I have yet to read a book by Anne Stuart that I have not adored and "The Devil's Waltz" is no exception. I loved the sexual tension between the two main characters - the spinsterish "Honorable Miss Annelise Kempton" and the charming "bad boy" Christian Montcalm! I loved how Annelise (small note: I fell in love with the heroine's name) wasn't your typical heroine in that she was no great beauty and was considered to be "on the shelf" by everyone, including herself. This did not cause her to shy away from society and sit timidly by. Nooo! Annelise simply accepts her lot in life. She isn't easily intimidated by Christian either and the banter between them is another strong point. Christian was simply a hero to die for - a bad boy who made no apologies for who he was.
I teared up towards the end when everything came together and that in itself made this a definite keeper for me. If Anne Stuart can write anything less than satisfying, I have yet to read it.
I'm surprised how much I enjoyed this book considering the fact that the hero is an absolute jerk throughout most of it. I typically despise selfish scoundrels too beautiful for their own good but this guy managed to maintain charm. Maybe it's because he never pretended to be someone else? Or maybe I kept reading to see the next loathsome thing he'd do :) Whatever, the reason he kept me turning the pages.
There are so many reasons to hate Christian Montcalm, and, yet, I still fell in love with his character. He was so evil that he should have been easy to hate. He didn't care about anyone but himself (most of the time) and he had no problem ruining the reputations and feelings of others. However, there was something redeeming about his character. He just narrowly avoids being classified as an arrogant jackass. I don't know what Stuart did to make me love this character, but I do love him. The rest of the characters and plot were just "meh" to me. It was Montcalm that made this a highly enjoyable read.
It seems like this author has quite a talent for writing dark, shady, unrepentant men. Christian definitely fits the bill. He is an actual fortune hunter. I don't think I've ever read about a fortune hunter hero who doesn't have a problem with that status. Christian would have preferred having money himself, obviously, but he had no problem marrying to get it. He was a master manipulator. He was able to look at someone and know how best to portray himself. He also has no problem with any number of other villainous deeds. You want blackmail? He's all over it. How about kidnapping? Well, he doesn't have a problem with that if it proves necessary either. He's unrepentant and makes no bones about the fact that he only cares about what's best for him. He has numerous enemies and very few friends.
Annelise has fallen on hard times. She's wellborn, so she can't work, but her family can't afford to support her either. She lives by becoming a guest at someone's house that needs her help. She's not a servant, and she doesn't get paid for her work, but there's an unspoken obligation involved. The most recent house she's "visiting" has her instilling manners and good breeding (or at least trying to) in shipping heiress, Hetty. Right away she runs into Christian as he tries to lure Hetty down the bridal path. She's knows his true nature and refuses to let him have Hetty.
While I have a weakness for Christian's character type, I have to like the heroine too, and I have to believe in their romance. I found myself wavering on that here. I really feel that there wasn't enough quality time spent on their relationship. It seemed like so much focus was cast on Christian and his shady deeds that there wasn't enough time to develop a believable romance. Also, the I-love-you came awfully fast from Annelise. I just didn't feel that it was believable with so little to work with. On the other hand, I didn't like the fact that Christian didn't admit to falling for her until the very last minute. I'd prefer a little middle ground for both of them.
I was extremely irritated by Annelise's refusal to believe anything bad that was said about Josiah. When multiple different people imply the man is a lunatic, perhaps you should stop trying to tell them they're exaggerating. It made Annelise look extremely stupid. Also, I really didn't see a reason why Annelise wouldn't just leave. Honestly, she had no real attachment to the family, and she didn't even like them. I know it wouldn't have served the plot if she had left, but it really made no sense.
I would have liked this story a lot more if a believable romance had been constructed. As it is, it just average.
I hated this book! I hated the "hero." I kept waiting for something redeeming to come through. NOTHING. He calls the Heroine "dragon" through the whole book. He needs money to rebuild his home, I'm okay with that- happens all the time in these romance stories- but to me there is nothing even remotely likable about this "hero."
And the "heroine?" She's just as bad as he is. She is so busy looking down her nose at everyone there isn't anything to like about her either! Just when you think you "might" like her, she puts her steel armor back on and you never really get to see the "real her." I hated this book.
This one goes into my all-time favorite pile. It's the consummate Anne Stuart and a perfect example of her style and her genius. Dark, unlikable heros written so well you fall in love with them in spite of their sins. Plain, ordinary heroines whose courage and moxy knock those heros for a loop!
Surprisingly interesting. How I wish these writers would take classes in grammar and punctuation... Notorious rake is captivated by poor relation on his way to marry an heiress. All ends well, of course, but I'd say this story's plot is a cut above.
Montcalm needs to marry for money and not love, but he fails to see that the young woman he wants is to immature for his taste even if he does need the money to fix his castle. the woman in charge of her, falls for him but she has nothing to offer him as funds so he wants to have her as his mistress once he marries.
Annelise Kempton is determined to keep Christian Montcalm from marrying her charge, Hetty Chipple. What starts out as a humorous romance novel turns into a mystery as Christian and Annelise both try to get what they want and along the way maybe they will decide that they want each other!
Christian Montcalm was a practical man, if a destitute scoundrel, but his plan to bed and wed the delectable Miss Hetty Chipple would take care of that sticky wicket. However, there was a most intriguing obstacle to his success...