A Waltz at Midnight
by Crista McHugh
Published February 27, 2012 by Carina Press
When her mistress receives an utterly unromantic letter from a potential suitor, servant Susanna Parkwell is asked to craft an appropriate response. Though hesitant to take part in the deception, Susanna agrees, never dreaming the scorned suitor will write back.
Theodore Blakely abhors being pressured by his family to marry, but he's intrigued by the witty refusal he receives from "Charlotte". After exchanging more letters, Ted believes he's found a soul mate in his thoughtful and understanding correspondent, and asks permission to formally court her.
Though racked with guilt over her lies, Susanna can't resist the opportunity to meet Ted in person. So she poses as Charlotte at a holiday ball, where she vows to tell him the truth. But when the clock strikes midnight, will Susanna have the courage to reveal her identity and risk losing the man she loves?
For a complete review which may contain SPOILERS, please click 'Read More' below:
Susanna and her brother are living in their Aunt's boarding house in New York after the conclusion of the Civil War and her brother's injuries at its hands. Of course, they must pay their way and that is how Susanna finds herself as a maid of all work. When one of the boarding students receives a less than impressive letter from a potential suitor, Susanna is convinced to take matters into her own hands - by writing a suitable rebuff. What starts out as her doing a favor, soon turns into her masquerading as someone else as the letters fly fast and furious between "Charlotte" and Theodore.
For his part, Theodore is doing his duty by his pestering family and settling on someone to marry. It isn't a love match by any means, but all he needs is a girl of good breeding to help him carry on the family name. Imagine his surprise when he finds this girl is also full of wisdom, fire, and passion - through her increasingly open letters.
The deception must come to an end sometime, but not before Susanna takes one more turn at being Charlotte. The masked ball is her only chance to see the man she has fallen in love with in person and she promises herself she will reveal all to him before the night is through.
Will Theodore forgive her her misrepresentation and take a chance at love?
Although short, this story packed a strong emotional punch. The way the beginning chapters are dominated by Susanna and Theodore's letters to one another is the perfect backdrop for their love to unfold. By the time the ball arrives, you are filled with both hope and trepidation - you want Susanna to get her fairy tale ending with her handsome prince.