Ladies Who Launch

The Dance of Love book launch by Angela Young

(C) Veronika Hyks

(C) Veronika Hyks

Last Thursday my second novel, THE DANCE of LOVE, just published by Buried River Press, was launched from the Barnes Bookshop (which is owned and run by a wonderfully enthusiastic bookseller, Isla Dawes). May the book travel far and wide, gathering readers as it goes. It certainly had a good send-off.

One friend, in her enthusiasm, arrived on Monday and couldn’t understand why the bookshop was closed, but she returned on the right night along with many others. Gill Jackson, MD of Robert Hale, said lovely things about the book (thank you, Gill) and I’d told Isla I thought we’d be about sixty-five people but then, or so I’m told, 10% of invitees to any party never turn up and that turned out to be the case – some were stuck in the traffic jam from hell (I mean from Hammersmith) – but others brought unexpected but exceedingly welcome extra friends, so we ended up with the number of friends I’d thought might come, despite the traffic gods.

My nephews and nieces poured wine, or elderflower, and they’d read the book, bless them, so they promoted as they poured. At least five people said they’d recommend the novel to their book groups (Isla tempted them by offering a 10% discount to anyone buying six or more copies at the same time – and that goes for any book for book groups, not just mine! If you don’t live near Barnes you can order online, here, but speak to Isla first about the discount if you’d like it).

It was a very happy, joyful family occasion. All my family were there because my two younger sisters managed to smuggle my American sister into the country for the launch, which was a gorgeous surprise.

The family of people each book needs to begin its journey out into the world of readers was there: my agent, Heather Holden-Brown; one of the book’s two editors, Celia Hayley; Gill Jackson, representing all at Buried River Press who designed, typeset and printed the book; the book’s promotional filmmaker, Jim Burge, and so many others, too numerous to mention, except for my long-suffering partner, Peter Wise, who listens to me on the bad writing days when I tell him I’ll never write another word, ever again, and then he makes me laugh and so I find my way back to my writing desk. On the morning of the launch, he told me I’d become the latest member of an exceedingly exclusive club called Ladies Who Launch.

And the family of readers, without whom no book lives long, was there in force. So many of them bought the book that Isla sold the fifty copies she’d ordered, long before either Gill or I stood up to say a single word. And one of the last guests to leave said he’d been practising his dance-of-love steps: he waltzed home down Church Road.

So, may The DANCE of LOVE waltz out into the world and stay there, merrily, for a long time to come.

OUT NOW: The Dance of Love by Angela Young

The Dance of LoveAngela Young is a graduate of Middlesex University’s MA in Creative Writing and her first novel, Speaking of Love, was published in 2008. The Dance of Love is her second novel. Angela lives and writes in south-west London.

The Dance of Love

The Dance of Love is a coming-of-age tale that
spans more than two decades of vast change.

Against a backdrop of high Edwardian luxury, Natalie Edwardes is poised on the brink of adulthood and, in an age when a woman’s destiny is decided by marriage, her beauty, wit and money would seem to guarantee her a glittering future. But, isolated by her father’s position as a self-made man, Natalie has never felt at ease in a society bound by a maze of conventions. Heart, for her, will always rule head, and so it seems that an encounter with a dashing yet gentle artist-soldier contains all the seeds of her life’s happiness.

The dance of Natalie’s life whirls her from the glittering ballrooms of London and the grand houses of Scotland and Devon, to the Scottish Highlands. But the strictures of polite society are far-reaching and Natalie’s happiness is abruptly snatched away. She is forced to compromise her romantic ideals and it is only when the tragedy of the Titanic touches
her life, years later, that she discovers what love really means and the heartrending choices it poses.

Buy your copy of The Dance of Love here

Juxtabook reviews The Dance of Love by Angela Young

The Dance of Love Angela YoungJuxtabook describes The Dance of Love by Angela Young as ‘a delight from cover to cover, a bringer of pure pleasure’, adding that ‘this is a truly charming story, beautifully told’.

The review goes on to say that this ‘great treat’ will soon be working its way into ‘becoming a timeless classic’.

The full review can be found at Juxtabook.

To find out just what a Titanic struggle it was for Angela to write the book, check out her guest post here. Alternatively, you can find out more about Angela at her website.

The Dance of Love is available to pre-order now with our paperback imprint Buried River Press.

Angela Young Discusses the Titanic Struggle Behind The Dance of Love

The Dance of Love Angela YoungAngela Young is a graduate of Middlesex University’s MA in Creative Writing and is the author of two novels. In 1995, BBC Books published Angela’s 30,000-word ending to Edith Wharton’s last, unfinished novel, The Buccaneers, a story of love and marriage set among the British aristocracy and the American moneyed classes in late nineteenth-century England.

Speaking of Love is Angela’s first novel. It follows the relationship of a mother and daughter and what happens when people find it difficult to say the things that matter the most. It’s also a novel about hope and the restoration of trust and has been described as ‘beautifully written’ by Joanna Lumley, and ‘suffused with a love of storytelling and a warmth that makes it a pleasure to read’ by the Daily Mail.

Angela’s second novel, The Dance of Love, is a coming-of-age tale set in the same era as Downton Abbey. It spans two decades (1899-1919) of vast historical change and, through the joys and disappointments of its heroine, the beautiful, wealthy but independently minded Natalie Edwardes, it reveals the many faces of love.

Combining fact and fiction in THE DANCE of LOVE

When my agent, Heather Holden-Brown, suggested I write a novel about an ancestor of mine who survived the sinking of the Titanic, I enthusiastically agreed. I researched the era and, of course, the Titanic,but the writing proved difficult.

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that a character who was a wife and a mother, a daughter and a friend and a survivor of the Titanic, would provide the beating heart of a tragic, page-turning story. But, in my hands, she didn’t.

I tried different narrators. I tried beginning in the middle and at the end. I tried a modern frame story. I tried parallel stories. I began work in 2008 but by 2012 – the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking – I still hadn’t written a story with a proper beating heart. By that time I’d worked with two editors, and with Heather, and they’d done their best to help me find the heart of the story. I’m sure other writers would’ve succeeded: the editors asked searching questions and made excellent suggestions. But I hadn’t succeeded so I sent the manuscript to The Literacy Consultancy and, in August 2012, Melissa Marshall wrote this:

At [the novel’s] heart is a complicated love story. But then it steers hugely off course with the Titanic episode. This is a massive story in itself and rather dilutes the impact, importance and credence of the main storyline, which is the story of unrequited love … . I would urge you to consider removing [the Titanic episode] from this story.

You’d think I’d cry when I read that, but I didn’t. I laughed with relief and recognition. I’d been trying to combine fact and fiction without realising – this is my first historical novel – that the two must be seamlessly interwoven and there must be synergy between them. I’d been trying to find a reason for my protagonist to board Titanic (my ancestor’s reason was quite mundane) rather than asking how the tragedy might affect the course of her life.

So … I made the Titanic story serve the complicated loved story (instead of dominating it) and when I realised my protagonist would make a brave and heart-rending decision as a direct result of the sinking (not as a result of being on board herself) I knew I’d found the heart of the story.

I’m delighted Buried River Press are publishing THE DANCE of LOVE on 31st July.

– Angela Young

[This piece first appeared, in a longer version, on Shiny New Books BookBuzz]

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