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eBook Dancing with Clara ePub

eBook Dancing with Clara ePub

by Mary Balogh

  • ISBN: 0727845438
  • Category: Genre Fiction
  • Subcategory: Literature
  • Author: Mary Balogh
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers; First Edition edition (December 1, 1993)
  • Pages: 224
  • ePub book: 1537 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1537 kb
  • Other: txt docx lit lrf
  • Rating: 4.8
  • Votes: 929


Dancing with Clara book. This one was special to me.

Dancing with Clara book. Miss Clara Danford had no illusions about Fredrick Sullivan  . It really stood out with its sweetness, great characterizations, and deeply romantic romance.

File ra-by-mary-balogh. Original TitleDancing with Clara. 21. Author Biography. IdentifierMOBI-ASIN:B071SJJHFJ.

The Courting Julia Series. The Courting Julia Series.

Clara is not deceived for a moment, but she encourages him anyway as for once she wants to possess something beautiful in her life. Can Freddie ever be forgiven? Can he ever forgive himself? Can Clara ever trust his fragile love?

Clara is not deceived for a moment, but she encourages him anyway as for once she wants to possess something beautiful in her life. The path to love between these two after they marry is a rocky one. Freddie struggles to overcome his gambling addiction and his shame over the deception he perpetrated against Clara, and she struggles to overcome her physical handicaps and low self-esteem. Can Freddie ever be forgiven? Can he ever forgive himself? Can Clara ever trust his fragile love? Historical Romance Romance.

One of the best Regencies I've ever read! Published by Thriftbooks. However, Balogh is a wonderful writer. She has a gifted way of making the Regency period come alive.

Mary Balogh is the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Slightly . I've read all of Balogh's works

Mary Balogh is the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Slightly novels: Slightly Married, Slightly Wicked, Slightly Scandalous, Slightly Tempted, Slightly Sinful, and Slightly Dangerous, as well as the romances No Mana (TM)s Mistress, More than a Mistress, and One Night for Love. SOME SPOILERS I read Dancing with Clara for the first time years and years ago and have been anticipating the re-release in Kindle version for absolutely ages. Anticipating and dreading. I've read all of Balogh's works. I have other books I like more, and other favourite characters, but I don't think she has bettered Clara and Freddie as a couple.

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Miss Clara Danford has no illusions about Frederick Sullivan. She knew his handsome features had drawn scores of women but his gambling debts were staggering. She also knew he wished to wed her for her fortune, which would rescue him from ruin. So Clara must decide whether or not to gamble her one chance at a dazzling mate. Original Regency Romance.


Biaemi Biaemi
In the same way that the heroine of this 1994 Balogh reprint goes into her marriage to the sleazebag fortune-hunting hero with her eyes open to what he is and what he wants, the romance reader needs to go into the reading of this aware that it's not a typical feel-good Balogh love story. This is not a comfortable read. It's not a fun, happy read. It's not even very romantic. And I'm willing to bet that the hero's despicable behavior throughout the book is such a deal-breaker for most romance readers that they will hate him and perhaps may even hate the story itself. This ain't no fairy tale, folks, and there are no warm fuzzies to be found within the pages.

So why on earth do I like it? Because I love meaty romances with flawed characters and complexity and a certain amount of unpredictability in the plot. While I do NOT like infidelity on the part of either H or h, I accepted it here as part and parcel of this hero's extremely damaged personality.

I guess everybody knows the plot? Wheelchair-bound very plain but very wealthy heiress Clara Danford is wooed by very charming, handsome fortune hunter Freddie Sullivan (villain of the previous Balogh novel COURTING JULIA in this series). He needs her money desperately to pay off huge gambling debts and avoid debtor's prison. He pretends a deep attraction to her, assuming, I guess, that she'll be grateful for his attentions and believe him. She, on the other hand, is well aware of what's going on but is lonely, finds him to be beautiful, full of life, charming, and thinks 'Why not buy his companionship?' She's smart enough to consult her lawyer before the marriage to protect the bulk of her fortune from his fortune-seeking hands.

The rest of this story is to read, not talk about. You'll find that Freddie does have some admirable qualities. He does actually care about Clara and her feelings, is kind to her in her presence, and they actually find mutual pleasure in the marriage bed. But Freddie is too far gone in his self-loathing, self-destructive, addictive behavior for them to find an easy and immediate HEA. Matter of fact, it's up to the reader to decide if there is a real and true HEA at the end of this book. It ends somewhat abruptly and there is no epilogue. That's why I'm hoping for the re-release of TEMPTING HARRIET, the third book in this Sullivan series, where we will once again meet up with Clara and Freddie as secondary characters.

