Dancing in the Wind by Mary Jo Putney (Audiobook) – Narrated by William Kirby

dancingwind

Like his nickname, Lucifer, Lord Strathmore is know for unearthly beauty and diabolical cleverness. A tragic past has driven Lucien to use his formidable talents to protect his country from hidden enemies. It’s a job he does superbly well—until he meets a mysterious woman whose skill at deception is the equal of his own. By turns glamorous and subdued, his enchanting adversary baffles his mind even as she dazzles his senses.

A perilous mission has forced Kit Travers into a deadly gave of shifting identities and needful lies, where a single misstep might cost Kit her life. But her disguises are easily penetrated by the Earl of Strathmore, who may be a vital ally—or a lethal enemy.

Unwilling to trust, yet unable to part, Kit and Lucien join forces to search the dangerous underside of London society. Yet even two master deceivers cannot escape passion’s sensual web—or from an impossible love more precious than life itself.

Rating: Narration D- Content B-

Some of Mary Jo Putney’s books have been available in audio format for a number of years, but the author has recently begun self-publishing some of her back catalogue in audio format.

So far, she has released books one and two (or three, depending on which listing you read!) in her Fallen Angels series – Thunder and Roses and Dancing on the Wind, and the standalone book, The Bargain, which is a personal favourite in print. Each title has used a different, unknown narrator, and although I haven’t listened to Thunder and Roses, I have listened to the other two and find myself sadly unable to recommend either of them because the performances are very disappointing.

The story of Dancing on the Wind is an intriguing mix of espionage, romance and mystery, laced with a bit of the (IMO, rather silly) paranormal. The hero, Lucien Fairchild, Earl of Strathmore has, for a number of years, worked for British intelligence, and at the beginning of the story is attempting to infiltrate a group of men known as the “Hellions Club”, a society dedicated to the pursuit of debauchery of all kinds – because he believes that one member of their inner circle is a French spy.

While he is engaged in proving to the Hellions that he’s worthy of initiation into the group, Lucien comes into contact on several occasions with a mysterious young woman masquerading as, variously, a servant, a buxom barmaid, an actress and a courtesan. Not a man to be easily swayed by female charms, Lucien is nonetheless intrigued by the woman, and becomes more and more determined to find out who she is and what she’s up to. After several encounters, she realises that Lucien is nothing if not persistent, and eventually discloses something of the truth; that she is in fact the radical journalist L.J. Knight who has penned a number of reformist articles for London newspapers. She is also writing an exposé of the Hellions Club, following claims that they are far more depraved than the original Hellfire Club, and that they are involved in kidnap, torture and murder.

That, however, is not the whole story. Lady Katherine (Kit) Travers is an extremely determined young woman, who, for the last few months, been living a double life. Her identical twin sister, Kira (Kristine) – who is a celebrated comic actress – has disappeared, and Kit is desperate to find her. Reasoning that the best way to learn about Kira’s life is to actually live it, Kit spends her time either pretending to be Kira on stage, or in disguise, investigating her sister’s disappearance. She suspects that one of the members of the Hellion Club is responsible, and being unable to find anyone to take her concerns seriously, has taken the investigation into her own hands.

The story is quite complex, especially in the first half, when Lucien isn’t quite sure which of the two sisters he is pursuing or falling for; and there are some rather odd “interludes” which have a definite S&M bent – that seem at first to be dreams or memories of Kit’s – although as the story develops, it emerges that is not the case.

I wasn’t convinced by the slightly supernatural nature of the connection between the sisters. I know people often say that twins have more than a sixth sense when it comes to their sibling, but the psychic connection between Kat and Kira and their ability to experience each other’s dreams was a little too far-fetched for my taste.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals

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