Cover Image: What Happens in the Ballroom

What Happens in the Ballroom

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Member Reviews

This book was ok. The story kept me turning the pages but I don't think there is anything that I will remember about it. I will give the next book in the series a chance.
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Sabria Jeffries pens a great romance brewing between Foxstead and Eliza. All the angst of a new relationship and questions needing answers makes for a great read!
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What Happens in the Ballroom by Sabrina Jeffries is the second book in the Designing Debutantes Series, following A Duke for Diana. With Sabrina Jeffries' signature style, this book delivers a blend of steamy encounters, a touch of mystery, and characters who fit the classic Regency mold.

Our heroine, Eliza Pierce, is a young military widow who has achieved financial success and independence as part of Elegant Occasions, a party planning business. Her life takes an unexpected turn when Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead and her late husband's best friend—our hero—hires Elegant Occasions to assist another young widow in entering high society. As Eliza becomes entangled in Foxstead's family secrets, their undeniable attraction creates a complicated situation.

While What Happens in the Ballroom adheres to many traditional Regency romance tropes, it offers moments of understated humor and genuine sweetness. The groveling scene stands out as a highlight, and the portrayal of sisterly relationships in the story adds depth to the narrative. Although it may not break new ground in the Regency romance genre, it remains an enjoyable read for those in search of a lighthearted and steamy romance featuring well-defined characters.
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This was not really my favorite. I didn't feel like the main characters had much in the way of chemistry and I guessed the secret pretty early on and was frustrated that he didn't bite the bullet and have the necessary conversation. Overall, very much an OK read, nothing more nothing less.
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This book has romance and mystery!  I liked the main characters Eliza and Nathaniel and enjoyed their dialogue.  Overall a good read!
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Secrets are the bane of relationships and that is unfortunately what our hero is laden with. The second book in the series about 3 sisters who have overcome their parents notorious behavior by creating a successful business, Elegant Occasions. This book is about the middle sister, Eliza, a widow. She hates lies, deception and secrets, and has come to realize that her husband was not the man that she thought he was and has come out of mourning, stronger than ever. Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foisted, was her husband's best friend, but also knew what kind of man he was and was unfortunately the one who had to tell her about his death in combat. He is very attracted to her, but he has so many secrets that he is juggling. that he keeps messing things up between them. He comes to Elegant Occasions to help his ward Jocelin enter society. She was the daughter of this general and he made a death bed promise to help her. He introduces her as a widow with a young son. But this only the first lie that he has to tell. Soon he is buried in them. Is there any hope that he can trust Jocelin to tell her all his secrets? She will not tolerate anything but the full truth. 

Delightful characters, especially little Jimmy, lively banter, rich descriptions and a story that keeps you questing. The Phantom Fellow makes a few appearances and this time Verity isn't the only one to see him. But who is he and what does he want with Verity? Guess we will find out in the next book.

I read an ARC provided by the publisher via This is may unbiased and voluntary review.
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I usually love Sabrina Jeffries, but this one just didn't quite hit for me. Still a good read, and Eliza was a sympathetic heroine, but the first half of the book felt slow and I did not feel as much of a sense of connection with the eventual hero.
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DNF'd at 58%. Well written with interesting characters and potential plot twists. Unfortunately didn't work out for me very well. Maybe will resist at the future.
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Classic historical romance with a slice of mystery. It did take me awhile to warm up to our hero, he just didn’t come off as warm and in love like the description had me believe. He did grow on me and seeing their romance bloom was wonderful. I was guessing about the mystery and soon realized which always makes for fun reading for me. Great characters and great romance. Some parts did start to feel a little dragged out but once over that it picked up and I was hooked until the end.
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My first book of this author and I was hooked from the very beginning! I’m in awe of her writing, so emotional, so vivid. Her characters are real, living, breathing men and women and their banter is wonderful, witty and genuine at the same time. I loved how she mixed humor and angst in equal parts and I especially loved the heroine, Eliza, who’s smart, compassionate and willing to listen and forgive, but who has also learned not to be undervalued or put upon by any man. I also loved how the three sisters supported each other throughout the book and I’m determined to read all three book of the series (I know, I’m already reading it out of order, but my next will be the first, A Duke for Diana. Anyway, they make for good standalones!)
A mention of honor to the narrator of the audiobook: she is astounding!!!
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This book was lovely and I loved the set up, and the first book in the series was good but this was better and I can't wait for the next one
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I love Sabrina Jeffries and this one was a lot of fun! I enjoyed the first one so I pretty much knew this one would be a good one. I liked the two main characters and how each had an issue to get through to move forward. I can't wait to see how the next book goes with the other sister and the mystery ballroom man!
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This is the second book of the Designing Debutantes series, and my first book by this author. The book can be read as a standalone and was absolutely a delight to read and I will definitely be going back to read the first one. Eliza is part of Elegant Occasions, started by a trio of lovely, enterprising ladies who have taken up party planning in lieu of working as governesses. Eliza is a young military widow and is enjoying being part of Elegant Occasions. Her deceased husband's best friend, Nathaniel, is guardian to a young war widow and comes to Elegant Occasions for help with introducing her into society in hopes of finding her a husband. Eliza and Nathaniel are strongly attracted to each other, but Eliza senses there are some secrets being kept. Nathaniel has completely fallen for Eliza, but he is burdened by his family secret's. Despite the chemistry and attraction between them, their journey to love is a bumpy one, with many challenges to overcome.
The story was entertaining and well-written and I enjoyed the build up between the characters. The dialogue was fun and witty with some humor mixed in. Overall, an enjoyable read!
I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley and am voluntarily leaving my review.
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I liked this one, it was short and sweet and had all the elements I look for in a romance.  
It was an unusual storyline, one I hadn't really seen before.  It did get a little convoluted and confusing in the middle, which I think made it not read as smoothly as it could have.  

