Book 10: Dance of Desire

TITLE: Dance of Desire
AUTHOR: Catherine Kean
STARTED: March 2, 2007
FINISHED: March 8, 2007
PAGES: 442
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: "I do not like this wretched scheme, milady."

SUMMARY: [From] Desperate to save her brother Rudd from being condemned as a traitor, Lady Rexana Villeaux must dance in disguise at a feast for the High Sheriff of Warringham. Her goal is to distract him so her servant can steal a damning missive from the sheriff’s solar. Dressed in the gauzy costume of a desert courtesan, dancing with all the passion and sensuality in her soul, she succeeds in her mission. And, at the same time, condemns herself.

Fane Linford, the banished son of an English earl, joined King Richard’s crusade only to find himself a captive in a hellish eastern prison. He survived the years of torment, it’s rumored, because of the love of a Saracen courtesan.

Richard has promised Fane an English bride, yet he desires only one woman - the exotic dancer who tempted him. Then he discovers the dancer’s identity. And learns her brother is in his dungeon, accused of plotting against the throne. It is more temptation than Fane can resist.

The last thing Rexana wants is marriage to the dark and brooding Sheriff of Warringham. But her brother is his prisoner, and there may be only one way to save him. Taking the greatest chance of her life, Rexana becomes the sheriff’s bride.

REASON FOR READING: I like anything involving middle eastern stuff or belly dancing.

THOUGHTS: For a book involving two things I tend to love no matter what (belly dancing and the middle ages), I was underwhelmed. While I could get over the plot and characters being cookie cutter, what I could not avoid was asking myself "But why?" every other page. Kean, while her writing is half-way decent, seems to have left out every piece of motivation needed to make this story get off the ground.

Fane, our hero, decides from the moment he sees Rexana that he loves her and wants to marry her. While I'm fine and happy with love at first sight, this was just stupid. There was absolutely no emotion or logical motivation behind this plot device. For me, Fane was all but saying "Durrr... I want woman." It was all lust. Nothing else. I just wish the author had conceded that it was lust that drove Fane as a character.

Rexana plays the TSTL to a tee. The woman just runs in and out of scenes like a chicken with its head cut off. "Help me," she seems to say. "I'm doing this out of kindness and loyalty to my 15-year old brother, despite the fact that no reason behind my blind devotion is given." I just wanted to smack the characters around and tell them to grow a brain.

Then, the random plot devices that just felt cobbled together with twine and paper clips are wrapped up with a bow at the end. Boring.

The saving grace of this book was the writing. I liked it. I didn't love it. But at least I didn't choke on the purple prose.

MISCELLANEOUS: I miss my bellydancing classes.

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Already back on PBS.
RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]