Reviewed by Kay Brooks
Laura Watkin’s world has revolved around her now grown-up daughter for far too long. With her daughter travelling and living an exotic life, Laura realises all she has got to look forward to is a half-decent day working in a supermarket, a glass of wine and Strictly on the telly. When she decides to finally do something for herself, an accident at Zumba leads her to the feet of fun-loving, dance teacher, Tony Hernandez, a man on the lookout for a dance partner. Laura is transported to the past when her parents would wow the ballrooms of Blackpool with their nifty moves. All of a sudden, Laura finds her life full of passion and fun again but when Tony enters them into a flamenco contest, Laura has to face the demons of her past before she can truly shine as Lola!
Firstly, I was pleased as punch to have a heroine in her forties to read about. Laura is down-to-earth and able to poke fun at her own life. She knows she has let things slip through focusing too much on the life of her daughter, Sophie, who in my opinion is a terriblem spoilt brat! Laura has a brilliantly honest and funny voice. It’s impossible not to like her and want more for her. This is a romantic comedy and chapter titles such as 'Slut Dropping Zumba Queen and Someone Else's Leggings' and 'The Fine Tart of Sexting’ should give you an idea of the laughs you are in for. Some of her conversations with her daughter over Skype had me laughing so loud, my husband wanted me to stop reading to fill him in. Tony is a lovely, warm-hearted man who immediately sees the sparkle in Laura that she can’t see in herself. Although it is funny, I also cried twice along the way, which I think shows how much I grew to care about the characters.
I loved the setting of the novel. When Laura goes to Spain to learn the flamenco, the reader is treated to wonderful scenery and I found myself sharing Laura’s enthusiasm for the culture. The whole story culminates at the Blackpool ballroom, which isn’t far from where I live now and having grown up with a dancing mother, I remember the glamour and glitz of special occasions. I could also sympathise with Laura who feels that she is not as graceful or elegant as her mother was, and is always comparing herself unfavourably to her. Their relationship is strained with so much that has gone unsaid for decades yet it’s not unsalvageable.
Prepare to be transported alongside Laura from humdrum to glitter and sparkle!