Fever – by Tonya Plank – Review

Quite a promising book on ballroom dance, but where is the romance?

Poor Rory; her story often reminds me of the person I was myself; I used to write stories and poems in college but the harsh realities of life forced me to work hard for a living.

“Rory’s once promising ballet career was destroyed by family tragedy and illness. She turned her life around and became a lawyer. Now at the start of her legal career, she lacks passion in her work and self-confidence in her abilities.”

If you are in Rory’s shoes: someone who is doing something she does not want to do, and would prefer doings something else – someone whose job does not match with her ambition – I am sure you would be able to not only relate to Rory’s character but also sympathize with her. Sasha’s past has not been that great either. Together they made good dance partners no doubt; the book tries hard to stress on the rock solid chemistry they both share, maybe even more so because “she also reminds him of great pain from his past”.

I have never been to a ballroom dance before, but this book really made me feel that I know ballroom dancers like the back of my hand. The characters’ emotions have been portrayed quite realistically with decent dialog:

“I’m already taking three privates a week. And Sasha’s group class. Sasha’s hooked me.”

My heart sank. They let her take his group class that was totally advanced? I took a sip of my gimlet. It was very tart. It suited this conversation. I took another swig. “He’s such a great dancer. What’s he like as a teacher?” I found myself saying.

“Please. Great is far too much of an understatement,” she said, still without any facial expression. I wondered if she was capable of moving her facial muscles. “He’s an even more excellent teacher. So kind and patient and encouraging. He’s already asked me to be his pro/am partner in a competition in Orange County next month.”

If only the author would have given Rory’s character some more depth, she could have bought a little bit more of my sympathy for her heroine; why would such a talented dancer act like a weakling all the time is beyond me. The male characters mostly acted like jerks, sometimes without reason. The romance was also underdeveloped and treated more in a ‘matter of fact’ manner. The second section of the book largely dragged on; with proper edits, the author could have condensed the material in fewer pages. Maybe if the author had used multiple viewpoints instead of just one, some of these things could be taken care of to an extent.

If you want to feel vicariously about what it means to be a ballroom dancer, or if you merely want to get acquainted with the atmosphere of ballrooms then this is a very good book for you.

Leave a Reply