A Midnight Dance

Review by Bryan Dumas

A Victorian London mystery plays out on the stage in Politano’s latest inspirational romance, centered on the life and career of Ella Blythe, who longs to be a ballet dancer on the very stage that her mother, the great Delphine Bessette, danced on many years earlier.

A chance dance with the principal dancer, Phillippe Rousseau of the Craven Theater, in a forbidden back room—where rumors held that Delphine’s ghost haunted after a fire killed her many years ago—sets Ella’s resolve to become the best ballet dancer the stage has seen. Despite warning from her mother to steer clear of the stage. Ella earns a scholarship and eventually joins the Craven ensemble.

Jack Dorian, Craven’s choreographer, has the reputation of a lothario—and even claims to have wrestled a tiger—and has taken a liking to Ella. He is determined to help her become a brilliant dancer, though his methods are unconventional and force Ella to let her guard down and even trust him. When he learns that she is Delphine’s daughter, Jack enlists Ella in discovering the real cause of the real fate of Delphine and clear the name of Marcus de Silva—Delphine’s secret lover, accused of setting the fire.

Politano creatively weaves Ella and Jack’s developing relationship on the dance floor with the mystery of Delphine Bessette’s murder and brings this to a satisfying conclusion. Tying dance with her inspirational message of faith and perseverance through God, Politano avoids being overly preachy and instead invites the reader toward introspection through Ella’s actions. Unfortunately, a few plot issues surrounding Ella and her sister and Jack’s womanizing hiccup what would make a good story of serving God through anything we do. A charming look at Victorian ballet and society.