My sincere thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture Publishers for sending me a review copy of Sue Watson’s ‘Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams’ which was published in paperback on 3rd July 2015 and is also available as an e-book.
At 44, Laura’s life has passed her by so that she spends it watching ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ on television whilst consuming her own body weight in chocolates and cakes. When her daughter is jilted at the church and takes off around the world, Laura realises that it’s time she stopped living through Sophie and started her own life.
I have to be honest and say that had I not received a review copy of this I would not have read it as the title simply did not appeal to me and I thought it sounded lightweight and insubstantial. It just goes to show how wrong you can be.
‘Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams’ is a delight of a story that I think any woman (and plenty of men) would read and enjoy because there is an Everywoman quality to Laura. She has self doubts, she lives through her daughter about whom she is over protective and she feels constrained by needing her mother’s approval. A single mum who is reduced to working on a checkout in a job she hates, her life is simply on hold. I honestly thought Sue Watson had got inside the head of so many women perfectly to epitomise their thoughts through Laura.
It is Laura’s progression and development through the narrative that works so well. There are not cliched resolutions for her, but she has to learn how to take responsibility for her own happiness. Tony, another well defined character, helps her, but you’ll have to read the book to find out how.
In this romp of a plot I found a real poignancy and underlying sadness belied by the quirky and occasionally bizarre chapter titles. All of the story is extremely well written, but some passages are just a triumph. I literally laughed until I cried at the description of Laura in the Zumba class, but similarly I cried in sympathy with her later in the story. It takes a real skill to be able to evoke such extreme emotions in a reader.
The iterative theme of dancing is masterful. I’d defy anyone reading Sue Watson’s ‘Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams’ not to want to ‘dance like no-one is watching’ at the end of reading this book. I hate epithets like ‘uplifting’ and ‘hilarious’ as I rarely agree with them, but in this case any praise of that nature is totally deserved.
I loved it.