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Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves: A Collection of Short Stories [Kindle Edition]

Dianne Ascroft
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 39 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves is a collection of half a dozen short stories. Tales of outsiders who discover they belong, a humorous slice of life yarn, heartwarming love stories and a tale of taming fear. The shadows are on the wall, in the heart and clouding a woman’s memories while tangible foes tramp through the physical landscape.

The stories were previously printed individually in a variety of publications, including Ireland’s Own magazine, Dead Ink Books’ website, and the writing collections, Fermanagh Miscellany and Tuesdays At Charlie’s.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 273 KB
  • Print Length: 39 pages
  • Publisher: Dianne Ascroft (16 Jun. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008C9DUSA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #678,331 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Dianne Ascroft is a Canadian writer living in Britain. Since moving to Britain in 1990 she has lived in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Online she can be found at

She writes both fiction and non-fiction and her fiction often has Irish connections. Her articles and short stories have been printed in Canadian and Irish magazines and regional newspapers including the Toronto Star, Ireland's Own, Senior Times, Celtic Connection and Irish Connections Canada.

She is co-editor and a regular contributor to The Fermanagh Miscellany, the Fermanagh Authors' Association's yearly anthology and she also contributes material to other local history and writers' anthologies.

Dianne is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Historical Novel Society, Writers Abroad, Fermanagh Authors' Association and Fermanagh Writers.

Dianne started life in a quiet residential neighbourhood in the buzzing city of Toronto and has progressively moved to smaller places through the years. She now lives on a small farm in Northern Ireland with her husband and an assortment of strong willed animals. If she ever decides to write her autobiography the working title will be 'Downsizing'.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A collection of heart-warming stories.... 13 Nov. 2012
By Tremse
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The collection of six short stories that make up Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves touch on aspects of life that most of us have experienced such as the unexpected benefits of modern technology, finding yourself somewhere unfamiliar, dealing with the elements to the perils of an over-active imagination.

Each story is well crafted, giving the reader a glimpse into the life of the characters in the stories and how they deal with life's worries and daily trials. The stories are all heart-warming and left me feeling that there can be happy endings as long as we don't jump to the wrong conclusions and enjoy our surroundings and what each new day can bring.

`A link to her past' explains how you're never too old to use technology and the results may be better than you could imagine. `A world apart' shows that new friendships can be found anywhere and we shouldn't jump to the wrong conclusions about people we don't really know. In `Just a cough' Fiona learns the hard way that you can't win a battle against the weather or a snowplough driver, whilst Catherine discovers dreams can come true in `Much more than a dancer' and Karen returns home to Ireland after visiting family in Toronto with a comforting souvenir from her childhood in `Going Home'.

I enjoyed all the stories though my favourite is `Conquering the Shadows' - it took me back to my childhood when we had an open fire and I used to watch the flames flicker and the shadows dance on the wall while the wind howled outside. No matter what shapes the shadows took, the glow of the fire banished any fears leaving a warm and cosy feeling.
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Format:Kindle Edition
It always makes for an intriguing blend when an author draws inspiration from real life when crafting a story. It sets the stage for a richer reading experience. That's why I recommend perusing Dianne Ascroft's bio before diving into the pages of DANCING SHADOWS, TRAMPING HOOVES.

I was struck by the parallels between Dianne and her characters. For me, it made the book even more meaningful since I was able to pick up on the subtle nuances that she instilled in each of the six short stories. By sharing bits and pieces of herself, it allowed her characters to come alive in a way that felt authentic. I was able to connect with them on a deeper level because they were fashioned by a writer exploring her personal struggles and conflicting emotions through her work. And that's great art, taking one's individual circumstances and relating them to the human condition, allowing the reader and the writer to learn and grow together.

Certain passages provided a clear insight into Dianne's mindset, especially the ones centered around her feeling like a duck out of water when she moved from Canada to Ireland. It's interesting that in "A World Apart," the narrator is never named. Told from a first person perspective, we only know her as Connor's wife. She's lost her own identity as she tries to figure out where she belongs in a strange land. The same is true for Karen in "Going Home." She's torn, not sure what place really feels like home, her native Toronto or her current residence in Belfast. In both instances, these adrift characters receive advice from older women who steer their thinking in a new direction, giving them hope and a fresh perspective.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gentle treatise of Irish rural life 11 Jun. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The attractive poetic title' Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves' of Dianne Ascroft's latest collection of short stories indicates the common thread of country life. They have a timeless quality, set against a backdrop of rural Ireland.
Romance and family life in tight-knit communities are universal themes of these beautifully crafted stories. The old worldiness of Ireland is depicted in characters as well as soft enduring landscapes. The Book cover reflects this.
As Canadian who has settled in Northern Ireland, Dianne draws on her experience in some instances. "Going Home' is about a young girl who is about to return to her life in Belfast after visiting her mother in Toronto. It explores an acceptance of the present and letting go of the past.
"Karen thought of her soft-spoken mother-in-law. She had felt welcome at her mother-in-law's white-washed, two-storey farmhouse from the early days, soon after she had moved to Ireland, when she was still treated as a guest and not allowed to help with anything."

In `Much more than a Dancer' the central character battles with self-doubt and her feelings for the local bank manager. She has inherited her father's farm and is managing it herself.
"Catherine looked away, unsure whether she wanted him to notice her or not. She rushed past, keeping her eyes straight ahead and her face an inscrutable mask."

`Conquering the Shadows' aptly describes a mother's fear of the dark and her protective attitude towards her children.
"As a child on her family's farm she had shuddered as she carried buckets of milk to sick calves in the byre on dark winter afternoons."
These are lovely stories to dip into or in my case read straight through. They have a gentle quality, and at the same time give a perceptive insight into Irish country life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming little book
Haviing read Dianne's novel "Hitler and Mars Bars" which was set in rural Ireland just after WW2, I was looking forward to reading some of her short stories. Read more
Published 16 months ago by RAMBLER
4.0 out of 5 stars More please - I wanted to stay in the world of Dancing Shadows much...
I was really happy to read this collection of gentle stories that touch on elements of Irish country life that I get the distinct impression the author has witnessed or experienced... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Dancing Shadows Tramping Hooves
I enjoyed this book mainly because it conveyed the simple pleasures in this life-- as a pleasant distraction from the constant barrage of bad news that assails our senses from... Read more
Published on 25 July 2013 by Maurice Joseph
5.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Collection of Short Stories
Brenda Donnelly, a widow recovering from illness, discovers the power of the Internet - and rediscovers the power of an old love affair. Read more
Published on 22 May 2013 by J. Considine
4.0 out of 5 stars A delightful collection
This is a delightful collection of short stories, influenced by the author's home in Ireland. You can hear the Irish lilt though the conversations between characters. Read more
Published on 22 Nov. 2012 by Ignite
4.0 out of 5 stars The craft of short story writing as it should be
I have read Dianne Ascroft's collection of short stories several times and each time I go back to it I find something new to enjoy. Read more
Published on 20 Nov. 2012 by Francophile
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal Christmas Gift
This collection is a bit like a box of chocolates: everyone will have their favourite. From gentle romance in 'A Link to her Past' and 'Much More than a Dancer' to the fun of 'Just... Read more
Published on 20 Nov. 2012 by E.M. Powell
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