Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dancing at the Chance by DeAnna Cameron

Title: Dancing at the Chance
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 and follow the contest link for details.


  1. I am excited for this book. I have had The Belly Dancer on my book shelf for so long and I can't wait to read that one too. I like that there is an interesting profession for the characters and the covers are both gorgeous.

    1. Read The Belly Dancer first, as I think this one references them casually (not in a spoiler way, more in a fan-ish way, I think) -- I definitely wanted this one to be longer!

  2. What I love about this book is that it has a unique setting - vaudeville. That's what I love most about historical fiction, is being taken to places and eras and into situations we cannot possibly be exposed to. This on certainly fits the bill.

    1. I know -- it's really a novel for anyone who loved Moulin Rouge (not the same era, I know, but that same feel, in a way...).