The Belly Dancer
At the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, young wife Dora Chambers hopes that her appointment as one of the Fair’s Lady Managers will impress her emotionally distant husband and gain her approval from the matrons who rule Chicago’s high society. But when Dora’s given the task of ensuring that the Egyptian belly dancers observe proper modesty and decorum in their act, she finds the exotic, passionate life of the dancers strangely compelling. When her attempt to gain her husband’s love fails, and a secret from her past threatens her position in society, Dora must make a choice between respectability and freedom.
Although The Belly Dancer has an intriguing premise, and although the author clearly did a great deal of research on the Fair, her handling of the time period and its historical details is unconvincing. The descriptions of the clothing are awkward and inaccurate, and the author’s grasp of Chicago society is shaky at best. (A young matron being introduced to Mrs. Potter Palmer on the street does not curtsey! And we don’t have “women of rank” here either.) I would also have liked a great deal more about the belly dancing and the dancers. I was deeply disappointed in this book.