Friday 25 May 2018

Ask Me To Dance by Sylvia Colley #BlogTour @SylviaColley @MuswellPress #AskMeToDance

Rose Gregory has suffered a devastating blow, a double bereavement from which months later she is still reeling. Sanctuary and rest are prescribed by her doctor. But when she arrives at her refuge, a dank and decaying Monastery, she finds it is not the haven promised. 
Despite the veneer of calm contemplation, the Monastery turns out to be a hotbed of intrigue and disharmony. Rose witnesses bullying and cruelty and ultimately in defence of the vulnerable turns to violence herself. Sylvia Colley s extraordinary understanding of a woman s struggle to deal with grief, the denial, the anger, the loneliness, is described without sentimentality. A beautifully written and moving story

Ask Me To Dance by Sylvia Colley was published on 3 May 2018, in paperback by Muswell Press. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

This is a beautifully constructed novel that draws the reader in from the very first page. The opening paragraphs are intriguing, and set the tone for the story ahead.

Ask Me To Dance is not fast paced, nor does it contain twists and surprises. It is a deft and subtle character-led novel that explores one women's journey through grief and bereavement.

Rose Gregory has suffered the most terrible of tragedies and is taking refuge at a Monastery; arranged by her doctor. She hopes to find some peace; a place of sanctuary, where she can begin to heal. What she finds when she arrives is far from what she expected. The Monastery is dark and gloomy and in the process of being closed. The remaining Monks are a mixed bunch, all with their own problems, and their own personalities.

Instead of harmony and silence, Rose soon finds herself caught up in the inner battles played out between the Monks and becomes increasingly involved, and enraged by the things that she sees and hears.

It's not until half way through the novel that the reader learns exactly what happened in Rose's life that has caused so much distress and pain, and Sylvia Colley excels in the gentle reveal. Her insight into the emotional consequences that Rose has to bear is incredibly realistic, and there are times when the story becomes a little dark, and very difficult. Despite this, there is also a humour that runs throughout the story, this brings a little light relief and adds another layer to the novel.

I was very impressed by Ask Me To Dance; it's perfectly structured and so moving. Highly recommended by me.

Sylvia Colley was born in Romsey, Hampshire. She became a teacher and spent many years as Head of English at the Purcell School in North London.
She has published a book of poetry, It’s Not What I Wanted Though, and a novel, Lights on Dark Water. Her work has been read on BBC Radio 4. She lives in Pinner, Middlesex.

Twitter: @SylviaColley

Muswell Press is a proudly independent publisher of great books, both fiction and non-fiction. Sarah and Kate Beal bought Muswell Press in 2016. With over 50 years publishing experience between them, at Bloomsbury, Faber, Walker Books, HarperCollins amongst others, they bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the list.

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