Nothing is fair in love and war…
Europe's elite have gathered at the glittering Congress of Vienna--princes, ambassadors, the Russian tsar--all negotiating the fate of the continent by day and pursuing pleasure by night. Until Princess Tatiana, the most beautiful and talked about woman in Vienna, is found murdered during an ill-timed rendezvous with three of her most powerful conquests…
Suzanne Rannoch has tried to ignore rumors that her new husband, Malcolm, has also been tempted by Tatiana. As a protg of France's Prince Talleyrand and attach for Britain's Lord Castlereagh, Malcolm sets out to investigate the murder and must enlist Suzanne's special skills and knowledge if he is to succeed. As a complex dance between husband and wife in the search for the truth ensues, no one's secrets are safe, and the future of Europe may hang in the balance…
©2011 Tracy Grant (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
I am not sure why this author made reading this series so confusing. I enjoyed quite a bit about this book but the entire time I was reading it I knew that there was a great deal of background fact that I knew nothing about, so chunks of this story made very little sense. The gaping holes meant I had difficulty following the plot and understanding the characters.
So I went to her website hoping there would be a FAQ or some other section that would explain what I clearly didn't get. That made it even more confusing. I discovered that the book I was listening to, which Audible labeled Malcom and Suzanne Rannoch Book 1, was originally written as Charles and Melanie Fraser Book 3, although chronologically it was Book 1, except for a new prequel that was just released. There was an attempt to address the character name change - some publisher issue, but that really didn't help, since it seems she continues to refer to Charles and Melanie on the website. The website has "letters" written between Charles and Melanie and a few other characters. I thought they might fill in some of the background, but like the books, they are not published in chronological order and it looks like many are no longer available. I then read the prequel about how Malcom and Suzanne or Charles and Melanie met and married, but it was written after Vienna Waltz and the explanation in the prequel doesn't match the information in Vienna Waltz.
I finished this book and started the next book in the series. But I don't know that I will finish it. I enjoyed Vienna Waltz, but there was just too much I didn't understand, it was too difficult to follow and the writer seems intent on intentionally keeping the series confusing. I think it will take way too much effort to read this series and it isn't well enough written to go through the hassle.
Only a few chapters in, and I am turned off by the betrayal alluded to between the main characters. Perhaps the author is just being clever and burying the truth in the storyline, but the twists and turns have left me confused. I find I lack the energy at the moment to get through it. For pity's sake, the whole reason I'm mad for audiobooks is that for the first time in years, I am able to "read" books for pleasure while multitasking. Can't do that if I have to take notes. I'll have to set this one aside for now, but if I find time to listen to it again (from the beginning to the end) I'll update my comments. On the flip side, Derek Perkins consistently delivers a solid, versatile performance, and is the reason I am willing to give this one another try.
This is a well rounded story. There's enough attention given to the Rannoch's tenuous marriage to satisfy my romantic heart with plenty of mystery/suspense to keep me listening and entertained.
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