When I heard Rachel Van Dyken had a new book coming out, I was ecstatic. Always a fan of her novels, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Whispered Music, the second in her London Fairy Tales series (my review of book one Upon A Midnight Dream is here). So, after a quick download from B&N, also known as my mecca, I promptly sat down and began reading this fun and new take on Beauty and the Beast by the master of character development herself. From Goodreads:
Scarred at a young age, Dominique Maksylov, Royal Prince of Russia, has lived a reclusive life. As a musical prodigy, his music has wide reach into the world, but few ever see his face. He never ventures into polite society, but when he dis-covers he is the only heir to the Earldom of Harriss, he goes to one ball. And that one ball, was enough to change the direction of his life forever.
But how could he possibly have known that other person— the other half of his whole—would not only need his help but threaten his very existence?
She didn’t know how hard it would be to love the broken.
Isabelle Hartwell’s mother just sold her to the Beast of Russia. He’s mean, temperamental, and the most virile, handsome man she has ever encountered. But he has a secret, one he’s willing to die for and he refuses to let anyone in. Will she be able to reach his heart before it’s too late?
You know how sometimes when you read a character driven story you can just tell that the author totally fell in love with his or her characters based simply on the way said characters are written? That totally happened in Whispered Music. Van Dyken’s connection with Dominique and Isabelle is so strong and added so much to this story allowing me as a reader to just connect on an entirely different level than I would have normally. Dominique is definitely Van Dyken’s darkest and most troubled hero to date. Whispered Music is the seventh of her novels I’ve read and trust me when I tell you – Van Dyken does dark and brooding better than anyone. Her heroines shouldn’t be forgotten either – nobody pushes these women around. Isabelle matches Dominique in wits with each tete-a-tete the two share. She reveals that she’ll be a formidable foe for him early on in the novel when he tries to dominate her with his abrupt and rude manner. His surprise at her nonchalant and unabashed reactions to him both excite him and scare him. They excite him because he knows his time with her will be anything but boring and scare him because she may just be the person that touches his heart.
I cannot recommend reading this book enough. I know I say this in each of my reviews of Van Dyken’s works, but she honestly grows leaps and bounds with each new book she comes out with. She raises her own standards with each new dark and complex character she creates. I try to consistently share her books with friends and push her works out there because I truly believe she is a name to follow in the world of historical romances. She rates in my top five favorite romance authors along with Tessa Dare, Eloisa James, Marie Force, and Lauren Royal. These five women know what it takes to write a romance that just makes your heart swoon. Add Van Dyken’s novels to your to-read piles if you haven’t already – I’m serious. Go. Now. Do it.
5 out of 5 Stars
This is my forty-first completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge
Whispered Music by Rachel Van Dyken
Astraea Press (2012)
eBook: 234 pages