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The Courtship Dance (Hqn) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Juni 2010

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 377 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harlequin Sales Corp; Auflage: Reprint (1. Juni 2010)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0373775644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373775644
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 10,7 x 2,6 x 16,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.3 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 341.445 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Candace Camp is a New York Times bestselling author of over sixty novels of contemporary and historical romance. She grew up in Texas in a newspaper family, which explains her love of writing, but she earned a law degree and practiced law before making the decision to write full-time. She has received several writing awards, including the RT Book Reviews Lifetime Achievement Award for Western Romances. Visit her at www.candace-camp.com.

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

No one would have guessed from the way Lady Fran-cesca Haughston moved through the Whittington ballroom that she was making the opening moves of her campaign. She strolled along in her usual manner, pausing to compliment a dress here or flirt with one of her many admirers there. She smiled and talked and plied her fan deftly, a vision in ice-blue silk, her blond hair falling in a cascade of curls from an upswept knot. But all the while, her dark blue eyes were looking for her prey.

It had been almost a month since she had vowed to herself to find a wife for the Duke of Rochford, and tonight she intended to set her plan in motion. She had made all her preparations. She had studied the young unmarried women of the ton, and through careful research and observation, she had managed to whittle the number down to just three whom she felt suitable for Sinclair.

All three of the young ladies would be here this evening, she was certain. The Whittington ball was one of the highlights of the Season, and, short of dire illness, any marriageable young lady would attend. Moreover, the odds were that the duke would be there, as well, which meant that Francesca could set her scheme in motion. It was time she began, she knew—past time. She had not really needed three weeks to sort out the possible brides for Rochford. There was only a rather small number of girls who could qualify to become his duchess.

But for some reason, ever since Callie's wedding, Francesca had been beset by ennui, curiously reluctant to pay calls or attend parties or the theater. Even her good friend Sir Lucien had commented on her sudden preference for staying at home. She was not sure of the reason for it; everything just suddenly seemed dull and scarcely worth the effort. She had felt, in fact, a trifle blue-deviled—a result, she had decided, of the fact that Callie, who had been living with Francesca while they sorted out a husband for her, was now married and gone. Without Callie's cheerful voice and fetching smile, Francesca's house was too empty.

Still, she reminded herself, she had vowed to make up for the wrong she had done to Callie's brother, Sinclair, fifteen long years ago. It was impossible to right matters, of course, but she could at least do the duke the favor of finding him a suitable bride. It was, after all, the thing at which she was most skilled. So she had come to this party tonight determined to begin the long dance of courtship on his behalf.

She strolled along the perimeter of the grand ballroom, a huge affair painted all in white and gold, floored with oak planks the color of honey, and lit by three glittering cascades of crystal chandeliers. Several gold stands of thick white beeswax candles provided more light, as did the gold-and-white sconces along the walls. All this brilliance was softened by the huge bouquets of crimson roses and peonies standing in vases against the walls, and twining in garlands up the banister of the magnificent staircase to the second floor. It was an elegant room, worthy of a palace, and it was rumored that only the formal ballroom made Lady Whittington willing to remain in this enormous and antiquated old mansion situated unfashionably outside Mayfair.

Francesca threaded through the crowd to the staircase, intending to use the vantage point of the second-floor railing to locate the young women she was seeking in the massive ballroom below. It was fitting, she thought, as she began to climb the curving stairs, that she should begin her campaign at the Whittingtons' ball. It had been here, after all, that she had ended things with the Duke of Rochford fifteen years ago. It had been here that her world had come crashing down.

The flowers had all been white that night, she remembered, masses of roses, peonies, camellias and sweet-scented gardenias, accented by glossy greenery trailing from the high vases. It had been a night of heady triumph for Francesca—she had made her debut only weeks before, and she was the undisputed Beauty of the Season. Men had flocked around her, flirting and begging for a dance, making extravagant declarations of love and paying flowery compliments. And all the while she had hugged her secret to herself, giddy with love and excitement—until the footman had slipped a note into her hand.

Now Francesca reached the second floor and took her place at the railing, where she could gaze down at the swirling dancers below. Things were much the same, she thought, as they had been that night so long ago. The dresses had been different, of course, the colors of the walls and the decorations changed. But the glamour, the excitement, the hopes and intrigues, had not altered. Francesca gazed out at the crowd without really seeing them, remembering instead the past.

"Is the party so grim?" a light, familiar voice said at her side.

Francesca turned and smiled at the blond woman. "Irene. How good to see you."

