And this shall be my dancing day
Two very different women bond through love, loss and injustice, and find the courage to act.
"I will if you will."
What is the mystery of the dying flowers in a dark doorway with an ever-open door? And why does it matter so much? Two very different women are brought together by love, loss and their struggles with very modern moral choices - whether to act against injustice, and just how far to go.
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As soon as I got started on your book I sped through it, carried along at first by the details of Emma’s limited life and narrow horizons, her warm relationship with Bob and the contrast with her confident, charismatic sister. And just when I thought I had the measure of the book, as a kind of study of loneliness, the plot suddenly turned on a sixpence into something darker and more alarming and I had to know how the characters’ stories linked together and played out. I very much believed in Emma’s emotional frigidity and her distaste for modernity, and I was glad that she was allowed to thaw at last. Many congratulations on a subtle and moving novel; I hope it does really well for you. ~ Clare Chambers, author of Women’s-prize-longlisted Small Pleasures
In one phrase - I love it! She writes very well. It is so natural. It is like I am watching the scenes unfold instead of reading them off a page. Her writing is reminiscent of Margaret Drabble's novels. ~ Rebecca Riddell, Bookseller at Blackwell's Bookshop
A librarian living her narrow, orderly life recognises she has never lived. A civil servant struggles to reconcile her conscience with the populism of her political masters. Against a background of Brexit, migration politics and the horrors of trafficking, two women look for the strength to change and the courage to act, and in the process forge an unlikely sisterhood in a warm and moving parable about finding ways to grow into the light. An easy, natural and involving read ~ Paul Wilson, Portico Prize-winning author of Do White Whales Sing at the Edge of the World and The Visiting Angel.
In times all too quick to judge us and divide us, this patiently perceptive novel sees a deeper and more decent process: how the seeds of concern take root in ordinary, very different lives, sometimes in spite of ourselves; how our individual griefs and struggles can begin, by small steps, to look out as well as inwards; how connections can grow. It is a call to be alert – to the unnoticed harms around us, to the possibilities in each other and ourselves... Not least, it suggests that the courage to take risks can open the door to new life. ~ Philip Gross, Winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, 2009
‘And this shall be my dancing day’ is a small but perfectly formed joy to read! From the outset you are pulled into a mystery and are led to keep turning the pages to discover how things may unfold. As a former librarian myself Emma’s character immediately intrigued me, a professional of the old school and I have met many like her. We follow her as she navigates life, her touching relationship with her neighbour Bob and her complex family dynamics, something we can all relate to. By modern standards, she may be judged to have a ‘limited’ life but far from it. As we go with Emma through the arc of the story, Jennifer Kavanagh leads us to an optimistic and satisfying resolution. ~ Paul Jeorrett, presenter of Bookylicious podcast and former university librarian