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A Midnight Dance

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All theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most--and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theater. Yet as she struggles to maintain her tenuous place in the ever-shrinking ballet company, win the attentions of principal dancer Philippe, and avoid co All theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most--and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theater. Yet as she struggles to maintain her tenuous place in the ever-shrinking ballet company, win the attentions of principal dancer Philippe, and avoid company flirt Jack, Ella cannot deny the uncanny feeling that her life is mirroring that of the dead ballerina. Is she dancing ever closer to the edge of her own tragic end? Or will the secrets that are about to come to light offer release from the past? Mystery and romance make the perfect dance partners in this evocative story from fan-favorite Joanna Davidson Politano.


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All theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most--and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theater. Yet as she struggles to maintain her tenuous place in the ever-shrinking ballet company, win the attentions of principal dancer Philippe, and avoid co All theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most--and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theater. Yet as she struggles to maintain her tenuous place in the ever-shrinking ballet company, win the attentions of principal dancer Philippe, and avoid company flirt Jack, Ella cannot deny the uncanny feeling that her life is mirroring that of the dead ballerina. Is she dancing ever closer to the edge of her own tragic end? Or will the secrets that are about to come to light offer release from the past? Mystery and romance make the perfect dance partners in this evocative story from fan-favorite Joanna Davidson Politano.

30 review for A Midnight Dance

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Griep

    There are a handful of authors that I always read, no matter the title, no matter the subject, just bam! Buy it and read it. Joanna Davidson Politano is one of the few. Her latest, A Midnight Dance, did not let me down…and it won’t let you down, either. As always, Politano’s characters are the sort that by the end of the story, you discover you’ve become best friends. I especially loved the mysterious Philippe. His story is woven in gradually, making you sit up and beg for more. But Jack…ahh Jack There are a handful of authors that I always read, no matter the title, no matter the subject, just bam! Buy it and read it. Joanna Davidson Politano is one of the few. Her latest, A Midnight Dance, did not let me down…and it won’t let you down, either. As always, Politano’s characters are the sort that by the end of the story, you discover you’ve become best friends. I especially loved the mysterious Philippe. His story is woven in gradually, making you sit up and beg for more. But Jack…ahh Jack. He is the real show stopper. And let’s talk about that plot, shall we? Because it gives the same effect. Snippets of backstory are sprinkled throughout, leading you on to wonder how and what and why, which of course all culminates in a very satisfying end. I’ll admit I”m not a huge fan of dance, but after reading this one, you just. might see me in the audience at the next ballet.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Tagg

    Honestly, I'm not sure I have words for this review. I could tell right from the opening pages that I was going to love Joanna Davidson Politano's latest....what I didn't realize was how deeply and personally this story was going to touch me. It's an absolutely beautiful book with lyrical writing, characters that tuck themselves into your heart, and surprising plot turns that heighten the stakes and deepen the tension. All of that would've been enough to make this one of my favorite reads of 202 Honestly, I'm not sure I have words for this review. I could tell right from the opening pages that I was going to love Joanna Davidson Politano's latest....what I didn't realize was how deeply and personally this story was going to touch me. It's an absolutely beautiful book with lyrical writing, characters that tuck themselves into your heart, and surprising plot turns that heighten the stakes and deepen the tension. All of that would've been enough to make this one of my favorite reads of 2021, but Ella's emotional and spiritual journey throughout the story make it one of my favorites period. I'll be thinking and talking about this book for weeks, I know, but for now, suffice to say I pre-ordered the paperback within minutes of reaching The End. I'm absolutely in love with it and wish I could give it far more than five stars!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Grace Johnson

    *Warnings* #1 This is a long review, so pull up a chair and grab a bowl of popcorn. You’ll be here awhile. #2 When I read a review, I want substantial information. So I will not skimp on the details. Which may mean some spoilers, so watch out. You know how there are some books that, when you turn the final page and walk away, you leave a piece of you behind? You know how there are some stories that become so vivid that you feel as though you yourself are entangled in the words? You know how there a *Warnings* #1 This is a long review, so pull up a chair and grab a bowl of popcorn. You’ll be here awhile. #2 When I read a review, I want substantial information. So I will not skimp on the details. Which may mean some spoilers, so watch out. You know how there are some books that, when you turn the final page and walk away, you leave a piece of you behind? You know how there are some stories that become so vivid that you feel as though you yourself are entangled in the words? You know how there are some characters who are so alive and vibrant that you could almost touch them? You know how there are some romances so beautiful that you wish you could claim it as your own? You know how there are some sentences that weave together so seamlessly, in a dance so intricate and lovely, that you feel your heart soar? You know how there are some heroes so imperfectly perfect in every way that you wish to God that you could marry them? That was this book. This story. These characters. This romance. Those sentences. And, Lord have mercy, my Jack. *sighs* I suppose I should write a full review. I should probably tell you about how lovely and melodic, how lyrical and alive Politano’s prose is. I should probably tell you about how well thought-out and paced her plots are. I should probably tell you about how unique, mysterious, and engaging her story is. I should probably tell you how vibrant and intriguing the characters are. I should probably tell you how intricately and beautifully she weaves in spiritual truths and messages to her novels. Or...I could just continue to melt. You could join me. All you have to do...is read. Seriously, y’all. When Politano began the story with the most enchanting pas de deux, I knew my heart was lost to me forever. You see, I have long loved all things ballet. I am by no means an expert nor an accomplished dancer (although I did take for a couple years); however, a part of me belongs to the barre...a part of me rises on releve...a part of me soars in a jete...a part of me pirouettes to the gentle refrains of classical music and sighs on a cloud of artistic euphoria. (Please don’t ask me what any of that meant. I just went poetically wild for a moment there. Bear with me.) Politano took that part by the hand and led it in the most beautiful, most exquisite dance ever. Her descriptions of dance…augh, they were like kisses. Ballet...ah, yes, I now know why they called it sensual, for when you simply read the words Politano penned to evoke those images, those sounds, those emotions...you come alive. Nothing...nothing, I tell you, has ever melted me as this novel did. True, I have melted before...but not...not in this way. Not like with Jack and Ella...mainly Jack. No, definitely, completely, wholly, fully, utterly, and irrevocably Jack. Y’all, he was like perfection bottled into one man in tights and oil paint. (Never thought I’d find perfection in that form...but, hey, first time for everything, am I right?) I’ll be entirely honest and say I was as fooled as Ella that whole dad-blamed time, which was the point, wasn’t it? I tried so hard to save my heart for Phillippe (or, um, save Ella’s heart, I guess) and not fall for Jack. At all costs. (Considering the last time I fell for a Jack, he died and the girl ended up with some other guy that I just didn’t love as much as my man Jack and so yes me and Jacks have had some seriously rough relationships hence why I was hesitant to love on Jack Dorian but here we are and I have already claimed this sexy ballet-dancing blond from the circus as my husband. So, no, you can’t have him. Sorry, not sorry.) And I just realized that probably constitutes as a spoiler. Oh well. The point is that Jack was perfect. Ella was actually a heroine I more than tolerated—I may have even loved her. The way her focus always came back to God...and how she wanted Him more than anything else...and how she found a way to honor Him through dance...y’all. That was probably one of the most beautiful themes I’ve ever read. Not only because it was so unique and different from the typical themes of trust and forgiveness...but also because it was so very applicable and relatable. Not to mention, Ella stuck to her convictions. She wasn’t just a “church-going girl”; she was a Christian and she walked (or, rather, danced) like it. Even though she was surrounded by immorality and temptation, she clung to her faith and her values, something that I truly appreciated from a reader’s perspective and also from the perspective of someone trying to do the exact same thing in our messed-up world. That said, I would’ve liked more Jack. I would’ve loved to have seen more of his spiritual transformation...but, then again, this was technically Ella’s story. I mean, Jack totally took it over, but it’s still Ella’s. And...that’s basically it. I probably could’ve summed this review up in two sentences: Jack was so dad-blamed perfect and beautiful and I’m so marrying him. And if you haven’t read this book, you haven’t lived (or flown either, for that matter). If you do nothing else, read this book for Jack. ALSO. While I’m thinking about it...they’re from 130 years in the future, but “Come Fly With Me” and “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra just fit this story so well. Wonder why? Read the blessed book! I cannot stress how important that is to your well-being. You. Must. Read. This Book. Like, yesterday. The End. *curtsies* Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    I am not sure what I was expecting in this book but it wasn't this. It is mysterious, with a Victorian era gothic feel to it. I really knew nothing about ballet before reading this now I feel enriched for having read it. You travel in a place while reading in where you are asking yourself if this is realistic or you are in a dream world. Very atmospheric the book has a dark gothic feel to it as though you know something is just around the corner waiting to happen. There are bits of it I just don't I am not sure what I was expecting in this book but it wasn't this. It is mysterious, with a Victorian era gothic feel to it. I really knew nothing about ballet before reading this now I feel enriched for having read it. You travel in a place while reading in where you are asking yourself if this is realistic or you are in a dream world. Very atmospheric the book has a dark gothic feel to it as though you know something is just around the corner waiting to happen. There are bits of it I just don't understand, like the red ballet slippers. They are such an important connection ,then when they are stolen they are no longer important? The ending was surprising and a shake up. The book felt a bit like swimming in murky waters while reading it. Pub Date: 07 Sep 2021 I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)

