BOOK CLUB: Dancing With Ghosts

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Rita H Rowe’s “Dancing With Ghosts” is a fairly traditional ghost story, with a dash of romance. Readers of either genre are likely to enjoy it.

Alexandra has fled Melbourne and the love of her life, Nicholas. At Lovelet Manor, some hours from Melbourne, she finds a job, a home, and maybe a refuge.

However, it quickly becomes evident that it will not be quite the restful place to recover that she hoped for. Rory and Cheryl, her employers, are welcoming and friendly, but distracted by their eldest daughter’s illness. Indeed, they’re so distracted that their younger daughter often looks to Alex for companionship.

And then there’s Edward. Alex quickly realises that Edward is a ghost, but is less certain of his intentions. She’s terrified by how he makes her feel. That terror doesn’t reduce as her feelings soften into love: if anything, it scares her more.

Can Alex truly build a relationship with a ghost? Can she repair the past damage to her heart?

dancing with ghosts

Most readers will find this an entertaining and undemanding story of love lost and found. Although a ghost is central to the story, the supernatural elements of the story touch it lightly, and Rowe focuses more on the personalities involved.

Alex is a character who comes to life slowly, but then engages the reader fully. In a way, it’s like getting to know someone in real life. It’s easy to understand her thoughts and emotions. And if some readers feel she’s over-reacted to events in her past? She’d hardly be the first to have a life long trauma seeded by events in their youth.

Other characters similarly take a while to emerge, but are generally believable. I thought Rowe’s depiction of Netty’s volatility, her swinging between being a lovely girl and a cranky patient, particularly accurate. The depiction of her illness and its’ treatment is pretty light, but it’s also not a big part of the novel, which explains why Rowe glosses over it.

Similarly I felt that the depiction of the gulf between Netty’s parents, and their disparate reactions to her illness, was very real and a strength for the novel.

This was an entertaining, straight forward story with an ending that was both satisfying and believable in the context of the novel. A lot of romance readers will enjoy it, and so will those who like a light touch of the supernatural in their reading. Despite some initial difficulty getting into it, it ultimately proved to be readable and enjoyable.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Dancing With Ghosts by Rita H RoweYou can read their comments below, or add your own review.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Dancing With Ghosts

  1. A fantastic story about family, love, loss and mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Rita H Rowe has become one of my favourite Australian Authors, looking forward to reading lots more books from her.

  2. Wow – what a beautiful, richly emotional book ! Death, loss, loneliness, crushed dreams and grief – Dancing with Ghosts by Rita H Rowe touches on all these things, in such a sensitive and moving way. I loved it.
    Alex the main character has suffered tremendous loss, grief and guilt, and is trying to start her life afresh at Lovelet Manor in Chernut, a country town far away from Melbourne and the reminders of her past. She has literally packed her bags and left behind the city, her job and everything she knows, including the man she loves.
    Mysterious Lovelet Manor is a grand but sadly overlooked estate that has somehow drawn Alex to it. She accepted a position there almost on a whim…At the Manor Alex works as a gardener and immerses herself in the work of restoring and replanting the beautiful but neglected gardens, hoping that in doing so she will resurrect her own lost soul.
    Rory, Cheryl and their two daughters Cathy and Netty live at the Manor and are also struggling with their own deep sorrows and grief. Soon Alex forms a special bond with them, and somehow they begin to help each other.
    Then when Alex meets Edward she starts to see the possibilities of life once again…but is Edward even real?
    A beautifully written, richly evocative and poignant story – I highly recommend it.

  3. As I’m not a fan of sci fi, I was rather sceptical about a novel titled, Dancing with Ghosts. My fears were unfounded however, as the ghost plays a minor part and in fact affords Alex the opportunity to realise where her true passions lie.
    Confronted with many emotional challenges, Alex resettles in a totally new area and begins life as the gardener at Loveless Manor. Here she meets different emotional obstacles, but comes to the realisation, with the help of resident ghost, Edward, that the love she left behind, Nicholas, is in fact her destiny.
    Alex continues to chronicle her life for her departed parents.
    Congratulations, Rita Rowe on developing an entertaining, whimsical story.

  4. This is my first read of a novel by Rita Rowe, and my first novel involving a ghost. I was a little bit apprehensive, but I must say that I enjoyed reading this book. There is much more to the story than just dancing with ghosts. There is romance and tragedy and dealing with grief after loss.
    Quite a nice holiday read.

  5. I’m still unsure of what I think of this book. On one hand I love the setting, the gardening and idea that Alex left a place that she didn’t want to be to create a new life for herself.
    I think the falling in love with the ghost and having interaction with it that has me a bit put off.

    The idea that she is escaping hurt and pain in her old life but becomes aware of her own faults and escapism thru the pain and hurt that occurs within the house that she now lives, is the true story.
    Overall an easy read and I thank you for letting me be a part of it.

  6. Thank-you Beauty & Lace for giving me the chance to read & review ‘Dancing with Ghosts by Rita H Rowe’.
    Alex is running away from heart troubles to find solace in the beautiful gardens of an old manor home. The family she shares the home with are warm and caring but also dysfunctional with their own emotional baggage and a resident ghost.
    Alex slowly opens her heart to both the family and the ghost, allowing Alex to begin to live again and move forward after a shattering past event. I enjoyed this book with love, loss, heartache, and redemption. I also really appreciated the garden descriptions woven through the story – what a great place to be working in, making it another essential character. Thank you ‘Beauty & Lace Bookclub’ for the opportunity to read ‘Dancing with Ghosts by Rita H Rowe’.

  7. This is the first book that I have read by Rita H Rowe but certainly wont be my last!

    Fantastic storyline and characters that you really feel for as they find love, heartbreak, grief and a purpose/direction in life (or in ones self). Very well written as it weaves itself into and around you, ensuring that you just cant put the book down.

    Ritas ability to describe the characters, the emotions and the setting create such a visual picture it is less like reading and more like watch the movie unfold in your mind. More of Rita H Rowe please!

  8. Dancing with Ghosts by Rita H Rowe .
    I found this book very easy and enjoyable to read and understand.
    I love all the characters in the book and could picture them all in my head perfectly.
    Alexandra (Alex) for short is the main character who has left behind her old life in busy Melbourne for something new and different a new job as a gardener at a beautiful old manor called Lovelet in a country town called Chernut.
    But everything isn’t as peaceful as she hoped .
    With the ups and downs of the family members and the other workers in the manor .
    Especially when she meets Edward at the gazebo things start to take on a different twist .
    I really enjoyed this book and I’m not going to give the plot away as it will spoil it for you.
    This book would suit any genre who loves a good book with lots of twists and turns .
    Thankyou for the chance to read .

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