The Muse by Jessica Evans #Review

Posted April 17, 2015 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 22 Comments

The Muse by Jessica Evans #Review
The Muse

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Published by Meryton Press
Released on December 9, 2014
Format: Paperback

Get it at: add to goodreads

I was excited to read this book for two reasons- new to me author and new to me setting. I was curious about a contemporary ballet setting.

Now before I dive right in with my thoughts on the book, I will say that a reader doesn’t have to already have read Pride and Prejudice even though this is a retelling. If you read contemporary romance, then this would be a good possibility read. I should also say that you can be fairly ignorant about dance (like moi) and get along just fine as the book mentions the technical names for the ballet dance moves.

Alrighty so the story begins when Elizabeth Bennet, a member of the NYC’s Ballet Theater dance troupe start preparing for the new season with a new dance choreographer. Elizabeth was in awe at first that the great and nearly legendary William Darcy would be working with them, but the dazzle soon fizzles when she encounters an arrogant, cold man who snaps off a negative remark about her and only opens his mouth to criticize. He seems to single her out and gets her to help him work on a difficult piece much to her chagrin when the prima dona dancer, Caroline, and the other dancers glare at her. She doesn’t want to work with Darcy, but her dancing comes alive under his instruction. She starts to soften only to learn news that blackens his character for good.

William Darcy has felt hollow for a long time. He has been going through the motions. Then he meets the eyes of one of the dance group. Elizabeth Bennet dances with great expression even if she is still a bit lacking in the technical aspects. His attempts to mentor her are met with irritation and her reluctance to help him choreograph the duet piece really makes him wonder. She holds him with contempt even as his respect for her grows. He thinks they have come to an understanding. Theater politics force decisions that make matters worse between them and he only learns her real opinion and it’s painful in the face of his own. He wants to dismiss her from his thoughts, but it’s not easy. What if there is a second chance?

This one was full of character development, tension and some drama. I was engaged from the beginning. The author spun out a solid story and set it against a well-drawn backdrop. I found the dancing world amazing and fascinating. The competitive nature of it all made for a strong amount of tension and add to that the volatile nature of Darcy and Elizabeth’s romance, it kept things going at a goodly pace.

Darcy and Liz are well-drawn and the story remains strongly focused on them as well as the dance. I liked seeing the character’s flaws and then their subsequent growth. The device of misunderstanding is a huge part of this story and the heroine’s prejudice is extreme by the point of the big blow up. She’s much younger so her attitude and behavior make sense. I felt the big moment was when she realized just how wrong she was.   This is an age-gap romance, but I really liked how the pace of the romance after the resolve reflected this and addressed it. They were in two different places in their careers and lives, but the solution took this into account well. The romance was spicy passion and has a tough road before it gets better as a result of major misunderstandings.

The secondary characters added to the story, but they weren’t as deeply teased out. I actually found the prima donna moments humorous and fun. Caroline was just so conniving and spoilt-childish. Darcy’s younger sister was cute. I found the sister relationship dynamic between Elizabeth and Jane intriguing. Jane is a beautiful, talented, and genuinely good person. Elizabeth, nothing like her sister, has to follow in her footsteps as a ballet dancer and figure out what to do with her jealousy toward Jane.

All in all, I enjoyed this story and would recommend it to those who want a Contemporary Romance set in the ballet world and to those Austenesque lovers who wouldn’t mind reading a modern retelling.

Romance Roundabout #139

Cliché Klatch #65 ‘let’s not keep them waiting’

New to Me #70 author

Austenesque Lovers #18

The following two tabs change content below.
I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Tags: , ,

22
Leave a Reply

avatar
11 Comment threads
11 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
11 Comment authors
Lindy GomezROkimbacaffeinateLover Of RomanceAnna@herding cats&burning soup Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Braine TS
Guest

This is a story I prefer to watch on screen because I love watching people dance. It’s so beautiful visually, I’m drawn to the performance more than the love story an such. This reminds me a bit of Save The Last Dance or is it Center Stage…

Sophia Rose
Guest

You are waaay ahead of me, Braine! I’ve watched classical ballet on PBS and that is the extent of my experience. But yes, it is so beautiful to watch. I respect the heck out of the dancers b/c of the discipline it takes to be good at it.

Lanies Book Thoughts
Guest

Oooh! I’ve never read a ballet story before, this would be an interesting change of pace. The cover is so pretty too. Great review Sophia:D!

Sophia Rose
Guest

That was a big point of appeal for me too, Lanie. Definitely a gorgeous cover.

Mary Kirkland
Guest

Not sure this is my type of book but thanks for the review. I’m sure a lot of people will like it.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Haha, yes, Mary! If ballet isn’t your thing then no, this would not be a good idea.

Lola
Guest

I’ve read one contemporary ballet book last year, I like new to me settings like that. It’s so fun to get to know a world I know nothing about. Although I am not a fan of retellings in any form, not sure why, but just the fact that it is a retelling makes me more reluctant to read it. The competitive nature also played a big part in the book I read.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yes, the competitiveness wasn’t what I was expecting, but gave some good tension to the book. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for a retelling, but I don’t mind them. In fact, I see old story plots used all the time by newer writers and it makes me laugh b/c I’m not sure the author even realizes they did it.

Shari Delighted Read
Guest
Shari Delighted Read

Is it funny that I am sitting in the audience about to see my daughter perform in the Sleeping Beauty ballet?

Sophia Rose
Guest

Wowsers, that is ironic. Hope she does great!

Shari Delighted Read
Guest
Shari Delighted Read

Not to be a downer but I paid $20 to see her on stage for 1 minute performance. I really don’t like this program. Only just started act 3 out of 5. Save me now.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Uh oh, not cool! Twenty a minute is steep.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Guest

You know. You just don’t read too many books with dancer characters. I think maybe I’ve read one or two?? That’s good you can get by without knowing anything about dance. I’d be clueless too. lol

Shari Delighted Read
Guest
Shari Delighted Read

Stick with me… I live in dance mom hell! I haven’t read more than one with a dancer. Think I shy away because I spend so much time immersed in this world.

Lover Of Romance
Guest

You know I have never had the opportunity to read a ballet theme romance. A ballroom dancing one…but not one where the main character is a professional dancer like this. I do love those pride and prejudice themes though, so this will have to be a must for me. Great review.

Sophia Rose
Guest

This was a whole new world for me too, Renee. The backdrop was as fascinating as the actual story.

kimbacaffeinate
Guest

I love that the story was well developed and agree the setting is a compelling reason to try it. I have not tried one surrounding a contemporary ballet. I like that there was humor mixed in as well. Lovely review Sophia.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Thanks, Kimberly! This was my first professional dance one too and I learned a lot while enjoying the story.

RO
Guest

Yes – this a definite read that I need to pick up! I love the cover, your review, and the fact that the characters are well-developed.. Even though I know very little about ballet, (lol) something about the art of it intrigues me, and have not found many romance stories dedicated to the topic. Hugs…

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh yay! Glad I could point you toward one that grabbed your interest, Ro.

Lindy Gomez
Guest
Lindy Gomez

Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite classics! How fun that this book is a retelling with a ballet theme! Tension, Drama, and Spicy Romance?!! Sign me up!!!

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh cool! A fellow P&P lover. I loved how she brought the classic story into modern times. I could still recognize the original story, but it was it’s own story too.