Men Dancing by Cherry Radford #nospoilers #book #review

Cherry Radford with her second book at Sadler's Wells Flamenco Festival, (c) Carole Edrich 2014

Cherry Radford with her second book at Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival, (c) Carole Edrich 2014

Feeling beleaguered by people at work, two demanding sons and a less-than-attentive husband, Rosie; the female protagonist of Men Dancing, finds herself on a voyage personal development that parallels (albeit in a form of operatic over-the-topness) how we all develop in the course of our lives.

That her development is a result of various dancing male people is central to the story. Men dance through the pages both literally and figuratively and that’s why I’m reviewing it on my blog. However on a deeper level; the level that allows me to identify with Rosie despite her many character flaws, it is also irrelevant. On that level the story shows how love for all the men in her life tempered by a need for emotional space and support of her own needs has an impact on Rosie’s life and how this affects the way she deals with the fundamental responsibilities of motherhood.

This genre isn’t my thing, (give me cyber punk, space opera or non-fantasy sci-fi any day) but the combination of plot line and well researched dance-related details got me hooked. Like all authors, I imagine, Cherry has taken tiny pieces of her life and environment and extended them through research. Researching dance obsessions, talent spotting, how ballet enthusiasts get to see their heroes and the identification and nurturing of a potential ballroom dancer must have been tremendous fun. It’s these details that make Men Dancing an ideal accompaniment to the next Strictly Come Dancing season or during any long run involving great ballet themes.

In conversation I discovered that Cherry sees the female protagonist as a nasty piece of work. I certainly do not. Whether this is more a reflection of the plot or of my – and Cherry’s – views of acceptable behaviour for a modern struggling parent is best decided by you.

Buy the book at Amazon.

Check my blog this time next week for the Flamenco Baby review and the week after to win both of Cherry’s current books.