THE OPERNBALL by Will W. Watson


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Fanfare, intrigue and a star-crossed romance collide in blustery Vienna in the late 1950s.

While on a skiing trip in Austria with best buddy Roger, an American teenager named Will receives an invite to the Opernball, an exclusive gala event staged at the newly refurbished Vienna Opera House. As an Air Force serviceman on leave, he’s got plenty of time to take advantage of this enticing offer while continuing his enthusiastic search for the ultimate soul mate: a respectable woman with “Old World romanticism.” Random exchanges with a few lustful ladies at a military dance don’t deter hopeless romantic Will and lanky goofball Roger from savoring the anticipation of the impending Opernball. Riding the coattails of a small group of elite Americans also in attendance, the pair arrives in style in a chauffeured taxi and formalwear and is undeniably thrilled by the jaw-dropping opulence of the festivities. Determined to meet “the girl of his dreams,” Will becomes enamored of young Hungarian debutante Natasha, who, alas, has been arranged to marry her cousin Wolf by her strict family. In true fairy-tale fashion, the fated couple is torn apart after an explosion rocks their romantic tryst in Paris, where Wolf surprisingly appears and reclaims his future wife. A chance reunion two decades later finds a mature Natasha working as a tour guide in Vienna, being blackmailed by Wolf in an espionage plot. Forced to divulge classified U.S. government secrets to the KGB, Natasha appeals to Will for help. Can Will, now an experienced intelligence officer, save his damsel in distress? Watson’s generic, by-the-numbers narrative is casually entertaining, though it’s glacially paced in some sections and hyperactive in others. A rousing conclusion ties up loose ends with a cloying sweetness, as our heart-of-gold military hero finally gets his girl.

An appealing character-driven distraction, nothing more.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4196-8340-4
Program: Kirkus Indie
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