Book Title: The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel by Erin Bomboy
Category: Adult Fiction, 326 pages
Genre: Women's Literature, Literary Romance
Publisher: Curtain Call Press
Release date: Dec 20, 2016
Content Rating: PG-13: (four brief sex scenes with no named body parts and written in metaphor, five minor instances of profanity (no f bombs), no violence)
The most prestigious ballroom dance competition in the United States.
Two dancers need to win.
Only one can.
Nina Fortunova wasn’t supposed to end up almost thirty, divorced, with her dreams of winning shattered. She teams up with Jorge Gonzalez, a Latin dancer, to reinvent the flashy Smooth style. When the Chairman of the Judges offers to throw the competition in their favor, Nina must decide how far she will go to win, even if it means losing Jorge.
Carly Martindale is doing everything she’s been taught not to do—placing her happiness first by dancing with Trey Devereux, the former three-time champion who’s returned to competition for mysterious reasons. Carly becomes obsessed with Trey and allows him to control her every move at great risk to her physical and emotional health. How far will she sacrifice herself, so Trey and she can win? Co-workers, then friends, and now arch competitors, Nina and Carly face off to determine who will be the winner.
Bright, emotive, and told through dual narrators, The Winner examines the costs associated with winning, the internalization of parental ambition, and the effect of gendered roles on and off the dance floor. A literary romance, The Winner is perfect for readers who love Dancing with the Stars, Strictly Come Dancing, So You Think You Can Dance, and the old-school elegance of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
The Winner contains a fact-versus-fiction section at the end.
I love to dance and I like ballroom dancing. My husband and I even took ballroom dance lessons for a few months when the kids were young just so we could do something together that was fun. And it was fun! But it was also as strenuous as aerobics.
So, I was curious about The Winner and didn't quite know what to expect. I'm happy to say that I loved reading this book. Through its story, I've been submerged in the world of competitive dance and the lives of two couples who were desperately hoping to win the finals, both for different reasons.
The story is told through dual narratives, that of Nina and Carly, two women who went from being teacher and student to rival competitors. I want to clarify though that this wasn't a story of two women competing against each other, but rather two women who found themselves in different circumstances and heading in the same direction but through different journeys. Nina was the daughter of immigrants and wanted to fulfill her dream of winning in the finals after all her years of dancing and sacrifice. Carly was escaping her life in Ohio where she was counted on by her parents to help take care of her brother who was autistic and low-functioning.
Bomboy's writing is clear and filled with imagery. At times staccato and other times graceful, pulling you through tense, sad, joyous and exhilarating moments until the race to the end. Telling the story from two points of view was brilliant so that we see the world from two perspectives from two very different women, both vulnerable, both searching for happiness on and off the floor.
I enjoyed the portrait of these two very different dancers and how far they would go to attain their version of happiness. The story was very much about the world of ballroom dancing but also very strong on characterization, plot and motivation. The question of what it means to win and at what cost is clear as the book reaches its climax.
The Winner is a well-choreographed literary dance to the tune of ambition, sacrifice, trust, betrayal and love. Like a dance, it transports you into a competitive world where you will become a spectator that will feel a range of emotions. I am not surprised but yet impressed that the author, who was once a professional competitive ballroom dancer, was able to do this so well. The Winner is an Indie gem and will be counted as one of the best books I've read this year.
To read more reviews, please visit Erin Bomboy's page on iRead Book Tours.
Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.
Praise for The Winner:
“ . . . educational, enjoyable, and engrossing.”
- Midwest Book Review
“The Winner is a winner.”
- Goodreads Review
“Rousing, bittersweet, and heartbreakingly beautiful.”
- Amazon Review
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Erin Bomboy trained as a classical ballet dancer before spending a decade as a professional competitive ballroom dancer. She holds an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter where she works as a writer, editor, and teacher in the dance field. In her free time, Erin enjoys bacon, books, cats, and wine.
She is the author of The Piece: A Contemporary Ballet Novel and The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel. Her next novel, tentatively titled The Pas de Deux: A Classical Ballet Novel, will explore the relationship between a ballerina at the end of her career and the much-younger dancer with whom she falls in love. Taking the shape of a traditional pas de deux, it will premiere in 2018.
Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter