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Waltzing with the Earl Paperback – February 23, 2017
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Charlotte arrives at the Buxted household amid a bustle of excitement at the thought of meeting and spending time with her female cousins and also at finally seeing and experiencing the delights of London. Her natural exuberance and unaffected beauty is refreshing and attractive – too attractive for Henrietta, the eldest Buxted daughter, her mother’s favourite child and generally the centre of attention. The contrast between Charlotte and Henrietta is vast; whereas Charlotte’s beauty is quiet and understated and her nature kind and conciliatory, Henrietta is stunningly beautiful and she turns heads wherever she goes – but she’s shallow and selfish with a penchant for cruel jibes. She and her social climbing mother are on the hunt for an advantageous match.
Adam Fanton, Earl of Salford is the chosen target for Mrs. Buxted’s machinations. He has a beautiful country estate and the title to go with it but is unfortunately not wealthy, meaning his priority is to find a well dowered wife. He is thus the ideal target for a conniving mama and a superficial, spoilt young lady. No fool, Adam realises what the two of them are up to, so he decides to open the field, so to speak, and hold a house party. Along with a few unattached men, Adam invites the Buxted family, including their unwelcome houseguest, Charlotte, and, much to Henrietta’s disgust, another rich family with a mama on the lookout for a titled husband for her daughter. Adam, however, is in a dilemma because the more he is in Charlotte’s company the more he realises how very much he likes and admires her. In an understated manner she shows herself to be kind, capable and helpful – especially in her dealings with his elderly great aunt who becomes easily flustered at her added responsibilities in being Adam’s hostess for the duration of the party. Charlotte’s lack of dowry is a deciding factor, however, and Adam is a man who knows his duty, a fact which is laboured throughout and quickly becomes annoying. Charlotte finds Adam rather aloof and arrogant to start with, but her opinion of him changes as she spends time in his company and realises that he is a rather serious young man. As her feelings develop she sees the futility of falling for him.
Up until this point the premise – although a well-worn one – is reasonably well-handled and the dialogue is nicely written, with some witty repartée. Unfortunately, however, the book goes downhill when plausibility is stretched to its limits after Henrietta, on discovering that she is not the only young lady to be considered as a suitable match for the earl – lies on the floor like a two year old having a tantrum – wailing and drumming her heels! Things further descend into the realm of the farcical as the storyline becomes more and more outrageous with so much packed in that the author’s only success is overcomplication. At about 4O% into the story, events begin to switch back and forth between France and the house party – all very confusing – and I actually back-tracked to check to see if I’d missed something. It all feels contrived – maybe the author wanted to inject some real drama into her story but it only succeeded in taking me out of it. There is a twist at the end which I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting but even then (and I know this is Romancelandia) everything is just a little too neatly tied off. Adam and Charlotte share a few close interactions, although this is a very gentle romance with nothing more than kissing and smouldering looks; but frustratingly, after each occasion one or the other of them misunderstands the situation and I wished that they would just talk to each other!
I ruminated over the grading for Waltzing with the Earl and finally decided on three stars because although I had some niggles, the characterisation is good, it’s nicely written and it does contain some genuinely amusing and witty moments, especially between Charlotte and Adam. The book held my interest for at least the first half before running away with itself, so while I can’t give it a ringing endorsement, there are at least some things about it to enjoy.
Miss Charlotte Wyncroft has always had a yearning to live in her native country. Having grown up in Vienna with her father, Charlotte is delighted when her Papa arranges for her to stay with her relations, the Buxteds, while he is in France. Although unlimited patience is required with her social-climbing aunt and her highly-strung cousin Henrietta, Charlotte is enjoying her stay in England. However, what Charlotte hadn’t counted on was on finding herself attracted to the one man she should not fall in love with: Adam, the Earl of Shalford….
The burdens of responsibility lie heavily on Adam’s shoulders. He needs money -and lots of it – to turn the fortunes of his estate around and make the Shalford estate a profitable and successful enterprise. In order to achieve this end, he must make a suitable marriage and marry a bride with a handsome dowry. His head is telling him to secure the hand of Henrietta Buxted, a spoilt and overindulged young lady, however, Adam’s heart is intrigued by Henrietta’s beautiful but penniless cousin, Charlotte.
Charlotte initially found the Earl of Shalford to be arrogant, aggravating and boorish, but the more time she spends with him, the more she realises that first appearances can be rather deceptive. Falling in love with the man her cousin is intent on marrying was definitely not something that Charlotte was planning, but when a stolen kiss unleashes feelings deep within her she had never experienced before, she finds herself wondering whether she can bear to spend the rest of her life knowing that she can never have the one man she has given her heart to.
Will Adam sacrifice his heart’s desire for the sake of duty? Is Charlotte going to get the happy ever after she’s been dreaming about? Or is their love simply not meant to be?
Waltzing with the Earl is historical romance at its dazzling best! Catherine Tinley writes with such verve, flair and brio readers are immediately swept away by her story, back to the nineteenth century, where they are immediately charmed by quick-witted and resourceful Charlotte, captivated by the brooding and honourable Earl of Shalford and simply delighted by the beguiling blend of tender romance, powerful drama and searing emotional intensity that make Waltzing with the Earl such a keeper!
Catherine Tinley is an amazing storyteller who knows Regency England well and she brings the nineteenth century to glorious and colourful life with effortless ease and style. The descriptions of the clothes, houses, food, high society functions and mores of the time are so evocatively described that the reader feels as if she is living the story alongside the characters and not just reading it!
A first class debut novel from a writer with a very bright future ahead of her, Waltzing with the Earl is an outstanding Regency romance readers cannot afford to miss!
Adam Fanton, the 'Earl of Shalford' is composed and responsible, and is somewhat disgusted by the vain ladies of the Ton “... Not one of these ladies has the power to hold my attention...” Then came along Charlotte Wyncott. A heroine as charming as she is faultless! Adam awakens a tender hunger in Charlotte and within himself... As an uninvited guest Charlotte is cast upon the Buxted Family. These characters will have you stamping your feet in frustration. Utterly frustrating in their opinions but just as brilliant in their development as secondary characters.
An example opinion of the vile Mrs Buxted, "...Our weak feminine brains cannot cope with the complexities of knowledge..." Ouch! But other secondary characters, such as Charlotte's Papa, 'Sir Edward Wyncott' and the Godmother/Aunt of Adam, 'Lady Sophia Annesley' are without a doubt to be loved and adored, full of wisdom and charisma.
'Waltzing with Earl' brings about a storm of emotions. I was whimsical, then I was wide-eyed, turning the pages faster and then, I was swirling around the living-room! Absolutely thrilling. Simply magical. Waltzing with the Earl' in my opinion is firmly set to become one of the classics. 5/5 stars from me!
I received an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.
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