Cover Image: What Happens in the Ballroom

What Happens in the Ballroom

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Member Reviews

The Designing Debutantes series is back, featuring Eliza, the eldest sister, and Nathanial, Lord Foxstead who's held a special place in his heart for Eliza.  He's never voiced his intentions since she's become a widow. Nathanial tries desperately but fails miserably to resist her after he hires Elegant Occasions to sponsor his ward. 

What Happens in the Ballroom is a quick read full of witty banter between the love interests.  This book is the perfect read for lovers of this genre.  Look forward to the next installment. 

Thank you Kensington for the complimentary copy.
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A delightful romance with subtle intrigue to keep you glued to the page. I truly love the Harper sisters, they stand out from the usual regency heroines in their ambition. Running a business is not the norm of this age and yet they pull it off with grace and style. Eliza proved to be an immensely strong woman who knew how to push back. This made her an incredibly enjoyable heroine. Everyone knows a reformed rake makes the best husbands and that’s precisely what Nathaniel is. Despite everything he did always strive to be the best man for her. I cannot wait for Verity’s story, and to finally solve the mystery of the Phantom Fellow.
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Eliza Pierce is enjoying her life, having gained financial success with her business ‘Elegant Occasions’, together with her sisters. After the death of her military husband, his best friend, Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, approaches her and her business, to help Jocelin, a young widow of an officer, become part of high society. Yet Eliza begins to wonder about their relationship and whether it is as platonic as he suggests and if Jocelin’s son, is actually his own child. However, whenever they are together, Nathaniel and Eliza are unable to keep their attraction hidden. What is stopping them from finding happiness, is the secrets that Nathaniel is hiding from her.
Once again, Jeffries presents a strong minded woman, who is charge of her future, once she has the financial means to do so. Together with her sisters, Eliza knows what she wants in life, and won’t let a man cloud her judgement. However, I did admire Nat for his determination to protect Jocelin. An easy read with plenty of engaging dialogue between the couple and many of the secondary characters.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I am smitten with Nathaniel. He now belongs to my list of favorite Sabrina heroes – Marcus, Daniel, Giles, David, Dom and now Nathaniel. What I love about Sabrina’s stories is all of the dialog. I love loads of dialog. I laughed out loud at some of the banter. I felt so sorry for Eliza. She was just living her life and wham everything hit her. She is strong and I love that about her. There are loads of secrets that do eventually come out and I did not guess all of them. Very nice, Sabrina. These two made me feel like old friends conversing with me. The last story was a little slow in parts but this one was just how fast can I turn the pages kind of story. Amazingly good.
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Such an enjoyable read! I love having a new Sabrina Jeffries book on my Kindle because I know I’m in for a good time. And I definitely had a good—nay, a great—time with this one. 

Eliza is a widow who has soured on marriage after her husband, handsome and charismatic though he was, proved to be a dissolute disappointment. Using her brain and with the help of her sisters, she creates for herself a life of freedom, and I couldn’t help but admire her strength. She holds her own against her Nathaniel, and to see them go toe-to-toe is a lot of fun. 

There’s also a touch of intrigue about this book—Nathaniel’s keeping secrets, not to mention Elegant Occasions’ mystery guest—which adds an edge to that fun. When coupled with the steam rising from some of Eliza and her Earl’s most fraught moments, it makes for a book that’s very hard to put down. 

Brilliantly written, with a heroine who is no damsel in distress in need of a rescue and a hero who makes mistakes but ultimately rights his wrongs (and who cares for those around him), What Happens in the Ballroom completely charmed me.
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This is a wonderful addition to Sabrina Jeffries lovers’ libraries. With a sweet, secretive love story that will charm you beginning to end. I found this to be a classic story that floats all romance novel boats.
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It's complicated...

Nathaniel's friend Samuel was married to Eliza, but he died in the war. 
Nathaniel is filled to the brim with secrets, one very, very obvious one that involves Eliza, unbeknownst to her. Yet, he blithely embroils her in a scheme to launch his ward Jocelin into society. He is a ninnyhead who constantly puts Jocelin before Eliza, Eliza is capable, kind, caring and very talented, yet she is continually betrayed by men, her father., husband and by Nathaniel. Repeatedly. 

