The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
Published: October 2017 by Swoon Reads
When the music stops, the dance begins.
Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.
But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.
This imprint is unique because it is crowd-sourced in terms of the work, and there are always a ton of manuscripts available to read and explore on the website. The Midnight Dance is one of many that has been picked up for publication by Swoon Reads.
The writing in this novel is absolutely lovely. There are modern day elements weaved together seamlessly with tropes of gothic horror. The synopsis made me think that romance was a key element to this story, however romance is more of an underplayed element, which worked greatly in the stories favour.
The concept and characterization were both very strong and developed in the early chapters. Penny wasn’t a likeable character, but your frustration with her made you want to read more. Interesting, huh?
The Midnight Dance was haunting and mysterious, yet heartwarming. It was an interesting book to read, and while I could definitely see the author developing her writing and craft, I have a good feeling about her future work.
Thank you, Raincoast Books for the review copy.