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Learning to Waltz -- Kerryn Reid

 

Learning to Waltz -- Regency Historical from Hartwood Publishing 

Deborah Moore has learned her lessons well–feel nothing, reveal less, and trust no one. Now widowed with a child of her own, she leads a lonely, cloistered existence, counting her farthings and thinking she is safe. When five-year-old Julian is lost one bitter December day, she discovers how tenuous that safety is.

Evan Haverfield has lived thirty carefree years, hunting, laughing, and dancing among London’s high society. His biggest problem has been finding excuses not to marry. But his life changes when he finds Julian Moore half-frozen under a hedge and carries him home to his mother. The young widow hides behind a mask, hard and reserved, but Evan sees glimpses of another woman, wistful, intelligent, and passionate. She’s vulnerable, desirable—and completely unsuitable for the heir to Northridge.

Alone in the earliest hours of a new year, Evan teaches Deborah to waltz. Can he teach her joy and laughter? Will love sweep away the shadows of her past and reveal the luminous woman she could be?

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awards -- Kerryn Reid

2014 CHATELAINE AWARD

FIRST PLACE Regency -- 2014 Chatelaine Awards for Romance Fiction sponsored by Chanticleer Book Reviews

   
The Romance Review

Top Pick at The Romance Reviews, April 2015

FINALIST -- RomCon's 2014 Reader's Crown contest

FINALIST -- 2013 Beau Monde Royal Ascot Regency Contest

Reviews

Reid’s stirring and intelligent novel... defies typical Regency stereotypes by centering its action far from the glittering salons of London and concerning itself more extensively on the small-scale dynamics between its two main characters... Reid excels at the slow, careful picture of two complex personalities fitfully learning each other’s nature. The tensions and issues of the historical backdrop are drawn with more vividness and well-researched detail than is usually the case in more standard Regency romances, but it is the convincingly-drawn characters who are the main attraction of this extremely promising debut.
Historical Novel Society

"If you’re looking for a tender, emotional, almost innocent love story between two people who have no business being together, you’re in for a treat... LEARNING TO WALTZ is romance at its sweetest, with no need for extravagant storylines, eroticism or paranormal elements. The hero and heroine are true, honest people who deserve each other and deserve the happiness their love brings."
Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind

"I adored this book! It is absolutely beautifully written... a gentle love story between two people, but also a story of family love and values...​Reminiscent of Jane Austen, but with more modern dialogue, situations, characters, and interactions... I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars... I can’t wait to read it again. I highly recommend it to lovers of historical romance. A real gem!"
Online Book Club

It’s a pleasure, and a rarity, to find a new Regency author with such a strong voice: in-depth characterizations, wrenching emotions, detailed descriptions, and an excellent grasp of the period. Kerryn Reid has it all.
Blair Bancroft (www.blairbancroft.com)

Stunning… I was caught in the first few pages and couldn't sleep till I finished it… The author weaves a delightfully suspenseful tale that kept me on the edge of my seat. You felt for the characters, all of them not just the heroine. I gave this book Five Stars and wanted more. I love, absolutely love Regency and thought I knew all the tales by heart but this one is different.
The Romance Reviews

In Learning to Waltz, Kerryn Reid has written the perfect historical romantic novel. Readers are taken on a beautiful journey of family and love, feeling the pain and hoping for a happy ever after ending. Flawless… I loved this book from the first page and was a captive reader till the very end. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough… This is a sure fire winner; do not pass it by. --Readers’ Favorite 

LEARNING TO WALTZ is an engrossing novel with tension that keeps the reader frantically turning the pages. By not trying to make either her characters or their time too "pretty," author Kerryn Reid creates a truly beautiful and moving experience. I'm very much looking forward to her next novel. -- Carrie Ann Lahain  

Excerpt

“Julian!” She tried to call out, but had no breath to carry the sound. God, please let this be a nightmare. She had plenty of experience with those.

The lane stretched longer with each gasp, each stumbling step. She would never reach Whately. The stitch in her side tore her ribs apart. Her skirts were wet to the thighs, tangling themselves around her knees and ankles. Her old boots, soaked and broken, scooped up dirt and pebbles from the road, making her stagger. Thankfully, her feet were numb—her bare hands, too, torn by snags and brambles. Not that it mattered. If she didn’t find Julian, nothing would matter.

Just a couple of hours ago Deborah had sent her maid to fetch some eggs from the dairy, farther out this same road. The weather was cold and blustery, but Julian had begged to go along and she gave in, bundling him into his coat and sturdy shoes, chiding him for his fidgets as she smoothed the mittens over his hands. He was bound to lose at least one of them. What a trivial, stupid thing to worry about. Oh, why did I let him go?

Molly and the eggs had come home. Julian had not.

“Oh, ma’am, I didn’t know what else to do! We looked all over, me and John, but couldn’t find any sign of ’im at all. John went back to the farm to see if maybe he went back there, and I come on home to get you.”

Deborah had snatched her woolen cloak from its peg by the kitchen door, knotting it around her neck as they flew out the back gate.

“I’m so sorry, ma’am, I could die,” Molly blubbered. “John was—we were—”

Deborah could just imagine. Molly, only fourteen, had been sweet on the dairyman’s son for months. “It doesn’t matter now.” Later, if they found him, would be time enough for anger.

Molly had stopped, her chest heaving and one hand pressed to her side. “This here’s about where I saw ’im last. One o’ the dogs followed us from the farm an’ they was playing with a stick. He was right there, an’ then I—”

“Julian!” Deborah had called, then whipped around and called again. Ran on a bit and called again, and again. All the way to the farm they ran. No news of him there, though some of the men were still searching the area.

Molly was spent, gasping and sobbing. “Go on inside and get warm,” Deborah told her, “then get John to walk you home. And by heaven, keep your eyes open on the way!”

It had been raining when she left the farm, a frigid wind-blown drizzle that glazed the leaves and grasses. She’d pushed through a stand of trees to the river, called, and called again. Julian loved the river, especially in rough weather like today when it seemed twice the stream it really was, tumbling and shouting. Even screaming as loud as she could, she could hardly hear her own voice.

Slipping on the muddy bank, she’d sloshed up to her knees and bashed her leg against a rock. Julian was not much taller than her knees. There were rocks everywhere. It was so easy to slip, and if he did, it would be his head…

It was that image that drove her now. Back toward the village she ran, lungs burning and legs like wood. The squire’s estate lay clear on the other side. He could organize a search so easily. If he would. Surely he would? She cut across a field, tripped and fell, got up and ran some more.

He was not at home. She must have looked a fright, because the footman answered her desperate query without hesitation.

“He was to meet with some men at the inn, ma’am. You might look for him there. If you’ll wait—”

But she was off, running again. Another half mile, needles of rain mixing with her tears. She stopped before turning into the high street, pressed against the stone wall of Whately’s bakery. The smell of yeast made her nauseous.

She could not run like a rabid dog through the village—would not beg Squire Reston for help looking like a madwoman. Her breath rasping in her throat, she adjusted her cloak and wrapped it tight to hide the state of her gown, pulled up her hood and tucked her hair inside it with hands she couldn’t feel.

She squeezed her eyes shut, dug her teeth into her lower lip, and forced her face to stillness. When her breathing no longer sounded like a death rattle, she pushed herself away from the wall. Her knees tried to buckle but she commanded them to carry her around the corner. She could see the inn sign, so familiar. Just yesterday, Julian had stopped for the hundredth time to exclaim over the painted boar that ran across it. Not so far away…

 

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