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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review - Dance Lessons by Aine Greaney

It's Day Six of IRISH WEEK, and I hope you are enjoying the various selections I have picked that I feel represent some of the best of Irish writers and Irish-themed books today!

On Thursday, I featured Irish author Aine Greaney, and she was gracious enough to answer a few questions about her writing influences.  Today, I bring you a review of her amazing new book, "Dance Lessons," which is scheduled to be released from Syracuse University Press in April.

About The Book:

A year after her husband’s death in a sailing accident off Martha’s Vineyard, Ellen Boisvert bumps into an old friend. In this chance encounter, she discovers that her immigrant husband of almost fifteen years was not an orphan after all. Instead, his aged mother Jo is alive and residing on the family’s isolated farm in the west of Ireland.

Faced with news of her mother-in-law incarnate, the thirty-nine-year-old American prep school teacher decides to travel to Ireland to investigate the truth about her husband Fintan and why he kept his family’s existence a secret for so many years.

Between Jo’s hilltop farm and the lakeside village of Gowna, Ellen begins to uncover the mysteries of her Irish husband’s past and the cruelties and isolation of his rural childhood. Ellen also stumbles upon Fintan’s long-ago romance with a local village woman, with whom he had a daughter, Cat. Cat is now fourteen and living with her mother in London. As Ellen reconciles her troubled relationship with Fintan, she discovers a way to heal the wounds of the past.

Deeply rooted in the Irish landscape and sensibility, Dance Lessons is a powerful story of loss, regret, and transformation.

My Thoughts:

Long-held family secrets, and the damage and heartache they can bring, is at the heart of Aine Greaney's amazing novel "Dance Lessons." Featuring a diverse cast of strong women characters, Aine's story is a fascianting study of how each woman - Ellen, Jo, and Cat - reacts to and lives with the actions and consequences of Fintar Dowd, the one man that binds them all together.

Written in each woman's voice, Aine ties the tale together with trips to each of their past lives and how their seperate journeys ultimately bring them together to the lonely farm on Knockduff Hill in Gowna, Ireland.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Dance Lessons," and found myself drawn into the heart of the story through Aine's creative and imaginative writing.  They say the Irish are blessed with the gift of storytelling, and Aine Greaney obviously received an extra helping as is evident with this captivating novel.

About The Author:

An Irish native, Aine Greaney moved to the U.S. in 1986. She lives in the greater Boston area. Her short stories, personal essays and features have appeared in literary and consumer magazines. Her second novel, "Dance Lessons" will be released on April 1. In addition to writing, she teaches creative writing at various schools, arts and libraries. Her how-to writing book, "Writer with a Day Job" will be released in June, 2011.  Check out her website at http://www.ainegreaney.com/ for more information about her books and writing projects.

I was sent an advance copy of "Dance Lessons" by the author for review. I was not compensated for my opinions.

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