Forbidden Dance My Rating:
Published by: Casey Shay Press on March 28th 2017
Genres: Cliffhanger Free, Coming of Age, Contemporary, HEA, New Adult, Romance
Series: Lover's Dance #1
Also by this author: Forever Innocent, Forever Bound, Forever Family, The Billionaire's Ballet
Disclosure: I was invited by the author to read this title in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I received no monetary compensation, and all comments are subjective and mine alone.
She was hidden from the world. Then he arrived.An emotional new novel from six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy
For four years, I’ve lived in almost total seclusion. Homeschooled, forbidden from social media, seeing no one other than the dancers at Dreamcatcher Academy, where I teach ballet to little girls in wheelchairs.
Then Blitz arrives.
He’s the disgraced host of Dance Blitz, a bawdy reality show where Blitz sleeps with as many dancers as possible while looking for his perfect partner.
At least he was. A few weeks ago, he got kicked off his own show.
He’s at my academy for a publicity stunt, and my wheelchair ballerinas are his ticket back into the public’s good graces.
I intend to hate him and stay as far away as possible. But when he looks at me, I can’t resist. Before I realize what’s happened, we’re sneaking into back rooms, dancing, kissing, planning dates away from the cameras and the wrath of my family.
But I’m afraid. I have a secret at the academy, a small, wonderful, terrible secret, and if I stay with Blitz, the world will find out.
There are very few authors whose books I’ll read without looking at the synopsis first. Very seldom will I pick up a book based on the author’s name alone. Deanna Roy is the exception. I’ve read multiple books written by her (and her alter egos Annie Winters and JJ Knight). If I see a book authored by her… Done. Don’t need the synopsis. Just grab my tea or hot chocolate, download the book, and start reading. And, oh yeah, fall in love with the story. That’s a given.
Forbidden Dance, the first book in Deanna Roy’s new Lover’s Dance Series, was no exception. The story focuses on Livia and Benjamin (Blitz), but there’s a brief appearance of two characters from her novel The Billionaire’s Ballet which was fun.
As usual, Deanna’s characters drive the story. They’re real. So real it feels as though I’m sitting in the same room with them as I read their experiences. They face obstacles, have flaws, make mistakes, love, hate, sometimes are hated, and all these things mix and swirl together to create characters that resonate and stay with me after I read the last words of their story.
Livia’s character was easy to fall in love with. At first, I’ll admit, it was hard to imagine a nineteen-year-old that naive. One who would acquiesce to the strict rules her parents imposed on her. But as I learned more about her character, it was easy to see how a fifteen-year-old would be broken after making a huge, life-changing mistake, then facing a strict, hard, almost unloving, father. Who, instead of giving her love and support, made sure she felt guilty and isolated. He broke her spirit. And once a person’s spirit is broken, it’s easy to keep them pinned down. And Livia was definitely pinned down by the harshness of her father’s rule over the family. Dance was her only escape.
This is my happy place, pretty much my only one.
Livia’s character was written brilliantly. She grows throughout the book, just as a character should. Yet, she doesn’t get out of bed one day full of strength and determination to change her situation and then storm out into the world and do so. No, she does it gradually. She’s scared and unsure as she takes baby steps to carve out the life she deserves. Roy’s decision to write Livia this way—strong but still fragile and naive—was what made her character resonate with me. I could feel her struggle. The pull of her family and the guilt and shame they’d piled on her for years. And, on the other side, I the pull of a normal life. One where she wasn’t isolated. Where she could shed the guilt. And Livia stood in the middle, scared, unsure, wanting, longing for the life she deserved, but still wearing the shame her family covered her in—afraid of her father. I can’t say enough how well written her character was.
Blitz was easy to love. Yes, if you read the synopsis (which I did after I read the book), he’s painted as a jerk. And, yeah, he kind of his. He even admits it. But he grows throughout the book, too. Maybe not as substantially as Livia, but he does grow. He realizes the place he was in when the “Twitter” incident occurred wasn’t where he wanted to be. He didn’t want to live that life. So, he took steps to change it. He’s cute, and charming, and has all the makings for your next book boyfriend, especially when you read about him and the wheelchair ballerinas. It’s sweet and heart-warming.
The best part of the book, in my opinion, was when quiet, shy, unsure Livia (Princess as Blitz calls her) saves Blitz, who, in the scene, Livia calls her prince. It’s a small portion of a scene, just a few lines, but it has a huge impact, at least it did with me. Blitz was the big personality in the book. He was the Hollywood star. Full of life and used to the spotlight. Livia is the opposite of that, yet, when he needed her, she stepped out of her comfort zone, scary as it was for her, and “saved” him. What a great thing for women, especially young adult women to read: The princess saved the prince!
“I saw a prince who needed to be rescued.”
As far as mechanics go, as always Roy’s work is spot on. Pacing is good, formatting is nicely done. I didn’t find any errors in the copy. Roy’s writing style flows and is easy to get lost in. I always expect close to perfection when I open one of her books, and that’s what I find.
Bottom line: I’d like to say I loved everything about Forbidden Dance, but I won’t. I won’t because no one loves everything about anything. For example, I would have loved a scene or two with the dancing grannies. But I think Forbidden Dance is an awesome story with a strong message. In fact, there is so much more I could write in my review… wheelchair ballerinas, wow! That sends a message… but I’ll keep it to this: Get a copy of the book. Seriously. You’ll be happy you did.
I am super excited to follow Livia and Blitz’s story in the next book in the series: Wounded Dance.
I highly, highly recommend Forbidden Dance.
Forbidden Dance can be read as a stand alone. There is no cliff-hanger and it gives a nice HEA. Or you can follow the complicated lives of Blitz and Livia as they find their way as a couple. I hope you love them enough to hang around with them a little longer.
Lover’s Dance Series order:
- Forbidden Dance
- Wounded Dance
- Wicked Dance
- Tender Dance
- Final Dance
Dreamcatcher’s Dance is a prequel, a story that establishes the Dreamcatcher Dance Academy that is the setting for all the Lovers Dance books.