I found this to be an admirable though unusually realistic and dark story from Balogh. There are a few things, however, that keep it from being a 5-star read for me, none of them having to do with the H's rather horrendous behavior. My reservations about the story have to do with my inability to understand 1) *Why* is the hero the way he is? He has decent parents and other family members and a good relationship with them. What are the reasons he became so self-destructive and self-loathing? and 2) Why does the heroine show good gumption at the beginning of the story but turns into a bit of a passive, obedient and too forgiving wimp around the hero as the story progresses? Her late father, of course, whom I learned to dislike even more than I disliked the hero, is to blame for her passivity and her desire to please the men in her life, but she did start out the story so well that her backslide was somewhat unsatisfying and 3) Clara's disability is a bit of a cop-out. SPOILER, if you don't know already, is that there is no actual medical reason for her inability to walk. Blame it all on a horrid, overprotective daddy and on Clara, who never got up the gumption before Freddie appeared in her life, to try to rectify things. End of SPOILER.

This is well worth the read, even if you don't like it. From 1994, it's a relatively early work of Balogh's, who began releasing HRs in 1985 and whose SLIGHTLY series, my favorite, was released from 2003-2004. I haven't enjoyed many of her earlier stories, but this one goes into my list of worthwhile reads. YMMV, of course.
Alister Alister
I read Dancing with Clara for the first time years and years ago and have been anticipating the re-release in Kindle version for absolutely ages. Anticipating and dreading. Anticipating and dreading and puzzling about whether the reality would match my memories - good and bad.
One of the criticisms occasionally made of Balogh by other reviewers, and shared by me, is that her writing style is sometimes (but definitely not always) mannered in a way that it distracts from her story. And her characters sometimes internalise and internalise to the point of tedium. This is definitely not the case with Dancing with Clara, which flows along, with good pacing. It provides evidence of Balogh's writing at its talented best. Each of the main characters came alive for me and they did so quickly.
So was the anticipation worth it? Yes, very much so. I gained real pleasure as I became immersed in a story created by a writer who, even at the beginning of her career, knew what she was doing.
And yet, as mentioned, I also dreaded re-reading this book. That is because I have always remembered it as a HR that explored the seedy realities of living at that time with a dissolute, fortune-hunting rake. I can remember being horrified at my first reading, because the h, Freddie is, in many ways, a disgusting specimen. Because of him, there is much to this story that breaks many of the "unsaid" rules of HR writing.
Most of the time I read HRs as a flight from reality and they can blur, seldom leaving any real impression, let alone a lasting one. Dancing with Clara has, and continues to be one of the exceptions to that rule. Over the years, as I've thought about it (mainly when reading subsequent Balogh works) I've come to the conclusion that she used it to deliberately shock her readers into confronting the HR illusion that rakes were benign. (History shows they were instead the destroyers of tens of thousands of young women.)
I can remember thinking that Balogh must be bored with her story lines and needing to try something different. This re-read has confirmed my point of view and also confirms my anticipation of an out of ordinary read.
So was the dread justified? Yes and no. Even though I'd forgotten a few details of this work, it's remarkable how much I HAD remembered. And that made the re-read much less confronting. After all, it's impossible to replicate the shock of a first read. I kept remembering what was coming next. For example, I knew I would be most confronted by the scenes of Freddie's degradation after he meets again with his cousin, Julia (who he abducted and planned to rape in the previous book in this series) and is soon after castigated by an angry and jealous and condemnatory Clara (the h, and his wife). And I was mightily disturbed by these descriptions of Freddie's further slide into self-pitying creepiness. In fact, it was totally unnecessary, in my view, for Balogh to include detail of Freddie's worst behaviour. For example, the scene where he is rough with a young prostitute in a brothel is one I hated and I think that Balogh was unwise to include it. Balogh would undoubtedly disagree. I think she was calculated in doing so, seeing how far she could go and still bring her readers with her when she delivered the inevitable HEA.
On a more positive note, I'm fairly certain that in this version of the story Balogh has deleted some further lurid details about "streetwalkers".
Finally, I was puzzled about whether I would again be sufficiently intrigued by this story to feel confident I could recommend it to other readers. The answer to that query is yes. Why? Because it is an attempt by Balogh to explore the realities of a marriage based on lies and self-interest (on both sides), as well as Freddie's betrayal. It's also because it's well written. Furthermore, it's a relief to read a HR that isn't drivel about Almacks and clothes, or one that reduces the h and H to little more than their genitalia.
