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.