The Courtship Dance
There can be a real comfort in familiar premises skillfully executed and that sums up my reaction to The Courtship Dance, the final installment in Candace Camp’s Matchmaker series.
Widowed Lady Francesca Haughston buries her loneliness by matchmaking for others. This time out, she plans to find a wife for her longtime friend and the man she devastated years earlier, the Duke of Rochford. It seems that she and the Duke were engaged until the youthful Francesca foolishly threw him over because she believed – falsely – that he had betrayed her.
After the breakup of her engagement to the Duke, Francesca suffered in an unhappy marriage and is understandably wary of the institution. Still, following the extremely familiar path readers will expect, Francesca loves the Duke and the Duke has always loved Francesca. So, while attempting to match him with younger – and she believes more suitable women – the courtship of the two older lovers begins.
Honestly, there are so few surprises here that writing a plot summary is difficult. There are eligible young girls, house parties, enjoyable conversations between Francesca and her duke, and a satisfying amount of sexual tension. But if you’ve ever previously read a European Historical Romance, then you’ve read it all before.
So, with nothing – and I really mean nothing – unexpected on the table, the pleasures here can be found in likable characters that are also well drawn, a pleasingly executed historical background (in other words, it doesn’t have an over-the-top wallpaper-y feel), and an enjoyable romance.
While certainly not one of the most exciting writers in the genre, Candace Camp is a talented craftswoman who can be counted on to deliver a good, solid book that’s well worth reading. I’m happy to say that she does it again here.