Monday, April 9, 2012

There Should Be More Dancing

Another novel towards the Australian Women Writer's Challenge: I read There Should be More Dancing by Rosalie Ham last week. I've read Rosalie's two other novels (Summer At Mount Hope and The Dressmaker) and I enjoyed them far more, I must say. This novel is not as wickedly funny. It took me longer to read, and it was probably more emotionally challenging.

Margery Blandon was always a principled woman who found guidance from the wisdom of desktop calendars. She lived quietly in Gold Street, Brunswick for sixty years until events drove her to the 43rd floor of the Tropic Hotel. As she waits for the crowds in the atrium far below to disperse, she contemplates what went wrong; her best friend kept an astonishing secret and she can't trust the home help. It's possible her first born son has betrayed her, that her second son might have committed a crime, her only daughter is trying to kill her and her dead sister Cecily helped her to this, her final downfall. Even worse, it seems Margery's life-long neighbour and enemy now demented always knew the truth. There Should Be More Dancing is a story of Margery's reckonings on loyalty, guilt and love.
   I didn't like Margery, and I didn't feel much empathy for her. She was a nasty, narrow-minded woman, who purposely closed off her emotions to her family. It's sad that she wasted her life, and realises too late. She's eighty, and what kind of life can she now lead?
   The characters are vivid, unique and have realistic traits. They are three-dimensional characters, and Rosalie Ham is very good at character development. Unfortunately, I think there is a reason why so few novels' central characters are elderly, and that is that they don't generate much action.
   It's a great novel on its own, but Rosalie Ham's other novels are so brilliant that I was disappointed by comparison.


  1. A shame you found it disappointed, thanks for sharing your honest review

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

    1. My disappointment was in context - I had very high expectations, because I loved Rosalie's two other novels so much. It is still a great novel, taken in a vacuum.

  2. It's the high expectations that trip us up, isn't it? But you have intrigued me to look up Rosalie Ham's other books :)