Review: ‘Dance Like You Mean It’, by Jeanne Skartsiaris

Published By: Black Opal Books

Publication Date: 11th February 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9781626945746

Format: Paperback

Price: £13.99

Blurb

What if you wrote a steamy, erotic novel that was so hot bookstores couldn’t keep it on their shelves? What if you couldn’t tell anyone you wrote it?

With a mundane life as a nurse, a husband who is grazing other fields, and a daughter of an impressionable age, Cassie checks her horoscope one morning just for kicks and notices an article about romance novels and how profitable publishing could be if one could spin a good tale.

She pens Wild Rose under a pseudonym and it flies to the top of the charts, is the talk of the town, and people are clamoring to know who the author is. What would her children think if they knew? Or her own mother, who ‘taught her better’, and, worse, her husband who’d thought she’d turned back into a virgin since they’d not had sex in so long. How could she be thrown into the spotlight and still be a good mom?

Wild Rose, Cassie’s caldron of prose, is woven through this story. Set it the 70s, it is the story of Rosemary, a beautiful photographer who wants to be recognized for her body of work, not her haunting beauty. Although, a modern women, she is as adventurous sexually as she is with her camera and beds men like candy…until she falls in love.

Both novels parallel each other as Cassie realizes Rosemary is not so different from her

My Review

A few months ago Jeanne emailed me to ask if I’d review her new book, Dance Like You Mean It. Given the synopsis I said yes, I’d review it at some point. I’ve finally got round to it. I had booked this book in for review next Wednesday, the 29th, but I enjoyed it so much, I had to review it straight away.

Cassie is a middle-aged supervisory nurse in an ER department, in Dallas. Her marriage has become strained, her kids are growing up and drifting away from her, and her job is beginning to get her down. An article in about a baker who became a bestseller catches her eye and, after some procrastination, tries to write a romance novel.

Her book becomes a run-away success, but, embarrassed that she’d written a steamy novel, Cassie hides behind her pen-name. At the same time, her marriage starts to break down and her eldest daughter is drugged by a classmate, who happens to be the son of Cassies’s colleague, Dr Novak. Then her mother is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Cassie’s world is falling apart.

Forced to full-fill contractual obligations to her agent and publisher, she finally faces up to the challenges and her confidence increases. It finally comes to a head in Dallas, where she’s recognised at a book-signing by ER colleagues.

The narrative of Cassie is intertwined with the story she writes about Rosemary. The reader sees the parallel narratives reflecting events in Cassie’s life. The writing is witty and engaging. I really enjoyed the characters and the difficulties Cassie faces in her marriage and as a parent. I really wanted to slap Dr Novak, the abusive git, and the death of Cassie’s mum made me blubber like a baby. Very effective writing. The plot twists kept me guessing, especially with the parallel narrative of ‘Wild Rose’.

I read this book in one sitting, I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to readers of romance or family drama novels.

4/5

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