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on 30 January 2007
This is the follow-up to "The Perfect Rake" following the same family of five sisters, this time focusing on the twin called Hope. Although there are occasional references to the events in "The Perfect Rake" it isn't necessary to have read that book to understand this one - however the details of the difficulties that the five girls (Prudence, Charity, Hope, Faith and Grace) experienced growing up with their evil grandfather are spelled out in that book and only alluded to in this.

Hope is at the start of her second season. Her two elder sisters Prudence and Charity are happily married and she and her twin Faith are meeting various men at balls and parties etc, but none of them quite hit the mark. Then she catches sight of someone who rather reminds her of her evil grandfather - a strong and muscular man. Despite this initial negative connotation she finds herself interested in Reyne. He asks to waltz with her and although not a comfortable dance, and in no way living up to her ideal of the perfect waltz, she is intrigued by him.

Sebastian is courting Lady Elinore, a prudish woman who has been on the shelf for years and is several years older than him. He's not courting Lady Elinore for his own means but because he needs a mother for his younger sisters who had been taken away from him when they were young and have only just been found after over a decade of being missing. Sebastian doesn't know in detail what happened to the girls in this time but Cassie wears a knife strapped to her leg and Dorie doesn't speak at all. Sebastian needs someone who can help look after the girls as governesses are being hopeless. He knows that Lady Elinore is involved in a charity school for orphans and thinks she's just the ticket.

Unfortunately for him he sees Hope Merrivale at a ball and from that moment he's smitten. Not enough to deflect him from his strange courtship of Lady Elinore, but he is unable to keep away entirely from Hope and keeps spending time with her. He thinks she's a young woman who has no concept of the difficulties his sisters have had and therefore can't help them - he doesn't know the Merrivale sisters' difficult past.

There aren't any great surprises in this book. Hope has to learn to trust a man again, Sebastian has to understand the true needs of his sisters, Lady Elinore has to throw off the shackles of her unconventional and life-crushing upbringing and Sebastian's friend Giles has to learn to look beyond a woman's outward appearance to discover a genuine women beneath. The twin love stories in this book are gently written and the characters are engaging. My only reservations are that Sebastian seems remarkably mercenary about Lady Elinore and that he also seems very blinkered about what would be good for his sisters; equally, Hope doesn't seem to see anything wrong with riding roughshod over someone else's strongly-held beliefs about teaching the children in her care. Their attraction seems largely physical for the first half of the book, although once they get to know each other you can understand more why they suit.

This is an enjoyable book and a definite step up from a lot of the mass-market paperback regencies. It's not aiming to be a historically accurate work like Georgette Heyer but it's an enjoyable read.
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on 9 February 2006
Anne Gracie is a new author to me and a real find! Her books are definately keepers!
The perfect Waltz is so well written you very quickly bond with the characters and want to know what happens next.The lead male character is Sebastian Reyne, a secretive, complex man with a past. He is an interesting character, he cares deeply for his sisters and is willing to make personal sacrifices to ensure their happiness. He falls passionately in love with Hope, but rejects her and his own chance for happiness, because of his sisters. Hope is attracted by Sebastian and chance events keep throwing them together.She does not consider him to be her dream man however, as he evokes too many unhappy memories of another time.
The story has all the elements of a good Regency romance, but it is the depth of the writing and the way that Gracie as a writer involves us and makes us care about her characters, that is the strength of the book. I read this book first ,although it is the second in the series and it didn`t spoil my enjoyment.However, I do recommend that you read the books in sequence, as her first book, The Perfect Rake, ia equally as good, and many of the characters are in both books. I can`t wait to find out what happens to Faith in the next story, I hope it will be published soon.
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VINE VOICEon 17 July 2007
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
This was my second Anne Gracie book and I bought the whole of the "Perfect" series.
I really enjoyed this book and getting to know more of the character of Hope.
I found even though she is described as absolutely gorgeous etc she was really down to earth and very likable. As well was Sebastian was a wonderful strong alpha-male who loved his sisters dearly and wants to do whats best for them, in the process not having the women he loves.
If you like this author and have read The Perfect Rake I would definately buy this and read the whole series of the books.
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on 26 November 2015
This book came highly recommended and it did not disappoint. This is the second book in the Merridew Series with the first book being The Perfect Rake (Merridew Series Book 1). The series is based upon the Merridew sisters whose parents passed when they were young, leaving them with a very cruel grandfather. Some of the parts are a bit difficult to read.

