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..Show More » 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.
If you want to read this series in chronological order (and not in publication order), here is the authors recommended order: 1. His Spanish Bride..Show More » (novella) – December 1812 2. Vienna Waltz – November 1814 3. Imperial Scandal – June 1815 4. The Paris Affair – July/August 1815 5. Beneath a Silent Moon – June/July 1817 6. Secrets of a Lady – November 1819 7. The Mask of Night – January 1820 9. The Berkeley Square Affair 10. The Mayfair Affair [book release 15 MAY 2015]
I love the way this author writes! She's a fan of Dorothy Dunnett, and it shows - intelligent dialogue, careful plotting, and involving characters. This is what I look for in a book! Thanks audible, for making these available - you just need to get your series order in gear.