Reviewed by Claudia Robinson

“On she went, drilling her routine. Then it happened, as it always did. Her mind wandered and her limbs followed. Without thought she grabbed her skirt in both hands, and like a tide pulling out, all the weariness and fretting left her. Only lovely nothingness remained as the music filled her. She was not dancing for Stanley or Beatrice or even Robert. She was dancing for herself.” – Pepper

The year is 1907 and Pepper MacClair is a chorus dancer at the Chance, a slightly disheveled, time-worn theater in New York. Her dreams, like those of many, include the bright lights of Broadway, success, fame and recognition. At the Chance however, fame seems illusive, their shows barely covering the rent, attendance mediocre at best. Determined, Pepper vocalizes the changes she thinks the Chance needs to flourish, determined to make the Chance grand once more, and quickly makes enemies with those in charge, as well as with her fellow dancers.

Turmoil and discord lead Pepper to accept a less than moral arrangement with the handsome son of the Chance’s owner, Robert, to the dismay of her best friends Em and Gregory. No longer a part of the theater, but with hopes for a brighter future under the guidance and ‘care’ of the wealthy Robert, Pepper discovers, painfully, that one’s desires and dreams aren’t always what they seem and come with price tags too many can ill afford. When Robert’s father passes and the Chance’s future is at stake, as well as the jobs and lives of all her theater friends, Pepper must take a risk and follow another path, and love, which may or may not lead to a future she can live with.

Dancing at The Chance is a sweet, romantic tale of destiny, love, purpose and dreams and the often tumultuous assent and descent, sacrifices, loss and gains that come along with attaining them. It’s a story about wanting more without understanding the consequences of success and how true friendships are fostered on more than money and fame. Pepper’s tale speaks volumes for any artists, dancers, actors, singers, etc…and the long, arduous climb for glory involved in order to become famous. Not all who try, succeed, and not all who succeed survive.

Tender, brutal, honest, Dancing at The Chance is a period love-life story that reads quick and easy. Not brilliant, or life changing by any means, and definitely not for everyone, but what you see is what you get with Dancing at The Chance. A glimpse in the lives of those eager to claim a stake to fame, regardless of the cost or outcome, and the consequences of choices made in pursuit of a dream.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Claudia lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband and two children.

The review copy of this book was provided free of any obligation by Berkley Trade. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.