Moreover, Balogh has created two highly memorable characters in Clara and Freddie. Clara is a fascinating mix of passivity and passion. I continue to be impressed that she took one look at the stunningly gorgeous reprobate Freddie, saw through his lying smiles, knew him to be after her fortune and yet decided to buy him - couching her desires in terms of wanting his "vigour", but finally coming to realise that her feelings were driven, for the most part, by lust. I like that she didn't love him and that she became irritated and even petulant when he pretended to love her. I like the way her character developed as she came to love Freddie.
Furthermore, it seems totally consistent to me that, while Clara broke free in many ways, she would always "obey" Freddie's commands because her childhood had ingrained such behaviour deep in her psyche. Clara's many strengths included grit, honesty, loyalty and a ruthless capacity for self analysis. They allowed me to suspend belief about some aspects of this story - for example the rapid improvement in her mobility and her almost unbelievable capacity for forgiveness.
And Freddie? Clara "bought" him and she always knew it. Freddie was more self-deluded, thinking he has conned her. Foolishly, he pretended to love her - and dug an even deeper grave for his self-respect (and honour) when he realised Clara has never been deceived. His subsequent behaviour is so reprehensible and weak that this story could be a total failure. And yet it isn't.
Why? Because Freddie is so completely drawn by Balogh. He goes into the marriage deluding himself that his charm and exquisite looks and virility will keep Clara fooled - and that he can pay off his debts and regain his old life. But then he sees her as a person and can't help but be kind to and caring. Their honeymoon is full of kindness and - very importantly - genuine attempts by him to give her a better life. He is a considerate lover and he listens to Clara's small wants, encouraging her to "want" more.
He takes her up before him on his horse and walks it slowly through grounds on her property, to areas previously forbidden to her. In my view, this scene is not only heartwarming but truly romantic. Significantly, as soon as Clara agrees to marry him, Freddie refuses to allow disparaging remarks to be made about her. I also think that it's important that he very soon realises that Clara has been canny and has hidden most of her fortune from him in a false trust - and instead of railing against that he tells her she was right to do so.
That's not to say that Freddie isn't also a toad. His cruelty to Clara after she confronts him about Julia is harsh and soul-destroying - but, unlike the case with many HR heroes, it is soul-destroying for him, as well as Clara.
I think this is the reason why Freddie is so interesting as a HR hero. He IS so tortured by his behaviour. It is clear that this is a very different Freddie from the wry character at the beginning of the Julia story. His behaviour has deteriorated from run-of-the-mill hedonism and irresponsibility and promiscuity to much worse. Since the day he decided to abduct his cousin, solely to settle his gambling debts, he has crossed to a darker side. Even though he had not been able to go through with the plan and had turned back, Julia's contempt and hatred has sent him spiralling downwards and his behaviour towards Clara increases his self-contempt to a degree that overwhelms him.
In the end, Freddie exhibits all the behaviour of an addict. He genuinely loves his parents. He hates the ways in which he continually disappoints of his father, fears losing the unconditional love of his mother and is terrified they will learn of the abduction. He decides to reform, again and again, hating himself more with each failure.
He thinks he can control his gambling and "knows" he can control his drinking, and whoring, but learns he can control none of them. Absolution from Julia is his saviour, as is the realisation that he loves Clara, but he knows they won't be enough. That is why he makes his final shaky promise to Clara. He knows that his recovery from addiction will be a day by day proposition.
Their marriage began with lies, but Freddie now wants to start again, with absolute honesty this time - he knows he might fail. Luckily, Clara responds to Freddie with clearheadedness and extraordinary generosity of spirit - something she expects to need if he stumbles in the future.
I've read all of Balogh's works. I have other books I like more, and other favourite characters, but I don't think she has bettered Clara and Freddie as a couple.
Thankfully, the next book in this series, which focuses on Harriet, provides comfort in that regard, with scenes of a reformed, devoted Freddie and completely contented Clara. Its release is only a few weeks away.
ETA : I should add that the editing and formatting in this volume is exemplary. Amongst others, I complained about the errors in Courting Julia, when it was re-released in Kindle format. There are no reasons to complain with this edition.