Dancing on the Wind by Mary Jo Putney

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)

By Kat

Kat Latham writes sexy contemporary romance, including the London Legends rugby series. With degrees in English lit and human rights, she loves stories that reflect the depth, humor and emotion of real life. She's a California girl living in the Netherlands with her baby girl and British husband.


    1. Kaki, I would maim and kill to get my hands on Open Country sooner than Amazon UK could get it to me. (Joking about maiming and killing. You never know which legal officials are scanning blogs these days. Not joking about being eager to get me some Hank, though.)

      In all modesty, I should point out that I’m more like a nearly almost semi-famous reviewer, on the brink of being semi-famous.

    1. I’m emailing it to you. I’d hate to be inundated with hoardes of crazy fans. And you know what the British tabloids are like. If they could kill Princess Di, imagine what they could do to a nearly almost semi-famous reviewer (or was is almost nearly?).

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