    About this book: “The best moments in dance are the unscripted ones. At their core, all theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most—and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theatre. After a chance encounter with one of the ballet company’s handsome dancers late one night, Ella is swept off her elegantly pointed toes. The dance they share and the promise he makes to her f About this book: “The best moments in dance are the unscripted ones. At their core, all theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most—and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theatre. After a chance encounter with one of the ballet company’s handsome dancers late one night, Ella is swept off her elegantly pointed toes. The dance they share and the promise he makes to her feels like a new beginning. Yet as she faces the mounting challenges in the ever-shrinking ballet company, Ella cannot deny the uncanny feeling that her life is mirroring that of the ghostly ballerina. Is she dancing ever closer to the edge of her own disastrous end? Or will the secrets that are about to come to light offer release from the unyielding grip of the past?” Series: As of now, no. Spiritual Content- Many Scriptures (Psalms) are remembered, quoted, & mentioned; Prayers; Talks about God & your dreams; ‘H’s are not capitalized when referring to God; A hymn; Because of comments from others, Ella wonders if God and dance really are separate and not able to both be in her (she struggles with this a lot (as well as dance becoming more important to her than God) but, about midway, she realizes that she can worship God through dance); Ella is called a nun by other dancers (because she is not interested in men) & mentions of it; Jack says she doesn’t put much stock in religion & was disappointed to learn about “Ella’s obsession with religion” (towards the end, he asks God what He wants from him, but not much else is said); Mentions of God; Mentions of the Psalms & David; Mentions of prayers & praying; Mentions of churches, church going, denominations, & stained glass; A few mentions of miracles; A couple mentions of being blessed; A couple mentions of sins; A mention of a Christian’s duty; *Note: Mentions of a haunted place in a theater & a rumored ghost; Mentions of a pair of ballet slippers being called ‘enchanted’; A mention of a devilish smile; A mention of Greek mythology. Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘blasted’ and a ‘for all that is holy’; Some eye rolling; A fire (up to semi-detailed); Falling down the stairs, a body, & pain (barely-above-not-detailed); Many mentions of a death, fire, & possible murderer; Mentions of pain, injuries, & burns (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of an attempted robbery & assault; Mentions of stealing & stolen items; Mentions of drinking, drunks, an addiction, alcohol, & pubs/bars; Mentions of cigars & smoking; Mentions of lies, lying, liars, & deception; Mentions of gossip & rumors; A few mentions of threats; A few mentions of jealousy; A couple mentions of animal manure; A mention of a thief; A mention of hatred. Sexual Content- A couple hand kisses, two forehead kisses, barely-above-not-detailed kisses, a semi-detailed kiss, and a detailed kiss; Dances & Touches (including a thought by Ella after a man touches her waist, now understanding what the finer set of London declared dancing as immoral, barely-above-not-detailed); Blushes & Winks; Noticing, Nearness, Smelling, & Staring (barely-above-not-detailed); A man touches Ella’s hair when it’s down (an intimate thing in this time period, barely-above-not-detailed); An older man touches Ella (a boss, not in a creepy way) and she wonders what other decent profession allowed a man to put his hands on a woman whenever he wished; Ella’s father hasn’t been in the picture (her parents were married, (view spoiler)[*Spoiler* but it’s revealed near the end that her father wanted her mother to see a surgeon to take care of “the leech/problem” because of their careers were starting to be successful; her mother decided to fake her death and raise Ella herself as she said he had no right to force her to end a life God created out of their love; Ella does meet her biological father *End of Spoiler* (hide spoiler)] ; (view spoiler)[*Spoiler* Ella’s close friend (like a sister) falls in love easily and prior to the story was pregnant, Ella delivers the baby on the doorstep to a family and tells her mother and her sister that the baby passed away. While this decision haunts Ella, she stands by her decision as the sister would have never properly loved the child (we see Ella’s confirmation of doing the right thing, as Lily, the sister, says she doesn’t care about being respectable and only wants to be loved (by a man who happens to be married) *End of Spoiler* (hide spoiler)] ; Mentions of a boss not wanting his dancers “to be inflicted with immorality” (with child); Mentions of prostitutes & a comment about them not working during the day; Mentions of married man having affairs & mistresses (a man makes an offer to Ella and she quickly says she’s not for sale); Mentions of romances and marriage never working for dancers & that no man will marry a female dancer, but will make them a mistress; Mentions of comments about dancers’ reputation & virtue; Mentions of kisses, hand kisses, & expecting a kiss; Mentions of a bet about kissing a girl; Mentions of a flirt & flirting; Mentions of jealousy; Mentions of blushes/blushing; Mentions of impropriety; A few mentions of a female dancer not having a speck of sensuality or allure; A few mentions of the possibility of a women having two husbands; A couple mentions of illegitimate children; A mention of wondering if a couple was in love when they produced a child; A mention of secret kisses; Love, falling in love, & the emotions; *Note: A mention of imagining a man in his knickers (to look bashful/blushing in front of him). -Elodie “Ella” Blythe, age 18/21 (unsure based on the timeline and comments) 1st person P.O.V. of Ella & 3rd of Jack (x5), Josefina (x1), & Maymie Dobbs (x1) Set in 1833 (first two chapters), then 1838-1839 373 pages ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* Pre Teens- One Star New Teens- One Star Early High School Teens- Two Stars (and a half) Older High School Teens- Three Stars (and a half) My personal Rating- Four Stars Oh, where do I begin? While I’ll easily admit, when first learning about this book, the plot-line didn’t interest as much as past books by this author (such as “A Rumored Fortune” which quickly got my attention). Once I started reading, though, this book quickly grabbed me into story. There was many events and secrets I wasn’t expecting that shocked me again and again. That would probably that number one reason I enjoyed this book as much as I did. It takes good book to pull in me to not try to figure out what will happen and try to predict the next events. While the characters were interesting (more on that in a minute), I can’t say they’re the ones that hook me into the story. It was the plot with the mysteries and all the secrets. I liked Ella, her dedication to ballet and her mother. I can’t say I always agreed with her thoughts or actions, but I could understand (most of the time) where she was coming from and why she did the things she did. I wasn’t sure where the romance would go in this story, but besides those couple kisses, it was pretty clean in the romance regard. Other Sexual Content comments and hints (mistresses, affairs, illegitimate children & abortion) were not over the top, but I hesitate about recommending this book of those under 16 because of that content. I’ve been sitting here at my laptop for a few minutes now, debating not only my own personal rating but the higher two age groups’ ratings. This is why: “A Midnight Dance” felt more grown-up (I prefer to avoid the word “mature” as each girl is different and one word with a broad meaning cannot cover for every girl) then most books I’ve reviewed on here—but also enjoyed. (To clarify, there has been plenty of books that have been more “grown-up” because of sexual content that have received low ratings. Trust me, plenty of books.) This novel was different in the way that the Sexual Content that was there (see above) was typically more glossed-over then expounded upon like other books, so it felt cleaner than most, even while it was dealing with some similar topics. Another reason for my debate: Ella’s Spiritual Content parts were great, however, I do question her kissing a man (quite soundly, I might add) who was not a Christian and did not seem open to sharing her faith. There’s a moment at the end with him and his own walk with the Lord, but I wish it would have been clearer and obvious. But, I suppose that could mimic life in a way, that someone’s witness takes more “pages” than what’s written down in a story. I do wish, though, it had been more precise, especially with the rumors about him being a flirt. (He does say in one of his own point of view chapters, that it’s a role he’s given himself, but I would have preferred that also be told to Ella for clarity’s sake.) So, yes, I’m not sure if I was able to put my feelings about this book into words well, but it was a fascinating novel. I’m becoming quite a fan of historical mysteries, so I’m curious to see what this author will write next. Link to review: https://booksforchristiangirls.blogsp... *BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author. *I received this book for free from the Publisher (Revell) for this honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lilyyy

