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Feature book: Dancing Backwards in High Heels

1 August 2012

Dancing Backwards in High Heels by Christine Darcas

This was a fun easy read, perfect to snuggle up and read with a cuppa on the couch. Even though I’m in a completely different point in my life—single lady, living on her own for the very first time, with no dependents, I could still relate to the issues that Madeleine faced in this book.

Why is that? In the simplest of terms—it’s because Ms Darcas has managed to write a story that’s real; the dialogue is honest, Madeleine’s character is authentic, her issues with feeling like she’s a non-entity are real. She could be anyone and I think that’s the beauty of the story. We all need to find ourselves, whether it’s as a mother, wife or, like Madeleine, as a rediscovery of self.

I thought the ballroom dancing aspect of the story was a lot of fun, and I think it’s the perfect outlet for Ms Darcas to use for the character of Madeleine. Both because she is familiar with the ins and outs of the dancing world and because what is more fun and freeing than dance? It’s something that every culture partakes in and places importance on. Dancing is an extension of you. I also love the chapter headers, which all relate to dance in some way and in some aspect, to the story itself; my two favourite being, Chapter 2, pg 15. ‘Dancing’s just a conversation between two people. Talk to me.’ Hope Floats (This could also be because I keep picturing myself dancing with Harry Connick Jnr) and Chapter 11, pg 164. ‘Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.’ Samuel Beckett.

I’ve recommended this as a new edition for purchase for book club. I think it’ll appeal to a lot of our readers, as there’s plenty to discuss, it’s easy to relate to and even better—the book comes with an author interview and book group questions!

reviewed by Cathy Q

A review copy of this book was provided by the author. All ARRA members who leave a comment will go in the draw to win the book. The giveaway closes on 22 August 2012. (The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Natalie M.)

  1. Brooke Moody permalink
    7 August 2012 5:43 pm

    A great review Cathy. This sounds like a book I’ll really enjoy and I’m definitely adding it to my TBR pile. Have just started venturing into the world of ballroom dancing through my young children, so looking forward to reading this book.

  2. 4 August 2012 12:47 pm

    Hi Natalie, Shiona and Malvina – thank you for leaving a comment. I appreciate your interest. Natalie, you’ve heard the expression ‘Dance like nobody is watching?’ Unless being held to competition or paid-performance standards, I believe one should feel free to dance any way they like for the pure pleasure of it. In that sense, there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ about dancing. It’s physical freedom of expression! All the best 😉

  3. Malvina permalink
    3 August 2012 9:19 pm

    Somehow or other dancing strikes such a chord in people’s hearts. Would love to read this book.

  4. Shiona permalink
    3 August 2012 12:05 pm

    The idea of dancing and then being able to do it in high heels and then being able to do it backwards(!) has a degree of difficulty, in my mind, on a par with bringing about peace in the Middle East. So as far as book titles go it gets a big thumb’s up. And the story sounds tremendous too. And I like the cover illustration. An all round winner, it seems 🙂

  5. Natalie Moress permalink
    2 August 2012 10:06 pm

    Sigh…I wish I could dance. Well, reading about it will have to do.

  6. 2 August 2012 6:10 pm

    Helene, I’m psyched that you read it and enjoyed it so much! Cataluna6, I quite like your image of a dancing mongoose wearing ipod ear buds. It was your idea. I reckon that you could run with that one for a children’s book 🙂

  7. 2 August 2012 4:28 pm

    I agree Helene – I like to *think* I’m a dancer…jumping around like a mongoose with my iPod counts. Right? I enjoyed this a lot and I’m looking forward to starting ‘Spinning Out’ 🙂

  8. Barbara permalink
    1 August 2012 10:08 pm

    A good review Cathy…..I like the sound of this book


  9. 1 August 2012 9:27 pm

    I loved this story. I’m not a dancer but something in it resonated strongly. Maybe it was that sense of being people you could meet in every day life battling every day problems. The writing is also very strong. (And please don’t add me to the draw as I already have a copy!)

  10. 1 August 2012 9:26 pm

    Hello Lynette, Juliet and Louise,

    Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. Dancing Backwards in High Heels was published over four years ago, so it’s a real treat for me when someone discovers it. It’s an even bigger treat when they like it and say so. My thanks to Cathy Q!

    Best wishes to you,


  11. louiseforster permalink
    1 August 2012 12:47 pm

    I love the sound of this book. At has all the right elements and I’m sure it will do very well.

  12. 1 August 2012 12:01 pm

    This book has been on my wish list for a while, I love anything dance related!
    Thanks for the review 🙂

  13. lynette williams permalink
    1 August 2012 11:13 am

    this book seems to be a fun read according to the review the sort of book I like

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