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The Dancer’s Promise, by Olivia Horrox

Clem was born to dance and she desperately needs to get a scholarship at a prestigious ballet company to escape her bitter and cruel mother. But what sacrifices will she need to make in order to realise her dream?
The Dancer’s Promise is an historical family drama and love story set in 1936. There are few references to historical details and the characters and plot felt more modern.
Clem and Grace are sisters in London. Their mother has barely left her bed since her husband’s death but the arrival of a new neighbour spurs her on to matchmake for her beloved Grace to save the family from poverty. Clem knows that her sister isn’t suited to August and wants to claim him for herself to protect her sister from an unhappy marriage.
The book is written from Clem’s first person perspective. I really felt her frustration and hope as she dreams of freeing herself and her sister from their miserable home. Their mother is awful, emotionally abusive to her younger daughter which is quite unpleasant to witness.
I didn’t agree with all of Clem’s choices but I understood her desperation to escape her circumstances. The plot is engaging but it is perfectly clear from the beginning which couples should end up together. I liked the easy to read style of writing and Clem’s voice brings her story to life.
The Dancer’s Promise is an entertaining book about following your dream, finding love and acceptance.

The Dancer's Promise book cover


When their father loses their family fortune, and their mother locks herself away, sisters Grace and Clementine are left to raise themselves in a grand London house that is slowly falling apart around them.
Each of them is determined to one day restore their fortunes and their family name and make a promise to do just that.
Clementine dreams of being a star on stage, a celebrated ballerina who will tour the world, earning fame and fortune. She is adamant she won’t put her fate into a man’s hands but take charge of it herself.
Grace, in contrast, sees security in a good marriage. Their eligible new American neighbour, with wealth, charm and looks, seems like the perfect match.
But when Clementine falls unexpectedly in love, it throws both sisters’ lives into turmoil and forces each of them to ask if they are prepared to break their promise for a chance at true love…
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About the Author
Olivia Horrox studied English Literature and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and wrote her dissertation on post-WW1 societal changes in The Great Gatsby which has inspired her own writing. She lives in London with her husband and a very cantankerous cat called Coco. Beautiful Little Fools was Olivia’s debut historical fiction novel, publishing September 2022.

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