Lady Irene Radbourne was a striking woman with thick, curling blond hair and unusual golden eyes. At twenty-seven years old, she had been a spinster—and determined to remain one—until last autumn, when Francesca, searching for a suitable spouse for the Earl of Radbourne, had realized that Irene was the perfect match for him. The two women had spent their lives in much the same circle, so she had known the blunt, opinionated Lady Irene for years, but the two of them had not been friends until they had spent two weeks together at the Radbourne estate as Francesca sought to match the rough Lord Gideon to a well-bred wife. Now Francesca counted Irene as one of her closest friends.

Irene looked out over the multicolored crowd of dancers. "Is the new crop of marriageable young ladies so dismal?"

Francesca shrugged. Though she and Irene had maintained a genteel silence regarding the matter, Francesca suspected Irene had guessed that her matchmaking efforts were more a question of survival than amusement.

"Indeed, I have not really given them much attention. I have been quite lazy since Callie's wedding, I fear."

Irene regarded her shrewdly. "You are distressed, are you not? Is there aught that I can do?"

Francesca shook her head. "'Tis nothing, really. I am just remembering…a time long past. Another party here." She forced a smile, the charming dimple in her cheek appearing. "Where is Lord Gideon?"

In the six months the couple had been married, it was rare to see Irene without Gideon by her side. The pair had suited each other even better than Francesca had guessed; it seemed as if their love grew with each passing day.

Irene let out a little giggle. "He was waylaid by his great-aunt as we came in."

"Lady Odelia?" Francesca asked, appalled. "Good Gad, is she here?" She glanced around apprehensively.

"We are safe here," Irene assured her. "I do not think she will climb the stairs. That is why I fled to the balcony as soon as I stepped out of the cloakroom and saw that she had cornered Gideon."

"And left him there?" Francesca asked, chuckling. "For shame, Lady Radbourne. What about your vows?"

"My wedding vows made no mention of Great-Aunt Odelia, I assure you," Irene retorted, grinning. "I did feel a twinge of guilt, but I reminded myself that Gideon is a strong man, feared by many."

"Even the bravest quail before Lady Odelia, however. I remember once when Rochford himself sneaked out the back door and went 'round to the stables when he saw her carriage out front, leaving my mother and me with his grandmother to face her."

Irene let out a burst of laughter. "I should like to have seen that. I shall have to tease him about that the next time we meet."

"How is...

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Steffi A. am 11. August 2009
Format: Taschenbuch
I bought this book because I read Candace Camp's "The Bridal Quest" in which Francesca Houghston and the Duke of Rochford were introduced for the first time. The Duke of Rochford's character piqued my curiosity. He struck me as a very brooding, reserved and interesting character - I like those heroes better than those easy-going, flirting, charmers and so in buying this book I was hoping to learn more about him. What I got however was very little insight into his real personality. I like it better and I am used to it that a story is told out of the perspective of both: hero and heroine. Candace Camp however is mainly writing out of the heroine's perspective which is really kind of sad.

It's been quiet a while since I read the book but the story is easy to tell, it's very similar to Jane Austen's "Persuasion" - generally speaking.

A long time ago, Francesca was secretly engaged to the Duke of Rochford but she breaks up their engagement after she found him "in flagrante" with another woman - Lady Daphne. Broken-hearted and not wanting to let the duke see it she soon marries Lord Houghston instead - and finds herself trapped in a horrible marriage.

Fifteen years and one dead husband later, Francesca finds out that the duke had actually been quiet faithful to her and that they both had been wronged by Lady Daphne. Francesca's guilty conscience is eating away at her and even though she could let the matter rest after all this time she feels compelled to apologize to the duke. Through all the years Francesca and the duke had maintained a fleeting acquaintance, they were polite to each other but nothing more. But the new won facts change everything....
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Daspin am 14. November 2010
Format: Taschenbuch
Although a classical regency romance, this book stands out from the lot: The fourth book in the Matchmaker Series, the heroes (Francesca and Rochford) are already well established by the time this book's story starts. They are looking back on quite some history as they had been secretly engaged when still quite young, only to have broken their engagement over a misunderstanding. We have met Francesca and Rochford frequently in the first three books of the series and I find this one a very satisfying conclusion that the reader certainly has been hoping for since book one.