    Woah, more than 30 of my Goodreads friends / people I follow have marked this one as to-read (or reviewed it)! That's crazy! Woah, more than 30 of my Goodreads friends / people I follow have marked this one as to-read (or reviewed it)! That's crazy!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I have no words to express how beautiful this book is, or how much I loved it. It left me breathless, and all I can do is think about it. It was so very vivid! From the characters to the story, I was completely swept away in the 1838 theater. It was as if the moment I met these characters, I was captivated by every word. These characters didn’t just exist for me. They lived. I grew so attached to them and their unique stories. I loved Ella. She was wholly inspiring. She was so real, so raw, so r I have no words to express how beautiful this book is, or how much I loved it. It left me breathless, and all I can do is think about it. It was so very vivid! From the characters to the story, I was completely swept away in the 1838 theater. It was as if the moment I met these characters, I was captivated by every word. These characters didn’t just exist for me. They lived. I grew so attached to them and their unique stories. I loved Ella. She was wholly inspiring. She was so real, so raw, so relatable. Her insecurities, her past mistakes, her struggles with perfectionism. All of it was so very relatable for me. I loved her and her story. And her faith and relationship with God was so, so inspiring. When she decided to dance for God, I was so inspired to use my gifts for Him too. I cried. The hero was amazing. Amazing. I fell in love with his character before I knew it happened. He has become my favorite hero of Joanna’s books, and that’s saying a lot. I can’t say much for spoilers, but I was quite in love. The romance was beautiful and everything I ever want in a book’s love story. It entirely satisfied my romantic-loving heart. It was perfect. So, so perfect. I loved these two characters with all my heart. The faith was beautiful. It was woven so beautifully into the story. I was left so inspired. So hopeful. The writing. Oh, how can I describe how much I love the writing? It’s absolutely beautiful. It’s lyrical and poetic while also being so very real. There’s such a distinction, tone, and grace in Joanna’s writing. I love it. I laughed, I cried, I felt. There were so many great plot twists. The mystery was so very compelling. I was so reluctant to put this book down that I didn’t. I couldn’t get my head out of this book. Literally. I finished it within hours. I’m so glad I read it on a lazy Sunday otherwise my mind would not have been at peace. The historical details were so intriguing. The setting was wonderfully neat. The 1838 theater and ballet was so interesting. I loved it! The ending was the BEST. It was beyond perfect. I can’t say how very happy it made me. I felt like crying just by the sheer beauty of it. I love reading Joanna’s books. I discovered her books last year, and I’m forever grateful that I did. I knew then that she would be one of my TOP favorite authors, and every book she publishes proves that. I come back to her books because they aren’t merely entertainment for me. I come to her books because they change me. They inspire me, encouraging me to be better and grow in my relationship with God. And that’s invaluable. Something a lot of books can’t do. Not only am I swept away by the story, I’m inspired to live my life for my Savior. A Midnight Dance was everything I hoped it would be but so, so much more. It was beautiful and I loved it. It made it straight to my list of favorite books. It’s one of those books I know I will reread over and over again. The story is timeless. I’m beyond excited for her future books. If you’re a lover of historical fiction— read this book. Even if you aren’t, this book is amazing and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the least. *I received this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Monzon

    This book held within its pages as much grace and drama as ballet itself. Politano is an artist, painting pictures with her words and digging deep to far corners of ever readers’ hearts. I loved this unique view into the history of theater and ballet and how we can worship God in the form of dance. The mystery woven within kept me turning the pages until the very last with a satisfied sigh.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Hall

