Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Forest Dancer by Susan Roebuck
Release Date: 20th February 2018
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Genres:  Romantic Suspense

It’s a long way to go to create a new life for yourself.

Classical ballerina, Flora Gatehouse, has no choice but to take a risk. Having failed an important ballet audition in London, she moves to a small cottage in a forest just outside Lisbon, Portugal, her only inheritance following her father’s death. 

Soon, Flora is involved in village life, where fate takes a new twist when she becomes attracted to forest ranger, Marco. But they are off to a shaky start.

Can Flora find acceptance in a foreign land, in a magical place that harbours secrets and heartache?

Two saplings had fallen, perhaps in a recent storm, and one had caught between two larger trees creating a perfect barre at exactly the right height. How could she resist? Especially as she hadn’t worked out for several days and her muscles would already be weakening.
A blackbird screeched a warning (reminding her of the Ballet Master) as she began to warm up her neck, shoulders and arms before moving in to pliés, ensuring that her back remained straight.
The forest was alive, a living being. The light leaking through the upper foliage was golden, an autumnal glow that was filled with dancing seeds, gossamer webs and tiny flies. It brought to mind the music the taxi driver had played on their way to Aurora. The melody of The Moody Blues’ Forever Autumn once again filled her mind, and again she imagined herself dancing in a floaty fine tunic amid falling leaves of all shades and hues of autumn. She worked through the routine of tendus and degagés as the music played in her head. She slowed into a final deep stretch, touching her toes. How good it felt to exercise her muscles again.
As she straightened, ready to try the routine again, her attention was caught by a movement, and she was in time to see a figure in the trees slide into the shadows.
“Marco?” she said, her voice low.
He came into the clearing and gave her a small nod.
“Were you watching me?”
He looked away. “Maybe.”


Classical Ballerina Flora is at a crossroads in her life, both professionally and personally. The death of her father and the fact that her dancing career isn't progressing as it should sees Flora re-evaluate her life. Back problems force her to take the rest her body so desperately needs and when her father's will is read, Flora discovers that while he has left her siblings with very lucrative properties, he has left her an old family holiday cottage in Portugal. While understandably shocked by this, Flora is confident that her father would not have done this without good reason so she makes the trip to Portugal not only to rest but to make a decision about the direction her life needs to take. However, upon arriving at the cottage Flora is surprised to find it is already occupied. And, one of the residents is a very sick little girl. Throw into the mix her moody and extremely attractive father and Flora's life begins to take her in an altogether different direction that she could ever have imagined.

I really enjoyed this book. It had two elements that I love............Portugal and ballet. I've visited Portugal a couple of times and found it to be a beautiful place and I recently dipped a toe into adult ballet lessons. I failed miserably with dancing but it didn't stop me loving it! 

I will admit to instantly disliking Marco when I first encountered him in the book. He was very moody but reading further into his story I could see he had good reason to be. He's a complex and passionate character with a fiery but protective temper and wants to look after those he loves. He's committed also to caring for his beloved forest which is at risk due to a mining company wanting to drill for gas. I did like Flora though sometimes she tried to hard to please everyone but had such a kind heart that it made it difficult not to like her. She seems to be placed in an impossible situation about what to do about the cottage and its residents. She is soon completely caught up in village life and we see a new Flora blossom, her confidence building.

Susan Roebuck has managed to create a wonderful sense of place with the village of Aurora. The villagers, both local and ex pats add a lovely feel of home, friendship and loyalty. It was easy to fall in love with such a beautiful place with the forest representing the heart of the village, breathing life into everything. There is an array of colourful characters all adding substance and authenticity to this novel and I really enjoyed getting to know them all. This is a fantastic book with some mystery and suspense thrown in too. At the heart of it all is love............for friends, family and one another. And, a sense of finding a place where you belong. Definitely a recommended read from me.


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Susan Roebuck was born and bred in the soft south of the UK but was exported to Portugal after meeting her husband in London. She now lives overlooking the mighty Tagus River which is a wonderful source of inspiration.
She loves being in her adopted country and believes that Portugal has a huge heart, which the world should know more about. Portugal also doesn’t appear in many English-language novels and Susan hopes that, now, that will change.
“Forest Dancer” is her fourth novel but it is her second one set in Portugal (in the forests near Lisbon).
“Rising Tide” was her first book (third one published) set in Portugal, in a tiny fishing village on the beautiful, rugged Alentejo coast. One of the themes of this book is man against the sea.
They are both contemporary romance/suspense stories.
Her first novel was “Perfect Score”, set in 1960s USA and is a LGBT romance/suspense covering many social issues of the time – including having to cope with dyslexia.
“Hewhay Hall” is a dark fantasy which won the EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) Award in 2013 in their horror category.
Do pop over to any of her social media sites and say hello. Susan loves to hear from readers.
Blog and Website: http://www.susanroebuck.com

One Response so far.

  1. Thank you so much! What a lovely review xxxxxx

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