Months and months ago, I was contacted by “recovering” professional ballroom dancer Alana Albertson about two books she had written, set in the ballroom world. She graciously offered me the opportunity to read and review her books. Here is my review of the second one I read (Book 1 of Ms. Albertson’s Dancing Under the Stars series). You can read my review of Book 2 here.
Love Waltzes In
The first thing you’ll notice if you read both Love Waltzes In and Waltz on the Wild Side is a feeling of déjà vu. A lot of the same characters appear in both stories, although some with slightly different personalities. Some of the writing is also word for word in both books. Alana informed me that the books originated out of one story and external forces “encouraged” her to write two versions. Hence, some overlap.
After just a few chapters, I liked the main characters Bret and Selena in Love Waltzes In more than Vika and Salomé in Waltz on the Wild Side. Their internal dialogue expressed fuller, more well-rounded characters. They had different views and attitudes about life, but there was less snooty judgment and excuses for shallow behavior.
We meet Bret first while he is stationed in Iraq as a Marine. When he was younger, he and Selena were champion amateur ballroom dancers and lovers. He quit the ballroom life to join the Corps while Selena went on to become a now-famous professional ballroom dancer on the television show Dancing Under the Stars. Bret is invited to join the show and agrees only so he can earn money to support the family of a fellow Marine who lost his life.
Selena is introduced in a similar fashion to Vika in Waltz on the Wild Side, preparing for a prestigious ballroom competition. She tolerates the beauty regiments and expected schmoozing with judges, but what she really wants is to get out on the dance floor. She loves her life as a professional ballroom dancer, but also yearns to settle down and start a family. She doesn’t know Bret is joining Dancing Under the Stars until he shows up at her competition for an audition with her.
The story follows Bret and Selena as they are reunited while working as professional dancers on Dancing Under the Stars. This novel is a romance, so old flames are rekindled, secrets are revealed, and drama ensues. I enjoyed the fact that their characters had flaws, including their own prejudices and assumptions about each other. Their flaws made them more real. Some of the scenes that also appeared in Waltz on the Wild Side felt out of place or awkward in this story. I also think the story could have gone without some of the supporting characters. They seemed to just pop in here and there, and had no real impact on the main plot.
Overall, Love Waltzes In is another good poolside/beach read. Even though the story switches point of view from chapter to chapter in the same way as Waltz on the Wild Side, the characters are moving along the same storyline, which helps the flow. There is less of the icky side of the ballroom world, which made the read more enjoyable for me. But to those fans of ballroom drama, don’t worry! There is still enough to satisfy your cravings. So grab your beach towel and escape again into a world of love, drama and dance!
Favorite Line (quote at the beginning of the book):
“Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance. -Confucius”