    Characters: Ella was my favorite character in this novel, probably because she was the primary narrator. I felt like I knew her way better than I knew Jack. Which brings me to Jack ... He didn't have a scene from his perspective until approximately 150 pages in, plus he had a reputation as a womanizer that was never entirely cleared up. I'm not at all a fan of womanizers portrayed as attractive in books (or in real life), and I struggle when they're presented as good matches for the main ladies. Characters: Ella was my favorite character in this novel, probably because she was the primary narrator. I felt like I knew her way better than I knew Jack. Which brings me to Jack ... He didn't have a scene from his perspective until approximately 150 pages in, plus he had a reputation as a womanizer that was never entirely cleared up. I'm not at all a fan of womanizers portrayed as attractive in books (or in real life), and I struggle when they're presented as good matches for the main ladies. Language: Clean. Moral: The moral had to be one of my favorite parts of this book. I enjoyed seeing Ella learn she could worship God through her ballet. I found it a little strange, however, that Jesus wasn't mentioned in Ella's account of being saved (at least not that I remember ... my brain was struggling). Plot: Fair warning ... my brain wasn't working the best when I read part of this book, but some of the plot seemed like those weird dreams you have when you're sick. You know, really foggy and just a little convoluted. I also felt like important plot points were skimmed over and/or not explained well until the very end (Jack and Ella's spat and Ella's big secret). I really loved the setting, however. I don't believe I've ever read a book about ballet set in England during the 1830s. Romance: Clean. I didn't like how Ella didn't seem to care all that much that Jack wasn't a Christian. She kissed him and got way closer to him than was responsible when he was an unbeliever. Writing: Joanna has an engaging writing style that fit the mood of this book well. Overall: A Midnight Dance was an entertaining read, and I'd recommend it to those who enjoy Christian historical romances. Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher/author. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chautona Havig

    Perfection. Would you expect anything less of Joanna Politano? Of ballet? And yet, in the perfection of this story, we see the "inclusions" of lives lived with true flaws and the sparkle they amplify. I loved that illustration in the story. But A Midnight Dance is more than a story... it is a dance! It spins, sweeps, hides, and bursts onto the stage at just the right intervals. Center stage glows with the beauty of a solo, a pas de duex, an entire company. Relationships are all you hope for and n Perfection. Would you expect anything less of Joanna Politano? Of ballet? And yet, in the perfection of this story, we see the "inclusions" of lives lived with true flaws and the sparkle they amplify. I loved that illustration in the story. But A Midnight Dance is more than a story... it is a dance! It spins, sweeps, hides, and bursts onto the stage at just the right intervals. Center stage glows with the beauty of a solo, a pas de duex, an entire company. Relationships are all you hope for and nothing that they seem. The story? Equally mystifying and compelling. Jealousy, love, anger, betrayal, joy, trust. And through it all, the love of a Father poured out on His children. Can they feel it? Will they allow themselves the wonder of a Daddy's protective care? The music of the tale carries it along until the reader gasps for breath at the crescendo. In other words, this is one brilliant story that will keep you riveted to the story until the last page. You don't want to miss it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    "I live every time I dance onstage." YOU GUYS. This book is absolutely stunning. It is on another level and I am blown away at Joanna Davidson Politano's ability to write such beautiful stories that pull you in like no other. After the first chapter alone, I knew in my bones that this would be a book I loved. And I desperately wanted to ignore my real life responsibilities so I could spend more time reading. I absolutely loved that this book was about ballet and set in the theater. There is an ethe "I live every time I dance onstage." YOU GUYS. This book is absolutely stunning. It is on another level and I am blown away at Joanna Davidson Politano's ability to write such beautiful stories that pull you in like no other. After the first chapter alone, I knew in my bones that this would be a book I loved. And I desperately wanted to ignore my real life responsibilities so I could spend more time reading. I absolutely loved that this book was about ballet and set in the theater. There is an ethereal beauty that ballet embodies, and this book infused that sense of wonder and magic into the pages, both when the characters were dancing, and when they were on adventures offstage. This book was such a delight. From the rivalries and friendships, to the mystery and adventures, all in the midst of dance, I was so invested in this story. Ella's struggle drew me in, and watching her wrestle between the certainty that dance was what she's made to do and the uncertainty of how to pursue that dream had me eager to read more. And with the twist at the end, I was nearly in tears, it had my heart bursting with happiness. I absolutely loved it. What a hero. If you want to read a book with lyrical writing about vibrant characters who are full of life, with a dash of mystery and the romantic essence of dance, I hope you choose to read this book. JDP is a master storyteller, and her books are well worth your time. “We can talk about me if you wish, but I’d much rather speak of the God for whom I dance.” I received a gifted copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. These are my honest and personal thoughts on the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nora St Laurent

    This is an enthralling novel I could not put down. This master wordsmith pens and engaging theatrical story, getting readers caught up in the misfortune that befell Ella Blythe. Her mother trained her, passed down her love of ballet and theater. Ella would do her best to continue her mothers’ legacy. She secretly hopes to find answers to her mothers’ past and desires to dance with principal dancer Phillippe. It’s a dream, but one could only hope it to come true. Ella does her best to track down This is an enthralling novel I could not put down. This master wordsmith pens and engaging theatrical story, getting readers caught up in the misfortune that befell Ella Blythe. Her mother trained her, passed down her love of ballet and theater. Ella would do her best to continue her mothers’ legacy. She secretly hopes to find answers to her mothers’ past and desires to dance with principal dancer Phillippe. It’s a dream, but one could only hope it to come true. Ella does her best to track down answers at the Ghost of Craven Street Theater. She needed to know what really happened the night of the fire that changed everything. This author does a brilliant job of sweeping readers into the magic of theater and the fierce competition between dancers to get coveted roles. Ella Blythe auditions to be part of the core, she didn’t want to be in the spotlight. But the judges see something in her, she can’t hide. They wonder where this girl came from. What training did she have? Where did she learn to dance so unconventionally? I loved the theatrical setting and how the author made readers feel all the nervousness of the performers and then shows how Ella learned to set herself free (in body and mind) to dance the part she was made to play. It all comes together for her and the reader. Loved this haunting, hopeful novel that is a surprising mystery, memorable read, and one that would work well for your next book club pick and/or read for pure fun. Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Nora St. Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! The Book Club Network blog www.bookfun.org

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dana Michael

    I know basically nothing about ballet and yet after reading A Midnight Dance I am in awe. The author did a fantastic job of enlightening me without overwhelming me. The book was beautiful, lyrical and mysterious. The ending blew my mind and and was one of the most romantic and surprising endings I have ever read. I enjoyed this book very much. *I was given a copy of this book by the publisher and this is my honest opinion