But it was good, and I look forward to the last installment!
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In the second installment of the captivating "Designing Debutantes" series, author Sabrina Jeffries introduces readers to the eldest Pierce sister, Eliza. The series revolves around the scandalous past of the three sisters, who, instead of retreating from society, choose to become event planners, introducing young ladies into the high society circle. Eliza, a young widow at 27, is content with her independence and involvement in the family business, Elegant Occasions.

The story takes an intriguing turn when Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead and her late husband's best friend, seeks the services of Elegant Occasions to assist his ward, a young widow herself, in navigating the complexities of society. Eliza finds herself drawn to Nathaniel, and a flirtatious connection ensues, teetering on the edge of society's acceptable boundaries.

While the book has moments of predictable elements, it shines with its delightful portrayal of the heroine, Eliza, as a strong, independent woman, unafraid to explore her desires. Sabrina Jeffries masterfully crafts characters with depth and charm, and readers will find themselves engrossed in the interactions between the leads.

However, the novel is not without its flaws. Some readers may find issue with the extensive dialogues that dominate the pages without significant events occurring. Additionally, Nathaniel's penchant for keeping secrets, even at the risk of endangering Eliza and her sisters' livelihoods, may be difficult for some readers to overlook.

Nonetheless, the chemistry between Eliza and Nathaniel is palpable, adding charm and wit to the narrative. Jeffries' signature style of smart and independent heroines, combined with reluctant heroes, makes the story engaging and enjoyable. The absence of a damsel in distress or a featherbrained heroine allows readers to relate to the characters and immerse themselves in the unfolding romance.

"What Happens in the Ballroom" is an easy and entertaining read, perfect for those seeking a lighthearted Regency romance. It offers the perfect blend of humor, steam, and storytelling, making it an excellent choice for readers looking for a delightful escape. While it may not be a deeply emotional or angsty tale, the book provides an enjoyable experience, suitable as a palate cleanser or a brief respite from more intense historical romances.

In conclusion, this is a delightful addition to the series, showcasing the transformative power of love, redemption, and the importance of trust in a relationship. Fans of historical romance will undoubtedly find themselves enthralled by the playful banter, steamy romance, and endearing characters in this entertaining tale of secrets, society, and second chances.

thank you to netgalley and Kensington books for the ARC.
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What Happens In The Ballroom is book two of the Designing Debutantes series but could be read as a stand-alone (it does set up book three). Nathaniel brings his ward, Jocelin to Eliza and her sisters wanting them to introduce her to society and find a husband for the young mother. Nathaniel and Eliza are attracted to each but will their budding affair survive Nathaniel’s secrets. 
What I liked: I really liked this one and felt like the characters were engaging. 

If you read book one, you see a glimpse of Diana and her husband. 

Eliza isn’t sure she wants to remarry after seeing her parents’ unhappy union and her own first marriage. Her coming around to the idea was thought out. 

What didn’t work for me: I wish Nathaniel had confessed the secret a little earlier in the book. His motive for bringing Jocelin to the sisters seemed weak. 

Eliza and Nathaniel’s first sexual encounter seemed a bit random for the time period. 

Who should read it: historical romance fans this was cute and because Eliza was a widow, there’s no innocent virgin act.
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Eliza is a war widow enjoying her freedom, and working with her sisters to run Elegant Occasions, a party planning service.  When her husband's friend, the Nathan Stanton, Earl of Foxstead shows up on her doorstep with his ward in tow, Eliza is immediately wary.  

It takes awhile for the characters'  secrets to be revealed;  the first half of the book sets the scene,  and introduces the slow burn between Eliza and Nathan.  The book picked up in the second half as Nathan's secrets are revealed, and he and Eliza must come to terms.

I can't wait for youngest sister Verity's story!  The first two in the series have definitely been appetizers.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I didn't like the book that much....
This is the second book in the Designing Debutantes series. It stands alone fairly well, although the origins of the sisters’ business begin in the first book.

This book was a little dry for me. The characters already had an attraction to each other but, for me, there wasn’t quite enough development of their relationship. I did think the story improved a bit in the last third as all the secrets were finally revealed and the male character is little dolt but female character have strong personality which I like most.
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I think Sabrina Jeffries writes fantastic historical romance, and this one was no different! The characters were great, and I look forward to the next book. Overall, I would definitely recommend!

I received an e-ARC from the publisher.
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Wonderful story! Eliza helps run Elegant Occasions with her sisters and her late husband’s friend, Nathaniel, asks for help with his ward, Jocelyn. However, he harbors a few secrets and they cause a lot of strife with his romance with Eliza.

Jeffries writes such great stories and this is no different. I love this series and can not wait to uncover who Verity’s Phantom mystery man is!

Thanks to the publisher for a review copy via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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