Inspired by the tale of Cinderella, Lila DiPasqua weaves a steamy historical romance that offers a glass slipper, a dangerous deception, and an impoverished beauty determined to find her handsome prince…and make him pay.
Born into wealth, Sabine Laurent and her twin sister lived a life of luxury, their father’s prestigious theater frequented by royalty and aristocracy alike. And Sabine dreamed of her own prince charming—the devastatingly handsome Jules de Moutier.
That was before the loss of her sister and her family’s fall from grace—a disaster Sabine blames on the Moutier family. Now, with her father’s death, she’s inherited his sizable debt and the responsibility of caring for his spoiled long-time mistress and her two wastrel daughters. But with the help of Sabine’s eccentric friends—the balance of her father’s acting troupe—she plans to get very close to her old infatuation, seduce the rake—and make away with a fortune.
Resisting Jules’s skillful mouth and tantalizing touch is not as easy as Sabine supposed. And soon she must decide whether her desire for vengeance is greater than her desire for her one and only prince…
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I had heard great things about Lila DiPasqua's previous books: short stories based on fairy tales with a definite adult twist. So, when I heard about her latest release, I jumped at the chance to review it. It was also an added bonus to discover that she's a Canadian author; I really enjoy featuring "local" talent on my blog.
With the story being based on Cinderella, you know there will be a rags-to-riches feel about it. This story kind of went in reverse, with Sabine on the verge of losing everything dear to her. While Ms. DiPasqua kept many of the familiar elements of the original story within her version, I really enjoyed the spin she put on things like the glass slipper, the ugly stepsisters, etc. There were times that I almost missed the associations, only to think back and see how skillfully the author had inserted them.
The reader gets a quick glimpse of Sabine's life at its peak, then we're quickly taken to "present" day (in this case, 1658 in France). From the beginning, the pace of A Midnight Dance is set with such steamy happenings, it's necessary to have something to fan yourself with on hand. It also helped to keep the reader fully committed (glued!) to the story. Each chapter was relatively short, making this a fairly fast read, though when I reached the end of each chapter, I couldn't help myself but continue on to the next. There was more than one evening spent turning pages well after midnight, totally apropos to the novel.
I was attempting to be somewhat critical while reading the story, curious if the historical aspects would blend well with the more romantic side of things. At times I felt that all was hopeless for Sabine and Jules, as society (as they knew it) would not allow for their crossing the lines. In this sense, I really liked how Ms. Dipasqua maintained the integrity of class rules from that era. And, in the end, the telling of the tale was such fun that I didn't care if certain situations would have even been possible at that time. (I think the author's homework was spot on anyway and gave me some added knowledge about the Fronde and its culprits.)
Though told with no shortage of harsh truths, A Midnight Dance is a sexy, enjoyable read that reaffirms this adult's belief that fairy tales can indeed come true!