I have to disagree with the reviewer that finds the characters lacking in depth. The description is certainly done is a quieter tone, but is very much in tune with the bits and pieces we have been able to glance earlier. Altogether, it is a very credible and heartwarming tale of second chances and the all-encompassing power of love. I find it especially refreshing that Francesca is very much a woman of the world, and an established power in society in her own right (if in somewhat dire straits right now...), and a widow, rather than the typical very young and "fresh" type of heroine we usually meet. For me, this made the how and why of her attraction to Rochford much better founded than the usual "he's goodlooking, rich, well educated and [...]" type of description of the male lead.

My very strong advice would be to read the other three books first. That will certainly make you enjoy this book even more. I adhere to this even when re-reading.
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1 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von R. Bauer am 14. März 2009
Format: Taschenbuch
Habe aller Bücher dieser Reihe gelesen, und finde es ist eindeutig das BESTE!!! Wirklich ein gutes Buch. Lesenswert.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 49 Rezensionen
32 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Best in the series!! 23. Januar 2009
Von T. Fong - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Okay, so saying that this is the best in the series isn't actually saying much for me, because I did not love the other books in the series. They were pleasant enough, but also very ordinary. The leading ladies in those stories were not as intriguing or likeable as Francesca and the men were nowhere near as magnetic as Rochford. In fact, I found myself skimming through the main storylines while slowly savoring every mention of these supporting characters. I can't say why, but I just loved the strained interactions between the two and the hint of something deep and tragic that happened between them in the past. They stole the show. I actually read the second and third books mainly to find out more about them. So of course, I could not wait for The Courtship Dance to be released.

For those of you who feel the same way about them in the previous novels, let me assure you---the finale will be well worth the wait! I was afraid I had too high hopes for this book and tried to convince myself that it would be difficult for Camp to write an entire novel centered on these two characters without messing it up in some way. It was a relief when I read this that I was not disappointed.

Though we only saw glimpses of their characters in the previous books, their personalities that developed in this book were exactly as I had imagined and hoped. They are both very proud and honorable people, but in a respectable and not irritating sense. I never got annoyed with them as I often do with lead characters with strong personalities, but instead fell even more in love with them. I love how they knew each other so well and had so much history together, so their "grownup-up" relationship had much more depth and substance compared to the whirlwind type romances that are often written. This made the ending much more sweet and satisfying. The main conflict also does not focus on some Big Misunderstanding (not the way I see it, anyway), which was refreshing. Generally, the storyline is rather predictable, but in a good, comfortable and entertaining way (I find most romances to be like this though).

I'm not good at summarizing plot lines and don't want to accidentally give out any spoilers, so I will just leave it at that. I hope everyone enjoys this book as much as I did!
13 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Second chance love in satisfying series' finale 7. Februar 2009
Von statengirl - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
It is time for the matchmaker to find love of her own in this satisfying finish to Camp's "Matchmaker" series. For readers of the series, there was never any doubt that Lady Francesca Haughston, society darling and matchmaker extraordinaire, would end up in the arms of Sinclair Lisle, Duke of Rochford. The chemistry has been there from the series' start, but something in their past prevented them from acting upon it. It was eventually revealed in the last book that Francesca and Sinclair had been secretly engaged 15 years before, but Francesca broke it off when she found Sinclair in a compromising position with another woman, and she would not listen his claims of innocence. Francesca married on the rebound - it was a disaster - and is now widowed; Sinclair never married; and neither has been truly happy since. As it turns out, it was all a terrible mistake, for Francesca discovered just weeks ago that Sinclair had been set up and was completely innocent. Francesca is now determined to rectify the great wrong she did to Sinclair. She believes he swore off marriage after her rejection, so she sets out to find him a suitable young bride. Sinclair plays along with her scheme, feigning interest in the parade of candidates...but in his heart, it is the matchmaker he's hoping to win.

This is a sweet and satisfying end to a charming series. It is clear to the reader early on that Sinclair wants Francesca - and only Francesca - for his wife. She, however, is clueless. It is alternatingly funny and moving to see her jealous dislike of the prospective brides and her struggle to come to grips with her own feelings. There are many good tear-filled moments as Francesca fears that all is lost or mourns what might have been. Sinclair shows he is the absolutely great guy that I have long suspected - generous, brave, steadfast, kind, fiercely protective...and of course passionate.

I DO feel there were a few things missing from the story, such as the impending ball at which Sinclair was to announce his engagement...but which never materialized. Also, in the previous book, Sinclair's sister Callie suspects there are feelings between her brother and her dear friend Francesca ...yet oddly Callie is in this story for only a page or two and seems to have forgotten all about it. And Francesca is a bit more subdued in this book than previously. Overall, though, this is a good read and a fitting and happy culmination of Francesca's matchmaking days. 3 ½ - 4 stars
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Finally the long awaited courtship! 28. Januar 2009
Von J. Lee - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
It has been a long wait for the story of Francesca and Sinclair, after bits and pieces of their interaction and hinted back-history had been dropped throughout the earlier books in the series.

