I startle when he takes me by the hand to lead me to the stereo system. As a wife, I believe I should repossess my fingers, deliberately keep my grip loose. Eight-year-olds hold my hand. My sons. My husband. Before then, boyfriends held my hand, or men who had some kind of interest. The last man who held my hand tried to slip his other up my skirt. When was that? Ten years ago? Fifteen? Back in the days when I had a nanny, a wardrobe full of tailored skirts and high heels and some semblance of a figure to go with them.
When Madeleine Hutchinson arrives in Australia with her husband and sons, she struggles to settle down. Her younger son is hyperactive, her older son is a moody teenager, and her relationship with her husband is strained. She has no family in Melbourne and hasn’t made any friends yet. When she happens upon a dance studio, she wonders if perhaps it has something to offer her.
Soon, Madeleine is taking private dance lessons and starting to feel like someone other than a wife and mother. But Geordie, her husband, isn’t so sure about her new life. Madeleine’s new dance partner is young and attractive, and he seems to find Madeleine attractive, too. Will she risk her marriage on this attraction?
Dancing Backwards in High Heels is an exploration of one woman’s search for identity against the backdrop of being forty-something, a full time mother and wife, and living in a new country. It also examines issues of family and marital relationships, and the impact of infidelity, both real and contemplated. Madeleine is a likeable first person narrator and the problems she is faced with are familiar for many women, and believable.
An insightful exploration of one woman’s complicated life.
Dancing Backwards in High Heels, by Christine Darcas
Hachette Livre, 2008
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