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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Review: A Midnight Dance by Lila DiPasqua

In the interest of being completely fair, the story rocked but the main characters? Not so much.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Lila DiPasqua (Self Published)
Release Date: October 25, 2015

Inspired by the tale of Cinderella, 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...

A Midnight Dance put me in a difficult position when it came time to write a review. On the one hand, the plot and execution of it was awesome! There were elements of mystery, danger, passion, angst and adventure. I loved the hotter than hot retelling of the classic fairytale, Cinderella because it wasn’t a play-by-play of the story most people know. Aside from a few obvious similarities, author Lila DiPasqua took her version to a darker, more complex place where human emotions sometimes clouded the truth even when it’s in big bold letters.

The story goes that Sabine Laurent lived in luxery due to her father’s success as a theater owner. She even thought she would marry the very aristocratic Jules de Moutier. Then the loss of her sister and her family’s fall from grace saw Sabine inheriting her deceased father’s enormous debt and having to care for his silly mistress and her useless daughters. Sabine blames her family’s misfortunes on the Moutier family and decides to seduce her former dream man and steal a fortune from him.

The strongest part about this book was that the characters weren’t 100% good and they weren’t 100% bad either, except for maybe the villain whose identity I was blindsided by let me tell you.

But, just because the characters weren’t goody two shoes didn’t mean that I fell in love with them. It was quite the opposite in the case of the main characters, Jules and Sabine.

Jules was an aristocrat who really believed he was better than the common people who lived to work, no lived to serve his every need and indulge his every whim. I had a huge problem with this since he didn’t change his views on the poor, the commoners or even people like Sabine who had to resort to trickery and thievery to survive until the last second. When his moment of “revelation” came, I felt it was too late for him to have enough time to redeem himself in my eyes because there weren’t very many pages left to the book!

Throughout A Midnight Dance he proved time and time again that he didn’t have a humble bone in his jerk hole body. I began to expect Jules would announce that aristocrats also crapped gold so that’s what made them so much better than everyone else. His single minded focus on restoring a questionable family honor and status was childish especially when paired with the fact that he didn’t care if he crushed innocent people under his boots. I found him to be unreasonable, over the top arrogant and unlikable at all. How he saw and spoke to the lower classes and even Sabine just didn’t sit right with me. I know that the majority of aristocrats spoke to and treated people that way back in the day, heck some people are like that now BUT this is romantic fiction and the point was to make me as a reader fall in love with him like the heroine but I. Just. Couldn’t.

I found myself hoping against all hope that Sabine would knock his worthless ass off his high horse and into the dirt.

Which turns my attention to the silly and easily manipulated and controlled Sabine. I began the book loving her bravado and her intelligence to formulate and actually attempt to carry out her plan to steal a fortune to help her struggling family. But after she gave herself to Jules she became a slave to her own body and desires. In the worst way! She allowed Jules to insult her and anyone he considered beneath him as an aristocrat all because she was so entranced with his magical love stick. Sabine didn’t have the guts to put her foot down, hormones be dammed and flip Jules the metaphorical middle finger. She didn’t want to lose access to that love stick I guess but still, no one is that good to toss away self respect and pride like she did. All he had to do was look at her and Jules could say whatever stupid thing he wanted and Sabine would stand there and take it. I wanted to kick this stupid girl so hard! Sabine had so many opportunities to put Jules in his place and she just DIDN’T! I really wanted this girl to be the one to bring the almost-as-bad-as-the-villain Jules to his knees.

Now I’ve read another book in this series and I do not recall the hero or heroine aggravating me like this, in fact, I loved both characters to bits so my strong reaction towards Jules and Sabine shocked me the most. It was disappointing to say the least and is definitely a case of “Did I read the same book?” Since most reviews loved both characters.

I’m not going to lie though, the sex scenes were highly erotic and in the beginning very frequent with Jules and Sabine not being able to keep their hands off each other but I grew tired of the sexual manipulation Jules used to get away with saying cruel things to Sabine. It’s only hot sex until someone starts using it to control the other, and then it’s not so entertaining anymore.

While Jules and Sabine were the main characters, there was an entertaining supporting cast that just can’t be overlooked. Sabine’s motley crew of a family that included her father’s mistress and her two spoiled daughters, Sabine’s cousins, Jules’ men and Jules’ younger brother Luc whom I liked better to be honest. Luc seemed to have a better head on his shoulders and perhaps even a dose of humility.

Final Verdict: Again, loved, loved, LOVED the story itself but had the totally opposite reaction to the main characters. I hope that if Jules’ brother gets his own story he doesn’t turn out to be a jerk like his brother since he didn’t have the same view of their family. A Midnight Dance is a great example of how intelligent writing can keep a person reading even when the reader isn’t too thrilled with one or both of the main characters.

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