I love the idea of re-publishing books because, like fashion, sometimes what is old is now sometimes new. I believe that’s the case for A DANCE IN THE DARK by Karen Ranney. This dark yet sweet paranormal historical fantasy-style romance has so much to say. Kensington Publishing originally published it in 1998 in the anthology, AFTER MIDNIGHT. Recently re-released as a stand-alone, I think it’s going to achieve a new life among new readers.
***eCopy provided by author as a gift for subscribing to her newsletter, but I delighted in reading it and of course, am presenting my honest and unscripted review.
Blurb for A DANCE IN THE DARK:
Louisa is an heiress who is truly not beautiful. Douglas is a man who isn't simply a recluse. When Louisa finds a friend in Douglas, he knows it's the very worst thing that could happen to her. In the darkness, however, almost anything is possible.
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Louisa Patterson wants to escape her world, her life, and the prospect of marriage. An heiress to one of the wealthiest estates in England, she is most definitely the catch of the Season even as she’s the least attractive. Plainly put, Louisa Patterson is only as attractive to the many men seeking her hand, as her wealth is extensive.
Douglas Traherne wants nothing to do with the outside world. A self-proclaimed hermit, he lives in a cave at Hodges Hill, which just happens to be part of the large estate at Bainbridge Hill owned by Arthur Patterson. He carries a secret that he finds himself unable to keep from the young woman who insinuates herself into his life, his domain, and without intent, into his heart.
A DANCE IN THE DARK by Karen Ranney is captivating, somewhat sad, yet sweet in its ugly duckling theme. Louisa believes herself to be ugly, not just unattractive, but actually ugly. She hears the snickers when she enters a room, the horrible insults launched at her back as she passes by, and knows that no man truly wants her for anything more than her extensive dowry. When she encounters the dark stranger who lives in a cave, keeps to the shadows but whose soothing voice and demeanor intrigues, and attracts her, she soon learns that there is more to a person than what is reflected in the mirror, or in others’ eyes. Douglas fears that trying to live in the world alongside those who are so different from him endangers all who cross his path. Soon he learns that whereas normal is a concept which all humans strive to obtain, no one is truly normal and he may be accepted for his differences more easily than he expects.
This dark, sweet novella about love overcoming diversity and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder will keep you enthralled from the beginning moments, when Louisa discovers the cave home of Douglas to the reveal of his dark secret, a lovely dance in the moonlight, and their eventual happily-ever-after. I highly recommend reading A DANCE IN THE DARK by Karen Ranney for any number of reasons listed above, but mostly because it’s just that good – in fact, I wish it had been longer.
Happy Reading Everyone!