Monday, May 14, 2007

A Dance of Seduction, by Sabrina Jeffries [1]


I was smiling reading the beginning, the early interaction between Clara & Morgan was fun. Unfortunately, the crux of the novel - Morgan's fear of London and everything it represents to him in his tortured past - just didn't ring true.

Morgan is pretty bland for a roguish scoundrel. Morgan is your typical tortured hero with a "dark" past while the Lady Clara is your typical headstrong heroine who finds High Society boring. Instead, she runs the Home, a shelter for poor children helping them escape the criminal street life so common amongst them.

Spoilers ahead.

As I mentioned, the witty banter between Clara & Morgan in the beginning was fun. The second half of the novel however focuses on Morgan agonizing mercilessly over a past which tortures his soul. Morgan is made out to be a rogue who's done some bad stuff, but I really don't see it. He doesn't even directly the kill the man who ended up causing his mother's death, he only arranged it, as though this is such a big deal, causing all this feminine angst inside him. I fail to see any of Morgan's so-called criminal past, he was a sailor, abducted by pirates (not really doing anything for them), and he was a spy for the government. So where's this criminal rogue? Please, he's as square as they come, and pretty weak agonizing over a "murder" he didn't directly partake in.

I wanted to see a determined and willful Morgan (or at least grow some) kill the Specter in the end, but apparently Clara explains that doing that would erase what's left of his soul. C'mon....

Also predictably, Clara convinces Morgan to see everything her way, that he was afraid of London and he was running from his past by trying to escape London and captain a ship. Towards the end, Clara easily convinces Morgan to not kill the Specter, as if in so doing it instantly and magically releases him of agonizing over his childhood in Geneva (which, of course, it magically does). Clara gets everything she wants: the man she loves, her shelter renovated by her love's wealthy connections, her love working for her at the shelter, and the man she loves chooses to stay with her rather than go back to the sea to captain a ship.

There isn't a single concession on Clara's part, and I didn't find it endearing to read at all. I didn't see a romance here, I saw more a girl's dream for her man to give up everything he is or wants to be for her. I really don't see Clara "saving" Morgan from his wounded past. If anything, his "wounded" past was lame and the fact that he agonized over it was entirely a weak plot device to make it appear Clara salvaged something deep inside him worth rescuing (which it wasn't, since Morgan came off more like a girl than a male rogue).

Clara feels Morgan would resent her if she were to marry him and then have him go out to sea to captain a ship. She will settle for nothing less than having Morgan give up everything he is for her. Maybe I just don't get it, because I don't see how he couldn't resent her for forcing him to stay in London with her. The hubbub regarding his wounded past was weak and didn't ring true at all.

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