In this book, the sisters have escaped their harsh background and live with their kind granduncle, Oswald, in London. Hope and Faith are twins - mirror images of one another and although Faith does have a gentleman who interests her in this book, Hope is the primary character along with our hero - Sebastian Treyne - the man who, once he has caught sight of her, will never be the same.

Sebastian has left his very busy life - he's the owner of several mills - to come to London to find a wife who will be able to help him raise his two young sisters who have had a very troublesome past. In fact the youngest will not speak. Sebastian is a widower - having been married once before in a marriage of convenience. Sebastian is big and strong and has a no nonsense approach to life. It's obvious he's had some strong disillusionments in his life, the facts of which are revealed throughout the course of the book. Again, some of the specifics aren't easy to digest. Yet, the old adage that "what doesn't kill you will make you stronger" could be appropriately applied to the person he's become. His practical approach to life results in him being able to focus on the woman he came to London to meet and marry - that being the mousy, Lady Elinore, who seems to fit his idea of what he wants in a wife.

Once Sebastian gets a glimpse of Hope Merridew, he's simply entranced, pure and simple. Try as he might to continually court Elinore and stay away from Hope, it's simply impossible. Thankfully, he's got his good friend, Giles, to be his backup for Lady Elinore which results in a truly remarkable secondary romantic side story. Although Sebastian assumes Hope and her sisters are the same old spoiled, shallow young ladies predominant among the ton, he's in for a big surprise as he begins to see the depth of character in Hope.

I loved Hope's bright outlook on life and her determination to try and not allow her past to blight her future. Dark, foreboding Sebastian needs the light Hope has inside to brighten his life and eventually he does begin to realize there is a better way to live than he's thought possible. His young sisters have a backstory of their own, both being tough nuts to crack as they take steps toward their wholeness. Again, Hope is instrumental in helping lift them out of the pit of their dark background and sad memories of their past.

I really did enjoy this book. For the Merridew fans, the book ends with the girls all getting together for a kind of catchup on the lives of Prudence and Charity and their families.
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on 24 February 2013
This is the second in the Merridew series and my second Anne Gracie novel. I realize she is rapidly becong one of my favorite historical romance authors - alongside Lisa Kleypas. The first book was amazing but this one was better. All characters are well rounded, the plot is perfectly paced, and there is more to the story than just a handsome man and a beautiful woman. It's about family, fears, and the fact that not all is what it seems at first glance. We get to know the Merridew family better, and they are so utterly like able, not too perfect but warm, deep and supporting. And still the book had heaps and heaps of romance and pulling of heart strings to satisfy an historical romance fan. If you like Lisa Kleypas you won't be disappointed with the Merridew series!
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on 5 September 2007
I am only five chapters in but so fare so good, and if it's anything like (the Perfect Rake) then it has to be brilliant, definitely for all the romantics out there.
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on 3 April 2007
I have to say that this wasn't my favourite annie gracie book. I had already read The Perfect Rake and it would be one of my favourite books that I would read over again and again but this time I found this book booring a bit at times and it didn't have the balance of laughter and dealing with difficulties that the perfect rake had. I much preferred the way the characters in Prudence's story were given and felt that maybe this story wasn't as in depth and not full of vibrancy that the Perfect Rake had. Still this is a very readable book but would recommend the Prudence's story as the one to start you off loving Annie Gracie books.
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on 18 December 2011
I have all the Merridew Sisters books in paper, and revisit them often. Storing them on kindle now for when I want a fun and feelgood read with characters I'd love to be friends with.
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on 28 February 2014
I love books from Anne Gracie - they are all great. Sometimes I just want to read them again and are still interesting.
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on 24 May 2013
have bought all of her books since reading this series, have also passed them onto friends to read, easy reading
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