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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Music of the Night

**** The Music of the Night by Lydia Joyce. Historical romance.

Sebastian Grimthorpe, Earl of Wortham, is bent on revenge after his former friend, Bertram deLint, raped Sebastian's young, illegitimate daughter. A carriage accident gives Sebastian the excuse to fake his death, and he goes to Italy, where he makes an elaborate plan to pay deLint back.

When deLint and his family arrive, Sebastian notices a young woman with a pock-marked face, and remembers the mistress who'd abetted deLint in the rape, so he decides to add her to his scheme.

The scarred woman, however, is deLint's mother's companion, Sarah Connolly. She'd been born in the slums (hence the pox marks), but has raised herself as high as she's able, given her past.

The more Sebastian sees of Sarah, the less he wants to involve her in his plan for revenge. Still, his guilt over not protecting his daughter drives him to revenge, even though he knows it'll destroy Sarah's regard for him.

Sarah, on the other hand, is happy to have his attention and affection, but her knowledge of her status is deep-rooted, and she can't believe her future holds anything better than working as a companion until she's too old, hopefully accruing enough savings to support herself in her old age.

So they're both holding back, but of course, love is a steamroller.

The ending fell a little flat for me. I'm not sure how I was expecting it to turn out, and I loved the twist, but I think the villain's recitation of his misdeeds was my biggest problem. It seemed forced, like an actor in a play addressing the audience directly.

There was also the issue of... (okay, it's not that much of a spoiler, because part of it is mentioned in several of the reviews) ****spoiler****Sarah had been a prostitute for a period in her teens. It seemed tacked on at the end, almost like a change of mind, because in the first sex scene, Sebastian encounters resistance, which made me expect virginity. I couldn't figure out a good reason for the deception, nor a reason for what amounted to "oh, by the way, I used to be a prostitute."**** I guess I just wish it had been expanded on.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Venice setting. It's been over 22 years since I was there, but the descriptions still evoked memories. I also enjoyed the characters trying very hard not to fall in love with each other. I'd figured out Sebastian's revenge plot ahead of time, but it still kept me on the edge of my seat, begging him not to go through with it.

I'd read (and loved) The Veil of Night (#39) when it first came out, but unfortunately forgot to keep looking for Lydia Joyce's books. I've remembered now, and don't think I'll forget again. I have her next two books in my TBR pile.


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