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Cox

    FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book. These are my honest thoughts. This was my most-anticipated book of 2021. I’m not sure yet what I think about it. In one way, I feel very misled by a couple of things. The back blurb and meet-cute both indicated a certain romance was going to take place, but the story took a weird turn on that front. While I grew to enjoy certain aspects of the romantic thread and rather adored the finale, it wasn’t anything like what I’d been led to bel FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book. These are my honest thoughts. This was my most-anticipated book of 2021. I’m not sure yet what I think about it. In one way, I feel very misled by a couple of things. The back blurb and meet-cute both indicated a certain romance was going to take place, but the story took a weird turn on that front. While I grew to enjoy certain aspects of the romantic thread and rather adored the finale, it wasn’t anything like what I’d been led to believe it would be. In another way, this story grew on me and wrapped me in a vintage era that felt very much like home. The atmosphere in this book helped the story slowly sift past my defenses at the aforementioned deception. The words chosen created such vivid imagery that I found myself immersed in a different time and place and wanted to stay in the fantastical ballet-and-circus world the author created. I struggled to understand why Mr. Dorian had such a sullied reputation. While he was known as a flirtatious playboy who could have any of the female dancers he wanted, the character I got to know on the page wasn’t anything close to that sort. Why did he have such a terrible reputation? That thread did not make any sense to me at all, because what I saw was a kind, generous, compassionate gentleman. His personality was in direct contrast with his reputation, and the two never melded for me. It was very clear throughout that he cared greatly about wanting to keep the leading lady’s reputation intact, further instilling his gentlemanly qualities. The circus bits were fascinating. It wasn’t really full-blown circus stuff, but that made it even more special. It was like stepping into the behind-the-scenes, day-to-day aspects of the circus, and I loved that. To glimpse what it might have been like to be an intrinsic part of the circus was mesmerizing and utterly fantastic. I would love to see a circus story or two by this author’s hand. Pretty please, Mrs. Politano??? The red shoes got lost for half the book. They were stolen pretty early on, but after a brief worry and rummage, the leading lady simply went on about her everyday life. So why were those shoes so important to her again? She apparently forgot they were one of her last ties to her dead mother. I wanted to feel urgency in discovering who had stolen them and why. I wanted there to be a heart-pounding search and investigation into the matter and a yearning to have them returned. Instead, the leading lady randomly stumbled onto the shoes at one point, which was very anticlimactic and not something she’d actively pursued. She’d quite forgotten about that memento of her mom’s that she’d cherished in the opening scenes. The cover is exquisite and sets a beautiful tone for this story. There’s something romantic and atmospheric and utterly amazing about the color scheme and saturation, the wistful, reminiscent pose of the ballerina, and the lyrical typeface of the title that really called to me when I originally saw it. Those things still drew me in every time I picked up this book to read a little more in the time I found between work obligations and family time. Because of the abovementioned issues that bothered or confused me, it took me about three weeks to read a book that I thought I’d guzzle in three days. However, now that I know the ins and outs of the story and which aspects I didn’t understand on my first read, I have a feeling this story will continue to grow on me through another two or three reads. It’s one I really want to love, so I’ll be giving it another chance. The final several chapters did bump my rating up from three to four stars, because some things came to satisfactory ends and the climax of the ballet swept me away so that I kept flipping pages as quickly as I could. The big secret that I didn’t even realize until late that Ella was keeping close didn’t make sense to me. It seemed to come out of nowhere. Even when it was “revealed,” she didn’t come out and say what the secret was, so I’m still not sure I fully understand what had happened and if it had indeed happened to Ella or not. Maybe I’ll understand that part better next time. This book definitely had some mesmerizing qualities. It was lyrical and vintage and exquisite at times. I will likely read it again in coming years, and I believe a lot of readers will adore it. Content: pub, drunkenness, gambling on a woman’s virtue, swearing by “heaven’s name” and “all that is holy,” tobacco, prostitutes mentioned, statues of Greek mythology, alcohol

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christine Indorf

    .Ella goes off to become a ballerina when her Mother, a famous ballerina herself that was burnt in a fire at the theater. There she wants to know the mystery behind her accident and also meet her father. She soon befriended Jack a worker at the theater. Together they are out to solve the mystery. Will they stop only at the mystery or will they fall in love themselves. First of all I love books that sound like poetry and this one did. The relationship with Jack and Ella is perfect. Jack funny and .Ella goes off to become a ballerina when her Mother, a famous ballerina herself that was burnt in a fire at the theater. There she wants to know the mystery behind her accident and also meet her father. She soon befriended Jack a worker at the theater. Together they are out to solve the mystery. Will they stop only at the mystery or will they fall in love themselves. First of all I love books that sound like poetry and this one did. The relationship with Jack and Ella is perfect. Jack funny and not series blends with Ella serious nature, At first she doesn't like him because of the rumors of him but they soon form a friendship. I was routing for Jack on his entrance. Both characters are so well written by the middle of the book they seem like old friends. Ella finds some sad truths in this book, but her faith doesn't only help her dancing but her relationships, she only needed to trust. I heard a lot of recommendations on this book and I can tell all of you it is so worth the read. It will make you n feel like dancing yourself so be ready!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    All I had to do was be still, cease striving, and know. Know, as I knew breathing and gravity and Mama's love. help I've fallen in love with this story and I can't get up. In equal parts, I want to shout from the rooftops how much I loved it and hold it quietly close to my heart and never let go. I haven't read any of this author's books before now, but rest assured I will be devouring her backlist sooner rather than later. "A Midnight Dance" is an enchanting, haunting, deeply moving story of how All I had to do was be still, cease striving, and know. Know, as I knew breathing and gravity and Mama's love. help I've fallen in love with this story and I can't get up. In equal parts, I want to shout from the rooftops how much I loved it and hold it quietly close to my heart and never let go. I haven't read any of this author's books before now, but rest assured I will be devouring her backlist sooner rather than later. "A Midnight Dance" is an enchanting, haunting, deeply moving story of how God has His plan for us in place before we can see it ourselves. There's a bit of mystery, some fascinating characters, and so much love for dance that I ended up unashamedly twirling instead of walking around my house when I couldn't read. Dance has been a part of my life since I was very young, but at this moment in time, I haven't been able to go to class in over a year, and this book brought a yearning to be back like I haven't felt in a long time. The faith content was just... amazing. I will always love a novel where the main character is firmly rooted in their faith, and their biggest desire is to know God better, and do what He's called them to do. (Don't get me wrong, a salvation story is great ((we get one of those in here too)) but as someone who's been a Christian for a long time, I just don't see as much representation of that as I'd like.) God used this book for me, and I know I won't be the only one. I loved the mystery element here, it was so well done. The story peels back layer after layer as the plot progresses, where we learn new things about the characters and history, and each twist felt nicely placed, and nothing felt like a left turn. It made sense, as much as some of it hurt, and I enjoyed that a lot. ((also yes I am a little in love with Jack Dorian. he'd drive me crazy in real life, but he's prime book boyfriend material, lol)) Overall, this is definitely going to be amongst my favorites of the year, just from how it made me feel. I don't think it's going to leave me for a long while. Five stars from me! **I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.**

