I am continually blown away by the talent that can tell a story from first person point of view and keep me spellbound the entire time. Alexandrea Weis has done just this in ACADIAN WALTZ, an extraordinary contemporary romance (true romance this time) that holds us captivated and in suspense right up to the end.
***eARC provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
Blurb for ACADIAN WALTZ:
At thirty, Nora Kehoe is feeling pressured to settle down. On a blind date, Nora unexpectedly ends up in the emergency room where she meets Dr. John Blessing. She hopes the pragmatic Dr. Blessing can make her life complete. Then, a passionate encounter with a childhood friend changes everything.
The charismatic Jean Marc Gaspard manages the family business, Gaspard Fisheries. But rumors abound that Jean Marc is running more than seafood through the waters around Manchac Louisiana. When a family crisis sends Nora to Manchac, she is thrown headlong into the dangerous world of smugglers and swindlers. And as Jean Marc tries to protect Nora from his past, he realizes he may lose her because of it.
The dark bayou waters run deep with secrets in Louisiana, and every Cajun knows how to dance the fine line between the right and wrong side of the law. But for strangers, learning the steps to staying alive in the swamps can be tricky. Life, and love, will be dependent on how well one can master the … Acadian Waltz.
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Nora Kehoe is happy with her life but her mother keeps pressuring her to settle down, to get married, and start a family - as if that's the only way a woman can be content in life. When she least expects to, Nora meets a handsome doctor - just the kind of man her mother would want her to spend the rest of her life with in wedded bliss. Dr. John Blessing seems to be a good man, albeit a bit dull, but Nora feels he's got potential as a husband so when he proposes, she accepts. Her mother is thrilled, but is Nora - really?
Not overly eager to have the wedding her mother always dreamed of, Nora tries to stall. Her career is on track but now John wants her to cut her hours and concentrate on planning the wedding. Always the one to please, Nora is willing to make changes for John's sake because she believes her life is going in the direction that fated her, at least until her Uncle Jack has a health issue and needs her to come out to Manchac to take care of him. It's there she runs into the one man who both enthralls her senses and irritates her to anger, Jean Marc Gaspard. Once a childhood friend, once the friend she dreamed of marrying, once the fellow who taught her to dance ... to dance the Acadian Waltz.
Trouble brews and mysteries abound as Nora feels herself being tugged back to the world along the bayou in Manchac. Her desire to ignore Jean Marc begins to wane as she discovers how caring he is to Uncle Jack and how he wants to help. Nora struggles to figure out how to stretch herself between caring for an old man who needs her but won't admit it, planning a wedding, and keeping herself true to John when all she wants is Jean Marc Gaspard.
Danger rears its ugly head when she witnesses Jean Marc's twin brother, Henri, nearly die from a voodoo scam that causes seizures that leave him paralyzed. Now she's agreed to tend to Henri as a private therapist in the home where the twins grew up. It's here that Nora makes many discoveries, not only about herself, her wants and desires, but truths about Jean Marc, Henri, and her own family's past. All of which put her life in danger and those of everyone around her.
ACADIAN WALTZ by Alexandrea Weis grabbed me right from the start and held me captivated clear through to the almost end when I feared the worst. I loved this story, I loved the characters, I loved the setting. I have to say there was nothing about this book that I didn't love. Nora is a woman on the edge, she's torn between one world and another, between one man and another. I will say that I did not like John Blessing but then I doubt I was supposed to. I silently pleaded with Nora as we journeyed through this story to leave him, give him back his ring, and tell him to hit the road. He was controlling, self-centered, and a selfish lover. He was everything that Jean Marc wasn't. I wanted Nora to be with Jean Marc so badly that I found myself pleading with her to just kiss him already!
Alexandrea writes this story with such intensity that there were times when I thought I felt the stickiness of the bayou humidity, heard the buzz of mosquitoes, and smelled the warm peatiness of the swamps. ACADIAN WALTZ is an adventure into the smuggling world that slinks through the bayou like a snake, it's a dance between two people fated to be together since childhood, and the secrets that have been left to fester which cut through families leaving wounds that never seem to heal.
I highly recommend ACADIAN WALTZ by Alexandrea Weis to anyone who truly loves a romance that sizzles, sparks, grabs a hold on and then drops your heart only to make you swoon in the end. It's like the last lines of this extraordinary tale say about the Acadian waltz - Every Cajun knows that you can only dance the waltz with your true love. Because you can never master the steps, until someone touches your heart. This contemporary romance will stay with you long after you finish reading these lines. This is one that I didn't want to see end. Ever.
Happy Reading Everyone!
Please, come back on Wednesday, when this lovely author will be joining me for an interview and a fabulous Cajun style giveaway!
ACADIAN WALTZ by Alexandrea Weis, World Castle Publishing, available now in print and ebook formats.