Yet, i liked the story (its get complicated with the family ties). because Eliza is great and though Nathaniel is not the brightest bulb (he believes the things Eliza's husband told him and never wavers from that) and is not rational in the least, he's at least a well intended lunkhead. 
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I received a copy of this title from the publisher, but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  What Happens in the Ballroom is the second title to feature the Harper sisters who run Elegant Occasions, which is a party planning business.  Eliza  Pierce married young and her husband died fighting Napolean.  His friend Nathaniel has always been attracted to Eliza and it is clear that her husband wasn't the wasn't the best.  Nathaniel needs Eliza and her business to help find a husband for his widowed "ward" Jocelin.  She's the daughter of the general that both Nathaniel and Samuel served under.  There is an underlying secret surrounding Jocelin and Nate is desperate to find her a new husband before the secret is exposed.  Eliza at first suspects that Nate may have been involved with Jocelin given his rakish past reputation but comes to realize that the only woman he is interested in is her.  The secret was slowly revealed and had an interesting twist that I didn't see coming.  I liked the banter between Eliza and Nate and  found their romance to be well done.  I'm looking forward to the final book in the series featuring Verity and the mysterious man who she hasn't been able to catch.
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Most of the issue's with this relationship are down to the fact Nathaniel told a lot of lies and while he felt he had a genuine reason for this it did cause most of the problems between the two. There is a feeling of attraction from the start however there was not a great deal of development in the relationship but there is lots of humour and banter between the two which is entertaining and well written. Overall it felt like a light hearted and fun story. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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4.5 Stars
Military widow Eliza Pierce is enjoying her freedom and financial success as part of Elegant Occasions. But when her late husband's best friend, Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, hires her to help Jocelyn, another young widow become part of high society, she can't help but wonder why. His explanation of honouring her father’s dying words don't seem to tell the whole story. Nathaniel's family situation makes it difficult for him to marry, so his attraction to Eliza is an unwelcome complication. Burdened by family secrets and those of his commanding officer, Nathaniel is determined not to be distracted, but the fetching Eliza keeps tempting him to break his own rules.
Eliza is the second of the three sisters to find love. A very well written book with strong characters, the author is just so good at portraying characters of depth. I loved Nathaniel & Eliza’s journey to a HEA but Nathaniel has quite a few secrets & as they were gradually revealed the trust between the couple was put to the test. I loved the chemistry between the couple & how they enjoyed spending time together. The secondary characters were also well portrayed & of course Jimmy was an absolute delight. I look forward to Verity’s story
My review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
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The charming and flirty dialogue effectively offsets the tension created by the potentially devastating secrets and self-doubt.

Eliza Pierce and her two sisters built Elegant Occasions from the ground up after Eliza’s husband died in the war and left her with nothing. Nathaniel Stanton, Earl of Foxstead and her husband’s best friend, wants to hire the trio to help a war widow under Nathaniel’s care find a husband. Jocelyn makes googly-eyes at Nathaniel and her young son adores him, leaving Eliza to wonder what the truth about their relationship is. Nathaniel can’t keep his eyes (and hands) off Eliza and Eliza is ready to explore this attraction, but there may be too many secrets that could upset everything. 

Nathaniel had some skeletons in his own closet and he was also keeping secrets surrounding Jocelyn and her son. So while his feelings for Eliza were very real, their interactions were always clouded by the things he refused to share with her. Eliza realized that he was being cagey, and she didn’t put up with that for long. I loved how she consistently stood up for herself, against her father as well, despite the fact that her late husband had planted a bunch of doubts about herself in her mind. Nathaniel was very self-aware about his faults and he felt that he didn’t deserve Eliza. His playful nature brought Eliza out of her serious shell. I loved the moments when they gave in to their attraction. Their flirting positively sizzled.

Both characters went through growth and changes and had to learn to be more open with each other. The mystery about Jocelyn had me in knots too and I devoured the book fairly quickly. I was eager to know everything and to see Eliza and Nathaniel together. 

This book is part of a series about the three sisters, but it stands well on its own too. The first book does an excellent job of explaining the start-up of Elegant Occasions and you don’t want to miss that. I can highly recommend this book if you like steamy historical romance with a strong female lead.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I loved this book so much, I have read another series by Sabrina Jeffries and for me, she can write such big secrets in her stories, that even though we are curious and I'm a big thriller fan I could not see all of them, so I was really surprised, and that it is a great feeling. The female lead is a widower, which is not the most common either, so it was great for her to rediscover love, and consider marriage again, and also we have several feminist remarks about women and how much they can suffer in that society.
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Thanks #NetGalley for the advanced copy of #WhatHappensintheBallroom by Sabrina Jeffries in exchange for an honest review.

