Review: Vienna Waltz by Teresa Grant
Author: Teresa Grant
Book: Vienna Waltz
Release: April 1, 2011
Source: My bookshelf
Purchase: Amazon-Book Depository
Nothing is fair in love and war. . .
Europe’s elite have gathered at the glittering Congress of Vienna–princes, ambassadors, the Russian tsar–all negotiating the fate of the continent by day and pursuing pleasure by night. Until Princess Tatiana, the most beautiful and talked about woman in Vienna, is found murdered during an ill-timed rendezvous with three of her most powerful conquests. . .
Suzanne Rannoch has tried to ignore rumors that her new husband, Malcolm, has also been tempted by Tatiana. As a protégé of France’s Prince Talleyrand and attaché for Britain’s Lord Castlereagh, Malcolm sets out to investigate the murder and must enlist Suzanne’s special skills and knowledge if he is to succeed. As a complex dance between husband and wife in the search for the truth ensues, no one’s secrets are safe, and the future of Europe may hang in the balance. . .
Vienna Waltz is another one of the books I purchased during my visit to NYC for BEA….what? I really didn’t buy THAT many books and no airport or airline officials were bribed in order to get me out of the overweight luggage fee *puts on innocent face*.
You see, I had to get this book as it came highly recommended by not one, not two, not three but by four of my very favorite authors – Tasha Alexander, Lauren Willig, Deanna Raybourn and C.S Harris. You must realize that a book like that could not be missed. Really, I could just end the review here – why would anyone need more than these four recommendations? But i just really want to share how much I enjoyed Vienna waltz.
First of all, I love the setting – the Congress of Vienna of 1814 – this is the first time I’ve read a book that focuses on the events of the congress and Teresa Grant re-creates it beautifully. The pomp, the ceremony, the anticipation… I just adore books that mix fictional characters with well known figures from the era – especially when it is done with Ms. Grant’s attention to detail and historical accuracy.
Then there is the simply sumptuous mystery – well known and well connected Princess Tatiana is found dead with no less than three high-level participants of the congress (including one Tsar of all the Russias) as possible suspects in her murder. Also on the suspect list – one Malcolm Rannoch, a diplomat in the British delegation who is found hovering over the body by his wife Suzanne. He says he’s innocent and before they have a chance to discuss the matter further they are interrupted.
Now Malcolm Rannoch is tasked with finding the killer, together with Suzanne while Suzanne is left wondering if her husband is in fact as innocent as he says and she needs to deal with Malcolm’s obvious feelings for the now deceased Tatiana. Meanwhile, the congress needs to continue smoothly, diplomacy can’t be interrupted and there are plenty of people who would prefer it if Tatiana’s death (and life) remained a mystery.
This couple…wow. Malcolm and Suzanne just make the pages sizzle. There is so much tension going on there, you just want to lock them in a room together and tell them to get it all out in the open. Ms. Grant keeps the tension at just the right place while also giving us glimpses into the couples past, their feelings for each other and their family.
A strong supporting cast that doesn’t overshadow the main plots means that like a well orchestrated dance – the story flows beautifully to its grand finale. Vienna Waltz is fast paced, beautifully written and – there’s a bit of a surprise….
Reading Vienna Waltz I constantly had this feeling like I have met these characters before and could not for the life of me remember why. When I finished the book I did what any normal person does – google the author, book, and anything remotely related in order to get more information.
That’s when I discovered that I am familiar with these characters as I had previously read Secrets of a Lady by Tracy Grant (thanks to Day’s recommendation). Yes, Tracy and Teresa are the very same person and Charles and Melanie are in fact Malcolm and Suzanne. A publisher change means that Tracy became Teresa and, well, you get it… So, Vienna Waltz is actually a kind of prequel to Secrets of a Lady and the other Charles and Melanie books – I would definitely recommend visiting Teresa Grant’s website FAQ before reading Vienna Waltz in order to get the reading order and background info.
So, basically what this book choice has taught me is: When a book is recommended by 4 of your favorite authors the only question you should be asking yourself is: Why haven’t I read it yet?