4 out of 4 stars
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The Ballet is a romance novel by Judith Erwin. It is the second book in the Shadow of Dance Series.
Gabi Valera is bound to a life of solitude by circumstances beyond her control. No one must learn of the dark secret that burdens her. The only freedom she is allowed is dance. Love is a luxury she shuns. Her resolve to remain alone is shaken to its root when she meets Derek Conner, the son of the largest donor to the ballet company she works for. Gabi's head is left spinning by the unexpected, fiery attraction between herself and the handsome heir. Afraid of the dark forces out to get her and the consequences of divulging her secret, Gabi resists the intense pull between them. Will love win?
I could not put this book down. The author's elegant, masterful writing took me through a whirlwind of emotions. The mystery, suspense, and danger resulted in moments of anxiety. This angst was subdued by feelings of joy and warmth. I simply could not help feeling blissfully happy for Gabi as she experienced love for the first time. The action and thrill was enough to balance out the mushy, lovey-dovey moments. Thus, this romance book was far from corny.
Initially, I feared that the book would portray a baseless love based solely on the physical. My view quickly changed as I got to know Derek Connor. At face value, Derek appears to be a spoilt, rich playboy with no appealing qualities. However, as Derek falls deeper for Gabi, we get to see a different side to him. Slowly, his love for her becomes an unconditional love based on principal. I found myself swooning over all the ways he actively demonstrates his love for her.
The heavy burden that Gabi carries creates irrational fears within her. They fool her into believing that her DNA makes her unlovable. As a result, Gabi does not allow herself to envision a future with Derek. It was a refreshing twist to see the woman being the one that did not want the relationship to develop into something more. These fears exposed a vulnerable, weak side to Gabi. Thus, this fiercely talented ballerina became more real to me.
I rate The Ballet 4 out of 4 stars. It deserves nothing less. I recommend it to those who love romance books with an element of mystery. Mystery looms throughout the book as readers only discover Gabi's full history at the very end of the book.
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