5 Things You Should Know About "Dance For A Dead Princess"
1. Dance for a Dead Princess is the English translation of the French composer Maurice Ravel’s piano solo, Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte. He later made an orchestral version, transcribing its ravishing and haunting melody into an unforgettable French horn solo. In Dance, Nicholas Carey is bitter towards his father, the Seventeenth Duke, because Christopher Carey forced Nicholas to leave his concert pianist mother and come to England at age fourteen after his older half-brother died. Nicholas didn’t want to be a duke. He wanted to follow in his mother’s footsteps. Now, haunted by the loss of his beloved mother, his adored wife, and his close friend, Princess Diana, Nicholas sits up late into the night playing the Pavane to ease his heartbreak. Taylor, who doesn’t like Nicholas at the beginning of the book, only begins to soften toward him as she listens to his music.
2. Dance for A Dead Princess is based upon a historical fact. In January 1997, Princess Diana received a phone call telling her she would be assassinated. She made a video tape naming the person on the call and gave it to a close friend in America for safekeeping. It has never been found.
3. Dance for a Dead Princess is really two complete love stories and two complete mysteries in one book. The stories have important parallels. Thomas Carey, who became the first duke near the end of his life, was the son of a well-to-do and ambitious sheep farmer from the village of Burnham in Kent. He sent his son Thomas to Henry VIII’s court to be trained as a knight. Eventually Thomas and Henry would fall in love with heiress Elizabeth Howell; and Henry would circulate rumors Thomas murdered his wife to be free to seek Elizabeth’s hand. Similarly, Deborah Downing’s death under mysterious circumstances at the Abbey in 1994 and the coroner’s inquest led to gossip Nicholas was responsible. That gossip reaches new heights when his ward Lucy is found dead on a night when Nicholas has no alibi and when Taylor has just discovered
Nicholas cannot sell the Abbey as long as Lucy is alive.
4. Hever Castle, the ancestral home of Anne Boleyn, was the model for Burnham Abbey. Hever is now a bed and breakfast.
5. My favorite scene in the book is the one in which Nicholas comes to Taylor’s hotel to comfort her after her former fiancé, Chris Hunter, invites her to dinner only to tell her he is marrying a younger lawyer at their firm in just a few weeks. Nicholas brings muffins and coffee to a very heart broken and hung-over Taylor and persuades her to spend the day shopping with him and seeing the sights of London. He reminds her, “The women in my life, particularly Diana, had a knack for getting their hearts broken. I’m the steady shoulder to cry on.”
He takes her to Garrads, the famous London crown jewelers, to pick out a gift for his girlfriend, the American actress, Ami Hendria. Ami is furious with Nicholas because he is neglecting her for Taylor. Nicholas tells Taylor that Diana always helped him pick out peace offerings for his girlfriends and shows her the Carey family tiara that Deborah wore on their wedding day. When Taylor refuses to try it on, Nicholas observes she is the only woman in the world who would say no to that offer.
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Genre – Contemporary Romance, Mystery
Rating – G
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