DANCER OF DREAMS by Patricia Matthews


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Another chiffon pie from the Julia Child of sweetmeat romances, this one set in early-17th-century Virginia/Paris, and featuring mother/daughter beauties: widowed plantation-owner Hannah Verner and aspiring ballet-dancer Michele. The men in their lives are, typically, as neatly ingredient-listed as supermarket jam. There's Hannah's neighbor Courtney Wayne, ""tall, commanding, with a shock of dark hair shot with silver, and piercing blue eyes."" Scottish Ian MacLeven, who surfaces in Paris, has ""mocking glints"" in his gray peepers. But watch out for that Virginia pair: Jules Dade, with eyes of a ""chill and depthless look""; and rugged Nathaniel Bealls, the overseer, who carries a riding crop at all times. The plot? Well, Hannah is outraged when she finds that never-seen neighbor Courtney demands immediate payment of a Verner debt--though he does allow her time to get in the cotton crop. So Hannah must borrow money from Jules Dade (most unwise) to finance Michele's dance-studies in Paris. On the boat Michele will meet Ian, who glints his mocking glances--but in Paris she's all absorbed in the famous dance company of Arnaut Deamspierre, with whom she has one soaring sexual experience. The company will dance at Fontainebleau before King Louis XV, who casts lascivious glances; back at the studio, there's dirty business going on as two jealous dancers plot the downfall of the prima. Soon second-string Michele is on her way to stardom--while falling hard for the reappearing Ian, son of a Laird, who proposes in his Scottish castle. (Poor Michele: she can't give up the dance--but Ian needs her by his kilted side.) And, back in the Colonies, Hannah and Courtney are frantically in love--""an overwhelming tide of sensation""--while Nathaniel is growling and twitching his riding crop. Stolen cotton, two assaults, an attempted murder, a shootout, and happy endings in Paris: smooth, busy, forgettable.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Bantam