Dancing at the Chance by DeAnna Cameron
Author: DeAnna Cameron
Genre: Fiction (Historical / New York City / 1900s / Vaudeville / Romance)
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley Trade (4/3/2012)
Source: The author
Rating: Okay to liked.
Did I finish?: I did, on one lazy Saturday.
One-sentence summary: An orphaned vaudeville dancer struggles to keep her love, career, and home in 1907 New York City.
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction, Immigrant Stories
Do I like the cover?: I do -- it's pretty, and despite the eye-less model, an unusual layout for a historical novel cover.
First line: For a full half hour the stage manager sat on a stool near the footlights, his fingers curled on the hooked head of his cane, silently watching the vaudeville players at morning rehearsal.
Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow for a fun, easy, beach-y historical fiction read.
Why did I get this book?: I love vaudeville and that world and I couldn't resist a historical novel set there!
Review: This is an easy, predictable, and fun historical novel set in New York City in the early 1900s. The book follows Pepper MacClair, an orphan and dancer at a dying vaudeville theater, and her colleagues there: stagehands, retired acts, other dancers, and the theater owner's son. From the arrival of the theater owner's son, it's obvious what the triangle and drama is meant to be, but there's some satisfaction in the story unfolding as anticipated.
The romance wasn't particularly sweeping but it was sweet. The secondary characters had darkly plotted backgrounds and were quite interesting, and I rather liked everyone. Fans of Moulin Rouge will like this, I think, even though it's a different place and era -- it has a similar feel.
Cameron's writing is easy and effortless, and I would have loved this novel to be double the length, if only for more of Cameron's fascinating world of vaudeville. Although my copy was more than 330 pages, the margins and font size felt rather huge, and I felt a little rushed through Pepper's life. She's got a complicated back story, and her friends at the theater have their own fascinating secrets -- I wanted more!
For those who prefer 'clean' reads, I think this might work -- I think some sex is implied in the past, but the romance that happens on the pages is limited to sweet kisses. For a summer afternoon, this is a fun treat; easy to dip in and out of as your weekend demands, but engrossing enough to make you forget yourself for a few hours!
*** *** ***
To celebrate the back-to-back releases of DANCING AT THE CHANCE and the reissue of THE BELLY DANCER, weekly prizes & a grand prize of a Kindle or Nook (winner's choice) are up for grabs on the author's website. Visit www.DeAnnaCameron.com and follow the contest link for details.