Sinclair gazed at her or swept her suddenly into his arms.well, that was merely practice for when a younger, more suitable woman caught his eye. But soon Francesca found his lessons in love scandalously irresistible – and a temptation that could endanger them both.

Francesca is a formulaic heroine as far as widows in historical romances go. Her deceased husband is the typical dead jerk-off who paraded his paramours, bequeathed her a crap load of debt, and left her sexually unsatisfied. She thinks she is frigid and accepts the blame for her husband’s infidelity. that said, Francesca is actually quite likable. there were a few times I found her annoying but she never crossed over to the TSTL territory. Her internal monologues was one of the things that got to me but I suppose that that is true to how someone in her position would react. Rochford fares slightly better. He is one of the most un-dukeish dukes I have ever read. He uses his brain more than the typical Hero but did not stay true to this when it came to dealing with the villain (a very minor quibble on my part). I can lay the blame for that on arrogance’s door though so no big issue there. Character development (or lack thereof) nit-picking aside, I had a good time getting to know these two. From the get go the reader can tell that Rochford knows what he wants and what he’s up to. He and Francesca have a good foundation. They’ve known each other a very long time and the unfurling of their history is well wrought out. Their repartee is fun and charming and their chemistry is tangible. What I didn’t enjoy was the whole business with the villain; it was just unnecessary for me. The resident baddie is a caricature of evil and the handling of the subplot seemed a mite heavy handed.

I got into the novel blindly. I’ve never read any of Ms. Camp’s books but I was able to tell within the first chapter that this one is part of a series. Considering that The Courtship Dance is a series finale, it does pretty well as a stand alone book (i.e; just the right amount of information about the history/secondary characters without me getting overwhelmed by it). The writing is engaging and witty and I’m interested enough to bump the first three books in the series up my TBR. I’m guessing this book suffers from the *Esme-Sebastian syndrome (see Eloisa James and her Duchess series). Who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy this story more once I’ve read the backlist.

Grade: B

Reader

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One Response to “The Courtship Dance by Candace Camp”

  1. Mistress said

    Nice, Reader. I’m always more intrigued when Novel duos have a history. It’s a nice change from the often times bosom heaving enchantment at first sight = ).

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