The Dance of Love
is a historical romance, a love story with a serious heart, that tells of the difficulty of marrying for love in a society that believed money, land, titles and bloodline were all that mattered. A society in which the bride- and groom-to-be were often treated like pawns, not human beings with beating hearts and enquiring minds.
The novel is set in the British, Edwardian, aristocratic Downton-Abbey society whose strictures and rules the novel’s protagonist, the young, spirited and beautiful Natalie Edwardes, would like to outwit. (The character of Natalie Edwardes was inspired by my own great-grandmother, Noël Rothes, who showed great courage and selflessness after RMS Titanic sank.) The effect of the tragic sinking on the fictional Natalie Edwardes is also profound: afterwards she discovers what love really means and the sacrifice she must make. And as she changes, so the society in which she lives is irrevocably changed by the First World War.
THE DANCE of LOVE is a coming-of-age novel set between 1899 and 1919. It was published in 2014 by Buried River Press, which was bought by Crowood Press, whose fiction list was later bought by Joffe Books in 2019. You can order the novel from Amazon or from The Book Depository with free worldwide postage. And if you’d like an electronic edition you can order it here.
When I was writing THE DANCE of LOVE, I discovered letters from my great-grandmother, Noël Rothes, and Able Seaman Thomas Jones. Their real stories intrigued and touched me but I knew they’d overwhelm the fictional love story I was writing, so I developed a talk about what they did together on the night RMS Titanic sank because I wanted their courage and kindness to be remembered. I’ve called the talk The Aristocrat, the Able Seaman, and the tragedy of RMS Titanic. There’s a 10-minute clip from it below and if you’d like to know more, or if you’d like to book the talk, see here.
You can read about the writing of THE DANCE of LOVE, and how I did (and didn’t) turn fact into fiction at Shiny New Books, and here’s a link to an article in YOU Magazine about my great-grandmother’s experience when RMS Titanic sank. Here also is a SHORT STORY called KEEL SONGS which I wrote before I wrote THE DANCE of LOVE and which SHINY NEW BOOKS published in its BookBuzz section, Issue 7.
Arts Council England awarded me a grant to rewrite this book and I’m very grateful. It would have been a struggle to continue without it.