  17. 4 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    Exquisite! Ella Blythe is looking for her history, her identity. But she is also looking for her true worth in God. She thinks she is not good enough. “God had drawn near to her, and though she seemed to wrestle with how it all fit together in her life, God was part of who she was.” Steeped in the romance of ballet in Regency London, this story was like a Degas painting. The author deposits you in the world of the theater, complete with a shadowy dance and a disguised partner who haunts Ella for Exquisite! Ella Blythe is looking for her history, her identity. But she is also looking for her true worth in God. She thinks she is not good enough. “God had drawn near to her, and though she seemed to wrestle with how it all fit together in her life, God was part of who she was.” Steeped in the romance of ballet in Regency London, this story was like a Degas painting. The author deposits you in the world of the theater, complete with a shadowy dance and a disguised partner who haunts Ella for years. This is more than a romance. It is historical delight. Mystery abounds and Ms. Politano deftly reveals the surprises at the perfect places. She drafts a kindly hero who wants the best for the heroine. He wants to woo her. He wants her to love him for who he truly is and not who the heroine perceives him to be. “He stared right through those filmy layers of ambiguity I had attempted to erect and demanded the truth with one quick jolt of his eyebrow.” Beautiful words seem to flow effortlessly from the pen of this author: Ella realizes “My despair began to lift, and a light cut through the shadow of my ‘not enough’. I had, after all, something to offer the world, and it was God. A glimpse of what He can do.” This author keeps getting better. This is a top read of this year. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Library Thing Early Reviewers. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marian Baay

    This is not your typical historical romance. It's fresh and original, full of pleasant surprises in the various twists and turns. I could not stop reading once I started. A book by Joanna Davidson Politano is something to look forward to each year. I hope she keeps them coming! Exceptional storyline and utterly delightful! This is not your typical historical romance. It's fresh and original, full of pleasant surprises in the various twists and turns. I could not stop reading once I started. A book by Joanna Davidson Politano is something to look forward to each year. I hope she keeps them coming! Exceptional storyline and utterly delightful!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brooklyne E.

    At first, I was skeptical. Like, really really skeptical. I hadn’t even read the book yet before I had some preconceived notions about whether I was going to like it or not. First, this was a new-to-me author. Second, I’m not too keen on books written in 1st person. I know, I know, call me old-fashioned, but sometimes Historical fiction doesn’t flow as well if the book’s in 1st person. Third, it’s about a ballerina. I don’t know what it is about ballet, but all the pink and the tulle and the tip At first, I was skeptical. Like, really really skeptical. I hadn’t even read the book yet before I had some preconceived notions about whether I was going to like it or not. First, this was a new-to-me author. Second, I’m not too keen on books written in 1st person. I know, I know, call me old-fashioned, but sometimes Historical fiction doesn’t flow as well if the book’s in 1st person. Third, it’s about a ballerina. I don’t know what it is about ballet, but all the pink and the tulle and the tiptoes… *cough* I’m just not into that sort of thing I guess. Soooo, with all that said, I just wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up to read and review A Midnight Dance. And let me tell you, I was a bit caught off guard with how well I liked it! I actually couldn’t put it down, it was so good. The characters. Ella Blythe was the main character and her story was heartbreaking & beautiful & full of growth throughout the pages. She first came across as extremely naive and the daydreaming type. These character traits really made her stand out against the other ballet crowd. She had quite the burdens to carry around and yet we see throughout her dance (both onstage and off) that she strove to rely on God’s strength. I can’t say I related a lot with her character, but I did like how she was so unique… also, she was a perfectionist and that was about the only thing Ella and I had in common. With the help of some not-so-subtle shoves by Jack, Ella found her wings to fly without the constraints of fearing “not enough” as a perfectionist. Jack Dorian. I found him to be annoyingly sweet and irritatingly perfect for Ella. At first, the guy was so annoying, unpredictable, and full of himself. But in his usual Jack fashion, his spontaneous and unusual training strategies won over in the end. After the day at the circus, his story started to grow on me and I rooted for him after knowing more of his growing up years. He was still a little pushy, but in a goofy well-meaning sort of way. I would have liked to see his character grow a little more and maybe share more of the spotlight with a bigger POV. With the other side characters in mind, I would have liked to see less loose ends and more stories wrapped up. We saw a lot of glimpses into side characters (Lily, Mama Jo, Philippe, Marcus de Silva, and Fournier) but was only left with what could have been. The book’s main focus was on Delphine Bessette’s story/mystery and less on the side characters. The setting & plot. There’s something about this book that SO reminded me of The Greatest Showman. I don’t know if it’s the contrasting of poverty and riches or if it was the outcasts that the ballet dancers were deemed in that era. But yeah, for some reason I kept thinking of The Greatest Showman (lol, it could have been the trapeze scene *winks*). Lets just say, I would not want to be in the theater industry at that time in history! This book really showed a glimpse of how hard, unforgiving, and messy it actually was at the time. The plot was so intricate and detailed. I loved the complexity and mysticalness of it. However, my head was spinning just trying to keep up with so many plot twists and trying to solve the backstory mysteries. If you were to ask me to sum up the plot for you in a paragraph, I couldn’t! You’d just have to read the book for yourself ‘cause I’m still not exactly sure what all happened there at the end. Concluding thoughts. This book was written with such pose and raw authenticity. The quality of writing style was perfect for the Victorian England era. Most authors aim to “show not tell,” Politano has definitely achieved that standard! One last point I’ll make before wrapping up, I really appreciated the message in this book. It was all about finding one’s identity. The characters both had a lot of family drama and secrecy laced throughout their childhoods. These events shaped their worldview and it was hard for them to break away from shame and the feeling of being unwanted. I liked seeing how Ella (and Jack?) eventually allowed God to fill those holes in her life. True identity is found through Christ (no matter ones background) and not in the world’s acceptance. Also, the world is full of beauty and life is too short not to dance once in a while! (*whispers* you’ll most likely find me dancing to something just a lil bit different than ballerina music tho!) If you are a fan of family tree mysteries, a smidgen of fairytale romance, and red ballet slippers, then I’d gladly recommend A Midnight Dance!! ***Thank you Revell Reads for a complimentary copy. All thoughts are my own!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Elisabeth

    I’m going to be completely honest. For the first 250ish pages of this book, I was very bored. There were multiple points while reading where I thought to myself “I do not understand the hype surrounding this book.” First off, I’m not a fan of ballet or any dance, and I’m also not thrilled with how the author tried to mix God and dance. Which is why I’ve decided to lower my rating by a star. Second I felt like the plot of finding out what happened to Delphine was forgotten about for a while, and a I’m going to be completely honest. For the first 250ish pages of this book, I was very bored. There were multiple points while reading where I thought to myself “I do not understand the hype surrounding this book.” First off, I’m not a fan of ballet or any dance, and I’m also not thrilled with how the author tried to mix God and dance. Which is why I’ve decided to lower my rating by a star. Second I felt like the plot of finding out what happened to Delphine was forgotten about for a while, and all we saw was Ella practicing and practicing and not feeling like she was good enough. And honestly I cared about Delphine’s story more than Ella’s. But by the last hundredish pages, when the twists and reveals started happening, I was hooked! It was a pretty good book overall.

