Wednesday, February 18, 2015

REVIEW: Dance for a Dead Princess

Title: Dance for a Dead Princess
Author: Deborah Hawkins
Series: N/A
Pages: 300
Date Published: September 2, 2013
Publisher: Deborah Hawkins
Format: Kindle
Genre: Romantic Fiction
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

The people Nicholas Carey has loved are all ghosts: his mother, the world-famous concert pianist; his wife, Deborah, the most beautiful woman in England; and Diana, Princess of Wales, his most trusted friend and confident. How many nights has he spent talking to Diana about his marriage, about her marriage, about his guilt over Deborah, and about the impossibility of being in love? Too many to count. He aches to tell Diana how empty his life has become without her and without Deborah, but he can do nothing to bring them back. Yet he can expose Diana’s killer. Taylor Collins, a Wall Street lawyer, has the tape Diana made naming her assassin, and he is determined to get it..

Taylor does not want to spend Christmas at Burnham Abbey overseeing the sale of the Carey’s ancestral home to her client, an American school for girls. Nicholas Carey, the Eighteenth Duke of Burnham, holder of a five-hundred-year-old title, is a spoiled selfish international financier; and Taylor would far rather be in New York, pursuing her high-powered legal career and hoping her fiancĂ©, who left her at the alter months earlier, will return.

But night after night, Taylor hears Nicholas at the piano playing the haunting pavane for all the lost princesses in his life because his broken heart will not let him sleep. By day, she reads the tragic love story of Thomas, the First Duke, knight and liegeman to Henry VIII, who founded the Carey family but who never recovered from the loss of his beloved wife. Just as Taylor realizes Thomas’s unmeasurable capacity to love is hidden beneath Nicholas’s shallow public facade, Lucy, Nicholas’s mysterious ward, turns up dead. Taylor’s heart is stretched to its limits as she searches for the truth about Nicholas and comes face to face with Diana’s assassins.

~My Thoughts~
Wow. What a cool concept. I'm not going to lie, it's one of the most original ideas I've come across in a good long while. The romance genre in particular tends to fall into familiar stories and tropes, simply because romance readers like those things. They like the boss and secretary, they like the friends to lovers idea. They like the rehabilitated bad boy. While these are great, the similarity tends to be a bit overwhelming. So when something new and different like this book comes along, romantic readers sit up and take notice! 

While I'm not sure why American women love to obsess over the British Royal Family, I can't help but to admit that I do it too. I attended a royal wedding party in my pajamas with my girlfriends. I attempted to emulate Kate's wedding dress and sense of style in many of my own style choices. I was too young when Diana died to really be drastically affected by it, but it did bother me and I remember staring at a picture of her for a long time, wondering at how she could be gone. 

This book takes real life people, and imagines what life is or could be like of them. There's a strange historical context that I'm just barely old enough to remember (though not particularly clearly) and it makes me wonder just what is real and what is part of the story that Deborah made up? That's one of the marks of a great writer if you ask me! 

Dance for a Dead Princess is a very captivating, high energy romance with mystery intertwined in every page. While much of the story revolves around the who love interests, calling it simply a romance just won't do. Taylor and Nicholas were great characters in their own rights. Both had weaknesses and flaws that drove me crazy, both had passions and drives that drew each other towards one another. Overall a great read if you love anything to do with romance, history, or just a great mystery! 
~Try an Excerpt!~
Conference rooms are all the same.  As are airports.  On a cold, wet, mid-November afternoon, His Grace, the Eighteenth Duke of Burnham,  decided that those who thought running the Burnham Trust was a glamorous job should go from London to Paris to Brussels to New York seeing only conference rooms and airports.  He was now trapped in one of the beastly things on the twenty-eighth floor of the Manhattan offices of Craig, Lewis, and Weller, studying the deepening early twilight through the sheets of glass that formed the walls.  His mood was as black as the coming night.       

He looked down the nine-foot glossy mahogany conference table and wondered why it took five lawyers to sell a house to a girls’ school.  And why weren’t any of them the one he wanted to see?  His operative had named Taylor Collins, a partner in the Craig, Lewis real estate section, as was the one likely to know where Diana’s tape was.  He bet she looked at least forty-five and was twenty pounds overweight.  And probably chain smoked and had a face like a bulldog.  He didn’t look forward to dealing with her. 

The massive, dark mahogany door to the conference room opened, and another female suit stepped inside.  A pair of eyes the color of spring violets were fixed on him.  Very like Diana’s eyes, but deeper.

“My partner, Taylor Collins, Your Grace.”

His heart was racing so fast, he had difficulty speaking; so he merely nodded in response.   He  wondered what color La Perlas she was wearing, but he longed for more than sex.  He desperately craved the impossible:  time alone and the chance to know who she was beneath the lawyer facade. 
~Meet Deborah!~ 
Deborah grew up in the South, wrote her first novel at the of age thirteen, and has been writing ever since. In graduate school, she studied Irish Literature and came to believe all Irishmen and Southerners are born storytellers. In addition to writing, she loves music and plays the clarinet. Now that her children are grown, she devotes her time to law, music, writing, and her two Golden Retrievers, Melody and Rhythm.

Deborah taught college English and worked as a technical editor before going to law school. She worked for several large East Cost firms before coming to California in the mid-1980's where she developed a solo practice as an appellate attorney while raising her three children as a single parent. She is admitted to the bar in two states and the District of Columbia, is a certified appellate specialist, and has a Master of Laws in addition to a Masters in English. She believes that even a legal case always begins with a story.  Her second novel, Ride Your Heart ‘Til It Breaks is expected to be out in December 2014.
A $25 Amazon or B&N Gift card will be given to a randomly chosen commenter and $25 Amazon or B&N Gift card will be given to a randomly chosen host. You can also find Deborah on her blog.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I agree, very original. I love that.

  2. Thanks for hosting and I am so glad that you liked Dance For A Dead Princess. Did you have a favorite scene? Mine is the one where Taylor wakes up with the terrible hangover after learning her ex-fiance is marrying another woman. Nicholas takes her to Garrad's to buy jewelry for his supposed girlfriend, Ami. They seem to human to me in that scene and I can picture Nicholas with Diana under similar circumstances. The People's Princess had her heart broken too many times.

  3. Enjoyed reading your review and the excerpt. Sounds like a fantastic story.

  4. Definitely a unique story! Thanks for the review and excerpt!