The Circle Dance by Jen Silver is set near where the author lives, in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, England. All I have to do is read the words, “I just had some veg” or “Yes, we went to university together” and my knees go weak. I was a goner from page one. The Circle Dance is the first book by Jen Silver that I have read and I loved the story.
Jamie Steele is still suffering from aftershocks after her break up with her girlfriend of six years, literary agent, Sasha Fairfield. Jamie left the relationship with nothing. No job, no car, no furniture, not even the furry love of her life, Stevie the cat. She is living in one room with some milk crates, a bed and a bookshelf. She bikes to her new low paying tech job.
Jamie and Van Spencer meet at one of those uncomfortable dinners usually given by a happily partnered couple who want all their friends to be happily partnered too. For Van, the attraction to Jamie is immediate, but Jamie doesn’t quite trust her attraction to Van. She is surprised but cautiously happy.
Sasha Fairfield starts to have second thoughts about her break up with Jamie. The sparkly newness has worn off her new lover Phoebe and Sasha decides she might want Jamie after all.
All the main characters are over forty, and although I love reading about women of all ages, I do have a special fondness for stories with characters that are nearer to my age.
Jamie Steele is starting over from scratch after the nasty break up of her long term relationship. She works as an IT tech support person, and there is a resilience and strength even though she has been left with nothing after her relationship ended.
Ivana (Van) Spencer loves computer games and women who take your coat and offer to get your drink. She hasn’t had the best luck with relationships in her past and her last lover, Haley, is not allowed to be mentioned in her parent’s house any more often than the comet by the same name comes around. Jamie’s sexy voice and attentiveness flip all the right switches for Van.
Sasha Fairfield is a literary agent and Jamie’s ex-lover of six years. Sasha always felt her friends looked down on Jamie and that she could do better. Sasha missed talking about books she was entranced by a new author. For a time.
Stevie the cat is Jamie’s furry love.
The Writing Style
This story is written in the third person which can be tricky, but I could always keep track of who was talking. I admire the author’s skill here, especially with three main characters who are all female.
First, it’s set in England (deep sigh). Need I say more? In many romance novels, the ex-girlfriend is in the story just as another obstacle to keep the lovers apart. But not here. The author gives equal time to the three main characters, Jamie, her new girlfriend Van, and Jamie’s ex, Sasha. The characters feel like women I know, not airbrushed models of lesbian goodness. I love that this is a romance between slightly older characters. They aren’t in their twenties; they’ve seen a bit of life.
There’s a little twist near the end that was a bit of a stretch for me as a reader, but I could overlook it because I just love her writing style and these characters. I can’t decide if I feel like the story wrapped up a little fast at the end, or if I just wanted the story to continue.
The intertwining dance of Jamie, Van, and Sasha took me away from my life for few hours and brought me into theirs. I want to read more about them and more by Jen Silver.
Excerpt from The Circle Dance by Jen Silver
The ride had done nothing to settle the fluttering in her stomach. She could blame it on the egg salad sandwich Mike had thrust in front of her at three o’clock, but it was more likely the thought of what Van wanted from her. Meeting her for a drink was okay but she had the feeling Van wanted something more. Something she didn’t feel she was ready for, yet, if ever.
A year and three days since Sasha left her. And she still couldn’t block out images of their lovemaking. Waking up in the night, Jamie would reach for her, and be surprised, then alarmed to find an empty space. The despair would flare up all over again. The utter finality of it all was now embodied in the sale of the house, the house they had bought together, the where they thought they would grow old together.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9780908351589
Publisher: Affinity E-Book Press NZ LTD.
Jen Silver Online
Note: I received a free review copy of The Circle Dance by Jen Silver for review. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible.