Official Review: Learning to Waltz by Kerryn Reid

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Winter
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Official Review: Learning to Waltz by Kerryn Reid

Post by Winter » 13 Apr 2014, 16:40

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Learning to Waltz" by Kerryn Reid.]
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Deborah Moore is a widow, and the mother of a young boy named Julian. The death of her husband has left her with little in the way of finances, and Deborah struggles to make the most of their modest lifestyle. Made wary by an abusive childhood and an unhappy marriage, she has learned to protect herself emotionally. When an emergency occurs that forces her to ask for help from a local squire, she happens upon Evan Haverfield. Evan is immediately drawn to Deborah. He begins to come to their home to see them, spending time with Julian and hoping to learn more about Deborah. Over the course of their visits, Evan and Deborah’s affection for each other grows. But Evan is heir to a considerable estate, and his station is much superior to Deborah’s. His family is sure to disapprove of their relations. Though she cannot ignore her feelings for Evan, Deborah is plagued by her overwhelming sense that she will never be able to make him happy, and that their story is not meant to be.

I adored this book! Set in the early 1800’s, it is the story of love in the face of social differences and troubled pasts. It is absolutely beautifully written. The language and style used are masterfully done, making it a true pleasure to read. It has its share of passion, but it is a story of romance, not eroticism. It is a gentle love story between two people, but also a story of family love and values. The role of Deborah’s son, Julian, and his relationship with his mother and Evan is an integral part of the story that is particularly touching.

The book is reminiscent of Jane Austen, but with more modern dialogue, situations, characters, and interactions. The characters are not always proper, or polite. They lose their tempers, struggle with social graces, and do not always respect the boundaries of socially accepted behaviors. This makes them more human, and more believable. In addition to our hero and heroine, there are several secondary characters. Some are likeable and some are not, but all of them add to the book’s charm.

The author draws the reader in from the very beginning, immediately jumping into the story. Character development is already well underway before the end of the first page. It is not a fast paced book, but it has a good rhythm that is appropriate to the story. Much of the book focuses on Deborah’s internal struggle. Her feelings tend to go back and forth, which makes certain aspects of the book somewhat repetitive. However, this is understandable in the context, and there is still plenty of variation.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is a beautiful, well written story. I’m adding it to my “curl up on the couch with a hot drink” list. It is perfect for spending a pleasant afternoon visiting a different time, a lovely couple, and all of the people and circumstances that make up their world. I can’t wait to read it again. I highly recommend it to lovers of historical romance. A real gem!

***
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Post by gali » 15 Apr 2014, 02:46

Sounds good. Thank you for a lovely review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by Winter » 01 May 2014, 13:33

Thanks gali!
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Post by Hola2Cora » 20 May 2014, 10:17

I bought this book based on the original review. The review is quite accurate on most points. I agree that the book is well paced and the human struggles and flaws of the characters does make them seem real. It's also amazing to think that a modern author was able to write this entire book in the language of one from that time period. That was well manuevered. The point where I differ in opinion from the original posting is that I found the main character's flashbacks disruptive and at times hard to follow. The memories created a great background story which added depth. However, it also broke the flow of the writing and confused the reader as to where they were in the story. Due to the fact that those backflashes happen so few, it was a very enjoybable book to read. This was also a book whose story lingers with you after you have finished reading it, because it had a lovely story and ending to it.
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Post by sahmoun2778 » 24 Jul 2014, 13:46

Thanks for the great review!
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Post by Winter » 27 Jul 2014, 15:25

Thanks sahmoun2778!
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Post by Nicole » 28 Dec 2015, 15:35

Thanks for the informative review, Winter! The book seems promising. :)
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