When a woman takes on a sinister secret society, she finds herself losing her heart—and her individuality—to one of its members.
Kit Travers is not your average Regency heroine. She’s an accomplished actress and journalist who spends her evenings breaking into houses as she investigates the secretive Hellion Club, made up of some of Society’s most influential—and sadistic—men.
Lucien Fairchild is not your typical Regency rake. Though he’s beautiful and could have almost any woman he wants, sex without intimacy leaves him depressed, so he’s been nearly celibate for years. He’s also investigating the Hellion Club, infiltrating it to discover which of its members sold British secrets to Napoleon during the war.
He forgets his mission entirely, though, when he meets Kit . He pursues her with the same intensity with which she avoids him. Because she doesn’t know he’s not a true Hellion, she refuses to trust him with her secrets and relies on her own wit to survive some tricky situations. In fact, her secrets—and even her true identity—aren’t revealed to the reader until she breaks down and tells Lucien why she’s investigating the Hellions, and this is more than half way through the novel. For most of the book, the reader is kept guessing just as much as Lucien is, which makes for some page-turning reading.
Although I say Kit and Lucien are atypical, they do sometimes slip into disappointing stereotypes. As soon as they have sex, Kit feels her independence slipping away from her and fears that she will cling to Lucien. As a character, she does indeed become less interesting and more annoying from this point on. Instead of evading Lucien, she puts her energy into throwing massive pity parties for herself.
Lucien, for his part, occasionally says things worthy of a slap upside the head, including:
“I once knew a man who said that women are like rugs—both need to be beaten regularly to keep them in good condition. I never agreed, but perhaps he had a point.”
In addition to the uneven characterization, the voice isn’t very interesting. If you love novels where the language used is just as vibrant and unusual as the plot, this isn’t the book for you.
Dancing on the Wind was first published by Penguin Books in 1994 and won a RITA. It was released for the first time in Great Britain this year by Everlyn, an edition which contains enough typos to be distracting.
Rating: 6 ( Satisfactory)
Heat Level: 3 (Sensual)
*Judging the heat level was tricky; the scenes between the hero and heroine are sensual but there are also scenes of fairly graphic sexual violence.
(First posted on The Season Blog)