I quite liked the first book "The Bridal Quest"...I think that it really gave this series a strong start, but like some of the other reviewers, I have to concur that the subsequent two books were only okay for me, and I was far far FAR more enthralled by Francesca and the duke, though they were only secondary characters. If anything, the earlier books were great in building up the anticipation leading up to the final telling of their story, which does not disappoint, in my humble opinion.

Definitely worth the wait (though I'm glad I don't have to wait any longer!)
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Eagerly-Awaited Conclusion to the Delightful Courtship Series 3. Februar 2009
Von D. Summerfield - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Unlike some of the other reviewers, I loved all four books in this well-written, thoughtful and ultimately quite satisfying Regency romance series. The talented Candace Camp planned the series very well. Although each of the four books in the series stands alone, they all give us a few more teasers about the hero and heroine of this last entry in the series, with tantalizing intimations throughout that "there is some history there" between the imperious Duke of Rochford and gorgeous matchmaker, Lady Francesca Haughston.

Now Ms. Camp has brought her series to a lovely, sigh-inducing conclusion with the story of the contentious, delicious love affair between Rochford and Francesca. As a reader who clearly recalls the earliest days of modern romance novels, (in the 1970s and 1980s) when the heroine could never be more than a virginal nineteen and the hero was always an experienced thirty-five, I have to say that I love these romances between more mature, seasoned and three-dimensional people.

Ms. Camp has created two characters who have been kicked around by life a bit, and who are wary of relationships. Francesca and Rochford are still vital and sexy, but finding love has been elusive and disappointing for them. Francesca has gone through an ill-advised marriage to a man who not only didn't appreciate her, but demeaned her, cheated on her, then died and left her penniless. Rochford has been betrayed in love, and so is approaching middle-age, realizing that he probably should marry sometime, but is not looking for anything other than someone who will give him an heir and live in her part of the castle. But fate seems to have plans for these two strong-minded people, and when they cannot keep away from each other -- fireworks!

I loved the repartee between these two characters and the interesting unfolding of their history and their fascination with each other. I also liked learning a bit more about the fates of the heroes and heroines who made good marriages in the other three books in this series.

The Courtship Dance will be joining The Marriage Wager (Matchmakers), The Bridal Quest (Matchmakers) and The Wedding Challenge (Matchmakers) on my keeper shelf. I have a feeling I will want to enter this lovely world again.
10 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
I give up. Really. 23. April 2009
Von J. Myrna RottenRomance - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I'm not really sure why I've continued to read this author's work. I'm consistently disappointed. Well, no, that's not the right way to put it. I'm consistently underwhelmed. This book was not as bad as some of the others in the series, but it was up there.

Francesca went from being a funny, sophisticated, competent woman, to being a whiny, insecure, weepy, stilted woman. As someone else mentioned, the majority of the book took place as her internal monologue. There was almost no input from Sinclair. We have no idea why he felt the way he did, why he acted the way he did. I get that this author doesn't bounce back and forth between point of view, but since there was so little EXTERNAL dialogue we could get no real impression of him.

Also like another reviewer, I am not a fan of the Big Misunderstanding. Even less than that am I a fan for the "I had a poor sex life with my prior spouse, therefore I must be frigid." The CONSTANT references to her "cold nature" and frigidity were tiresome and unnecessary. I get that she felt insecure. I do not get how after consummating the relationship there is no reference to the amazing "recovery" she made.

The whole concept of Francesca finding Sinclair a wife to make up for the Big Misunderstanding was kind of funny at the end of the prior book. In actuality, though, the premise didn't work. The only person it made sense to was Sinclair, given his motives, but we were never privy to his motives! The dialogue is labored, not witty. The best thing I can say about the sex scenes is that they were brief. There is, as always, quivering and molten pooling, but thankfully only 2 references to loins.

Basically, I've given up. I have tried to like this author, I really have. She's not horrible and I know she tries hard. Her *characters* are good. The story lines are okay. But the books are flat. And they leave me rather sad that I've spent the time on them. So I'm done. I'm just calling it a day and saying, straight up, that this author and I are clearly not a good match. So I'm breaking up with her. I'm sure it's not her, it's me. Can't we stay friends? But not ones that see eachother -- just ones that if we bump into each other at the bookstore, there will be no hard feelings.
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