Book Review Club ~ April 2011

While pressed for time, I don’t want to miss this month’s Book Review Club, so I am reviewing a book that I haven’t yet finished.  However, I’m liking it so much that I have no doubt I will greatly enjoy the pages I have left.  The book that’s encouraged me to jump the gun?

VIENNA WALTZ by Teresa Grant
(Isn’t the cover divine?)

Back of the book summary:  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. . .

This book is fascinating on two separate levels.  On the one hand, it is an eminently readable lesson in history, with a great many real historical figures featuring as characters in the novel.  On the other, the author-created characters have been given such detailed and mysterious personal histories that they bring the story completely alive.  Each time a hint is dropped about these characters’ pasts, my curiosity is further piqued, and I’m frantic to keep reading, to discover the mysteries, the secrets, the intrigue!

The husband and wife team, neither of which are historical figures, themselves have a very curious relationship.  You get the impression that theirs was a marriage of convenience…and yet it’s not.  Deeper feelings are lurking beneath the surface on both sides, but everyone is keeping secrets…

With the historical figures taking such prominent roles, I’ve been inspired to look them up so that I can picture them in my mind as I’m reading (even through the descriptions are superb)…  All hotties, right?

Metternich (Austria)
Talleyrand (France)

I’m not yet sure what role Franz Schubert will play, but I’m anxious to get back to it.  I will let you know…

Tsar Alexander I (Russia)
Franz Schubert

[portraits via Wikipedia]
For other, no doubt complete, reviews, head over to Barrie Summy’s blog for a varied list!

Posted in book review club on 04/06/2011 07:00 am


  1. Sarah Laurence

    It sounds like a fun genre blender. I especially like how the wife suspects an affair between the victim and her husband – good twist. Since I don't like spoilers, not finishing before a review is fine.

  2. Green Girl in Wisconsin

    Ooooh…sounds like a good summer read!

  3. This one sounds like great fun..I love and adore historical fiction!! Putting this one on my list right now!!

    * On a side note- I love all things Austen too so I'm looking forward to hearing more about your upcoming book!!!!

  4. pattinase (abbott)

    Perfect book for an upcoming trip.

  5. Teenage Bride

    I want to frame the cover and hang it on my wall haha

  6. Thanks for fitting in a review when your life is so busy, Alyssa. And how interesting to have actual historical characters in this book!

  7. David Cranmer

    I'm getting more and more into historical set stories of various genres. This one sounds very intriguing, Alyssa.

  8. As a fan of mysteries and of history, this book sounds like a winner! I always like it, too, when actual historical figures play a role in a novel.

  9. Alyssa Goodnight

    Yes, Sarah, the wife's suspicions have definitely amped up the tension!

    You won't be disappointed, Green Girl!

    Hey Staci, this is a really good one. (And on a personal note, I'm hoping to be able to share my cover soon.) :)

    Enjoy it, Patti!

    I know, Jill, I know!

    Rose, Barrie, and David, the true-to-life aspect of this story makes it even more interesting that it would have been otherwise.

    And, David, I like the new profile pic! You look so cool! 😉

  10. I don't read many mysteries but that one sounds great!

  11. Ellen Booraem

    Oooh, this sounds wonderful. I'm a longtime Georgette Heyer fan, and especially loved it when she mixed in real historical events, such as the Battle of Waterloo. This sounds like it's right up my alley!

    Thanks for letting me know about it…sorry I was so late making the rounds. Hope the book's conclusion was satisfying!

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