  21. 4 out of 5

    MJSH

    "I had so little of it myself, but giving love away filled something deep within, where the cracks had become far too large." This has to be the most intricately woven, exquisitely crafted, emotion-filled work from Joanna Davidson Politano yet. And that's saying a lot since I have loved every one of her books. Told in her usual style of first person perspective from the heroine and a smattering of third person voices from other characters, including the hero, the book combines history and culture "I had so little of it myself, but giving love away filled something deep within, where the cracks had become far too large." This has to be the most intricately woven, exquisitely crafted, emotion-filled work from Joanna Davidson Politano yet. And that's saying a lot since I have loved every one of her books. Told in her usual style of first person perspective from the heroine and a smattering of third person voices from other characters, including the hero, the book combines history and culture of ballet in 1830s London, heart-stuttering tender romance, fantastic mystery and suspense, deep spiritual contemplation with lyrical and melodic writing, unforgettable characters, and an unexpected but utterly captivating plot. I loved Jack and his bold, optimistic outlook on life even though so many tragedies mar his past. Ella started out naive, somewhat narrow-minded, and judgmental but really matured through the story. There are so many secrets surrounding the theater being slowly unveiled that you won't be able to put the book down. Themes like sense of belonging and significance, being truly loved for self, and God's relentless pursuit of us are seamlessly threaded throughout the story. If you're looking for mesmerizing historical romance, you need to read this book. I received the book from Baker Publishing via Interviews & Reviews and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Wow! Simply wow! This is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year. Ms. Politano has created a stunning masterpiece. With an original plot, memorable characters and a profound message, I was captivated. Lyrically written, Ms. Politano draws her reader into the ballet world of the Victorian era. The emotional range within her characters, their different beliefs and motivations had a compelling effect. I cherished every word and every emotion that found their way into my heart. I received a co Wow! Simply wow! This is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year. Ms. Politano has created a stunning masterpiece. With an original plot, memorable characters and a profound message, I was captivated. Lyrically written, Ms. Politano draws her reader into the ballet world of the Victorian era. The emotional range within her characters, their different beliefs and motivations had a compelling effect. I cherished every word and every emotion that found their way into my heart. I received a complimentary copy from the author/publisher through Netgalley. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rosalyn

    This book is just one more stunning masterpiece by the talented writer Joanna Davidson Politano. I loved reading about Ella and her life as a ballerina in the mid 1800s, in London. Because of her lowly circumstances in life, Ella is only able to be trained in ballet due to a scholarship. But is in her very blood, and she dances ballet as though she was born doing it. This is her story. And Ms. Politano reveals it to us one teeny, tiny, tantalizing little piece at a time. First, we see Ella finding This book is just one more stunning masterpiece by the talented writer Joanna Davidson Politano. I loved reading about Ella and her life as a ballerina in the mid 1800s, in London. Because of her lowly circumstances in life, Ella is only able to be trained in ballet due to a scholarship. But is in her very blood, and she dances ballet as though she was born doing it. This is her story. And Ms. Politano reveals it to us one teeny, tiny, tantalizing little piece at a time. First, we see Ella finding some very old, but well known crimson ballet slippers. She is determined to keep these safe. Her life is a big puzzle. Life in the ballet company, there at the theater, is no walk in the park. There is danger. Mystery. And much more. In addition to Ella's story, there is the story of a certain famous ballerina, from an early time period, with lots of mystery surrounding her life. Ella is determined to unravel the mystery and discover the truth of what happened all those years earlier. This is a story of searching for one's identity, belonging, and more. Each chapter is woven together with beautifully crafted word pictures, and we are left with an exquisite masterpiece. If you enjoy historical novels with hints of mystery tangled throughout, you won't want to miss this one! Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Scott

    The prose of A Midnight Dance is gorgeous. There's a lyrical flow to this book as graceful as a ballet itself. Highly recommended. The prose of A Midnight Dance is gorgeous. There's a lyrical flow to this book as graceful as a ballet itself. Highly recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Joanna Davidson Politano is one of those authors who I will pick up any books she writes so when I got the opportunity to review her latest, I jumped on it!!! Could a book have more plot twists? I'm not sure. One surprise after another kept my head spinning. I think I'll need to read it a few more times to really have everything down and the surprises don't stop until the very end. There are so many identities and different angles to a story that Ella thinks she knows. I don't want to spoil the Joanna Davidson Politano is one of those authors who I will pick up any books she writes so when I got the opportunity to review her latest, I jumped on it!!! Could a book have more plot twists? I'm not sure. One surprise after another kept my head spinning. I think I'll need to read it a few more times to really have everything down and the surprises don't stop until the very end. There are so many identities and different angles to a story that Ella thinks she knows. I don't want to spoil the story though :) This story makes me want to dance. I found it interesting how people loved to attend the theater but looked down upon those who provided the enjoyment. Something I love in books is when something the character enjoys and is good at becomes their worship and the common becomes sacred. I liked seeing how Ella's relationship with ballet grew and changed over the course of the book. I was disappointed that this book does not have the little quotes at the beginning of each chapter that Politano's previous books did. I loved reading them and how they so powerfully portrayed and conveyed the truth themes of the book. But while those blurbs were missing, the themes were not. Mostly they came out of the mouth of... another character. This is perhaps my favorite part of the book, for its applications to so many things we have tarnished: "Ballet is many things... but it was always meant... for the pleasure of its primary admirer - the king... Others have always been allowed to look on, but is was always, from the start, meant primarily for the king. A great many things that were originally noble and beautiful have been tarnished by this world, but that doesn't change what they were originally created to be." God hadn't been taken out of the theater. Oh no, we were not big enough for that. There are themes of searching and redemption in this book, searching out the truth among lies, but I would say the biggest theme is where you are focusing your gaze. What are you seeking and reaching out to grab hold of? All wrapped up in the beauty of dance. Many thanks to Revell for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and a favorable review was not required.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kelly-Ann ~ Sassy Bookish Mama

    Goodness gracious I just don't even know what to say to let you know how AMAZING this book is. I also don't know how to word this review without giving you anything away as it would completely ruin the story if I do. This is the second book I have read by Politano and so far she has not disappointed. She has such an amazing gift at captivating you and pulling you into the story as soon as you start reading. She infuses mystery and intrigue in such a way that makes the book incredibly hard to put Goodness gracious I just don't even know what to say to let you know how AMAZING this book is. I also don't know how to word this review without giving you anything away as it would completely ruin the story if I do. This is the second book I have read by Politano and so far she has not disappointed. She has such an amazing gift at captivating you and pulling you into the story as soon as you start reading. She infuses mystery and intrigue in such a way that makes the book incredibly hard to put down. We meet some great characters in this story. Right away we meet Ella Blythe who desperately wants to realize her dream of becoming a ballerina while still honoring her mother's wishes. Even though she was a bit frustrating at times I loved that passion for following her dream and her love for God was so realistic. We also meet Philippe who is the principal ballet dancer and Ella dreams of dancing with him and Jack Dorian who definitely took me by surprise especially after meeting him in the story as a "ladies man". I can't tell you too much on these characters without giving too much away but know that Politano writes them with such depth that you can't help but getting immersed into their lives and wanting to know what is going to happen to them. I will say I learned quite a lot of things about ballet that I didn't know about and boy are those ballet dancers ruthless. I guess you do find that in every kind of sport. You just never think of anything like that in such a beautiful dance. If you enjoy mystery, there is plenty of it in this story. Romance? Of course there is and it was dreamy!! Is this book worth you getting? 10000% yes!! Go grab it now! I promise you will not be able to put it down. Now I must wait patiently as I await another one of her books. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    Once upon a time I did ballet. I was seven. It wasn't complicated. It was not on some high level, but it was ballet. I quit. I can't really remember why. I assume I was scared to get serious, to make it a chore instead of something just for fun. But when I watch ballet it looks like freedom. And if there's one thing I always crave and search for it's freedom. So, when I saw this book on Netgalley I pressed request before I could think about it. I hoped to find a bit of freedom in this book. The a Once upon a time I did ballet. I was seven. It wasn't complicated. It was not on some high level, but it was ballet. I quit. I can't really remember why. I assume I was scared to get serious, to make it a chore instead of something just for fun. But when I watch ballet it looks like freedom. And if there's one thing I always crave and search for it's freedom. So, when I saw this book on Netgalley I pressed request before I could think about it. I hoped to find a bit of freedom in this book. The atmosphere of this book is amazing. The writing style in this book is in some way poetic and it feels like there is a rhythm, a cadence in the words and sentences. It's almost like the book doesn't just use descriptions to make us experience and envision the ballet scenes, it also uses its word to make us hear and feel and read the music and the steps. Therefore I flew through the book, almost literally, because despite the sometimes heavy story the words felt featherlight. Of course the ballet scenes played a huge part in the story, but all the described scenes had a meaning, had a deeper layer, were more than just a dancing scene. The ballet scenes our heroine danced, mirrored her life experience, her growth as both a dancer and a person, the history she was trying to uncover and explore. The dancing followed the plot, it grew with both every new discovery and revelation, just like it changed with the mood of our heroine. Therefore it felt like the heroine really came to life, just like her love interest. Of course we're mostly experiencing this journey through her eyes, which helps to understand her, to connect with her and to root for her. Throughout the story I fell a little bit in love with her and I fell in love along side her. Just like I really enjoyed her relationship with God. There were quite a few powerful scenes where our heroine bloomed and glowed and at the end of the book I had this huge satisfied smile on my face.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    I’m sitting here in tears as I write this review. A Midnight Dance is one of the most gorgeous, exquisitely written stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I was already audibly gasping at the first chapter, and I was in tears at the end. Joanna Davidson Politano has a talent for creating characters the reader will inevitably become attached to, and these characters will always hold a very special place in my heart. This is the second book I’ve read by Politano, and now I know for certain I’m sitting here in tears as I write this review. A Midnight Dance is one of the most gorgeous, exquisitely written stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I was already audibly gasping at the first chapter, and I was in tears at the end. Joanna Davidson Politano has a talent for creating characters the reader will inevitably become attached to, and these characters will always hold a very special place in my heart. This is the second book I’ve read by Politano, and now I know for certain that her books will take me on an emotional roller coaster. Her stories are less predictable, in terms of the ending, than the ones I usually read, which was wonderfully frustrating and ultimately fulfilling. A Midnight Dance features the most perfect twists I can recall ever reading. I actually had to set the book down for a moment when I was near the end. In part because I was sobbing uncontrollably, but mostly because I just didn’t want to turn the final pages. As I followed the twists and turns of this story, I knew my rating would come down to the ending, most likely the last chapter. This proved true, and all I can say now is that A Midnight Dance needs to be read by everyone. It is stunningly inspirational, exquisitely romantic, and Politano’s talent shines most vibrantly here. You absolutely cannot miss this book! 5/5 stars I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Connie Saunders

    Joanna Davidson Politano is truly an artist, but her pictures are painted with words, and this book proves once again just how talented she is. A Midnight Dance revolves around a ballerina who deeply doubts her self worth. Ella Blythe loves ballet and possesses an amazing talent, but she feels that she'll never be good enough. She also truly loves God but she believes that His love for her is determined by her abilities and hard work. What will it take for Ella to accept that perfection is impos Joanna Davidson Politano is truly an artist, but her pictures are painted with words, and this book proves once again just how talented she is. A Midnight Dance revolves around a ballerina who deeply doubts her self worth. Ella Blythe loves ballet and possesses an amazing talent, but she feels that she'll never be good enough. She also truly loves God but she believes that His love for her is determined by her abilities and hard work. What will it take for Ella to accept that perfection is impossible, and it isn't necessary to be deeply loved? When will she finally understand God's amazing love and grace? "It's the flaws that tell us when something's real. And what's real...well, that's quite valuable indeed." A Midnight Dance is set in Victorian England and it has mystery, romance, and a strong message of faith woven into its story. Politano includes so many strong elements: the ballet scenes, the mystery of the Ghost of Craven Street Theatre, Ella's infatuation with a lead ballet dancer, and her friendship with another member of the ballet company. There is also a search for her father. A Midnight Dance has so much to savor, and it's an exceptional book that you won't want to miss! I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Revell Reads, but there was no obligation for a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    Ella Blythe has lived a life shrouded in secret, she holds tightly to her precarious position in a shrinking ballet company. Even though she knows the fate of most theater romances, she can't help but hope to catch the eye of principle dancer Phillipe, while avoiding the advances of the flirtatious Jack. A intriguing read, filled with mystery and haunting suspense as secrets from the past are revealed. Ella loves to dance but struggles to find her stride, uncertainty and the ghost of another pro Ella Blythe has lived a life shrouded in secret, she holds tightly to her precarious position in a shrinking ballet company. Even though she knows the fate of most theater romances, she can't help but hope to catch the eye of principle dancer Phillipe, while avoiding the advances of the flirtatious Jack. A intriguing read, filled with mystery and haunting suspense as secrets from the past are revealed. Ella loves to dance but struggles to find her stride, uncertainty and the ghost of another promising dancer haunt her every step. I liked her story arc, and how she learns to deal with anxiety and the unknowns of life on the stage. A well written read, but a slower start, due to it taking awhile for the pieces to start coming together, and eventually giving some answers along with the growing number of questions. Mysterious and evocative, it is a page turning read full of secrets and worthwhile reveals. Definitely picks up speed as it goes along. I really enjoyed seeing Ella grow in her faith, and become more sure of herself. A twisting, and enjoyable read! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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