Wow - what a great book. I have to admit I love a retired soldier story and this one gave lots of what I love about those stories so that was an added bonus. Sabrina Jeffries writes stories that are fun and easy to read. Her characters are likable even when they are making bad decisions too. The secret was a little easy to figure out but that didn't lessen my enjoyment of the book. Looking forward to more of this series and more by this author.
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3.5 stars

This was sweet, and classic Sabrina Jeffries. While I haven't read the first installment in the Designing Debutantes series, I found Eliza's story in What Happens in the Ballroom to be quite enjoyable.

I was hesitant at first, as I often find romances where secrets are obviously being kept to be tedious and often frustrating. However, I could understand both Eliza's and Nathaniel's motivations given their backstories, and why certain secrets were kept. Ultimately, the revelation of those secrets was also done quite well and added further understanding to the story instead of detracting from it, or being useless tension. 

The banter and courting in this book was sweet, and I love reading about a heroine in regency times that is doing well for herself, and isn't afraid to go after what she wants and live how she wants to live (even if sometimes it is a bit historically inaccurate).

What Happens in the Ballroom is set to be published March 28, 2023. Thank you to Kensington Books, Zebra, NetGalley and the author for the advanced copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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One of the things I love about reading is that I can still come across an author who has apparently written over fifty books in one of my favourite genres and I have not read one of them. Well I have now and I can safely say there will be more to come!

What Happens in the Ballroom is a Regency Romance about a group of sisters who have their own business helping prospective debutantes make themselves successful. The first book which I have not yet read featured Diana and this one centres around Eliza who is a war widow. The object of her affections is Nathaniel, formerly a close friend of the departed husband.

Of course the path of true love is not easy and Nathaniel in particular causes some major obstacles along the way. There is a lot of humour and banter between the two which is entertaining and well written. This is a light hearted and enjoyable read and I recommend it to fans of the genre.
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Actual rating: 2.5⭐

This is one of those books that I didn't actually like, but didn't dislike either simply because it felt familiar. I've read this book before. These characters are not new to me. The plot twists didn't surprise me. The romance didn't floor me. The only slightly innovative part about this book was Eliza - a regency woman - actually owning and running a successful business.

👎 What I Disliked 👎

Characters: Nathaniel and Eliza are our two main characters. And they are perfectly okay. They don't offend anyone. But they certainly didn't thrill me either. Because they are basically stock characters. Especially Nathaniel. I have encountered him a million times before. He didn't bring anything new to the table. On the contrary, he felt a bit wooden to me.

Cliché: If there is one cliché I am fed up with in romance books it is secret-keeping. Yes, it is a realistic scenario. It could certainly happen in real life. But lets be honest, we all know how it's going to pan out in a romance novel. The truth is gonna come out and it is going to cause a rift between the main couple. This was no different.

Sam: Eliza is a widow. Her late husband, Sam, was one of Nathaniel's friends. But it is almost as if Sam isn't actually dead. Because Eliza and Nathaniel keep bringing him up, over and over again. Pretty much every time they have an encounter, Sam is brought up. Even when they are about to get it on, Eliza feels like this is the perfect time to start talking about Sam. Whenever he made an appearance, all romance was sucked out of the encounter for me. It ruined the chemistry and the romance between Eliza and Nathaniel in my opinion.
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What Happens in the Ballroom by Sabrina Jeffries is the second novel in the Designing Debutantes Series.  Eliza and her sisters run Elegant Occasions in a time when running a business was not a done thing. However they help put together parties and people. Each sister has their own area that she runs.  Elegant Occasions allows them each to survive. Eliza is a widow after losing her husband in the war.  

Nathaniel Stanton came to Elegant Occasions in hopes that they could help his ward find a good match. This is a situation the sisters take on however Nathaniel is reluctant to let them.  Not that he doesn’t really trust them, but more because there is a secret he is not willing to share AND Eliza.  Yup.  He has found himself quite interested in Eliza and she with him.  Secrets however are not a way to begin or carry on a relationship and this secret is a humdinger.  

I love how Nathaniel really wants the best for his ward and for Eliza.  I love how strong Eliza and her sisters are.  What I didn’t like were the secrets and Eliza’s father!   However the secrets were such great revelations and allowed the story to have some twists! What Happens in the Ballroom by Sabrina Jeffries was a great read!
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This is my first Sabrina Jeffries but certainly not the last
There is nothing I didn't like, the characters are incredible, the chemistry, the dialogues and the plot kept me hooked until the end
I really liked how the sisters found a way to survive in society and earn a respectable place despite the actions of their parents and even more so that they did not have to solve all the conflicts and mysteries that, although they are relevant and work as a hook, do not change the perfect ending of the book
Eliza and her sisters have a business where they organize events, help young people to enter society and find an ideal partner
When her late husband's best friend shows up with a young widow and enlists the help of her and her sisters to help her find a husband, Eliza is left wondering so many questions 
Who is this woman to Nathaniel? why are he is so worried for her well being? And she begins to understand that everything she thought she knew about him may not be true, especially after discovering all the lies and tricks of her late husband after his dead
I did not expect the story to hook me so much, I stayed attached to the pages waiting to see what happened next between Eliza and Nathaniel, and it keep me  rooting for them
Thanks to Sabrina Jeffries and Kensington Books Zebra for give me a copy of this beautiful book in exchange for my honest and voluntary opinion
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Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead is a man with a lot of responsibilities and a lot of secrets.  After returning from the war and mourning the death of his mother, Nate needs to fulfill a deathbed promise he made to his commanding officer.  A promise to see the man’s daughter, Jocelin, and her young son Jimmy taken care of, but to do that he will need help, so he turns to Mrs. Eliza Pierce, widow of his friend Samuel and co-owner of Elegant Occasions.  Nathaniel has always thought Eliza is beautiful, but she seems even more so now and she is gracious when he reveals that he is the reason her husband ran off to war.  The more time he spends with her, the more he wants, unfortunately, his secrets make it impossible to marry her right now, but he hopes Eliza will be able to help Jocelin find a husband so he can complete his promise to Jocelin’s father and then court Eliza and convince her to give marriage another try.

One husband was more than enough as far as Eliza is concerned, she is happy working behind the scenes of the business she and her two sisters started.  When Nathaniel asks for her help launching his ward, she is happy to help the young widow but wonders about the relationship between Jocelin and Nathaniel, especially in relation to Jocelin’s young son.  Nathaniel assures her that there is nothing going on, nor has there ever been anything between them.  Eliza urges him to stay away from Jocelin, as it is clear the young woman has deeper feelings for him, and when Jocelin approaches them, Nathaniel pulls Eliza into a toe-curling kiss that Nathaniel says is for confirmation (that’s his story and he’s sticking to it).  Upon seeing Jocelin’s reaction, he agrees to stay away but is more determined than ever to win Eliza.  Eliza finds herself considering marriage again, but when she learns one of Nathaniel’s secrets from a third party, will she still be willing to trust him with her heart?  

As always, Ms. Jeffries’s writing is impeccable and her characters are not only easy to relate to, they are easy to like.  This book gives the eldest Harper sister a long overdue HEA with a man that has even more secrets than Geoffrey from the previous book did!  I wanted to like this book more than I did, but I just had a hard time justifying Nathaniel’s deception to protect his secrets.  I kept thinking, if he can’t trust her, how can he love her?  Anyway, the book still delivered a great story with likable characters, a cute toddler, LOTS of secrets, some surprising twists, warm love scenes, familiar recurring characters, delightful new characters, more than one romance, and a sweet HEA complete with an epilogue.  This is the second book in the series, but it can definitely be read as a standalone title.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*
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I just love the sisters.  They had such terrible parents and they have made something great of their lives.  Eliza is a young widow and when Nathaniel, her husband's friend, comes to her to help another young widow find a husband, she is glad to help.  Nathaniel has been holding back a lot of information and if Eliza finds out, she will never want to see him again.  There are so many revelations and Eliza isn't sure that she can take it all in.  She and Nathaniel have grown closer, but can she make a life with a man who deceives her?  Her husband lied to her constantly and she wants complete honesty from Nathaniel.  Will he give it to her?  He holds secrets that are not his and isn't sure he can tell Eliza everything.  Can he trust her enough not to tell all of the secrets?  He has to trust  her or they can't have a life together.
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