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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trepidation......
....... that sense of hesitation when you pick up a novel by a favourite author, and wonder if it can live up to expectations. And with Miss Garnet's Angel being one of my all-time favourites, I was indeed hesitant to embark on this trans-Atlantic journey with Salley Vickers.

Violet Hetherington, a recently-widowed lady of mature years, sets out for New York to...
Published on 12 Feb 2012 by annie hughes

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sailing away from the past
Violet, once divorced and once widowed, is on a sea-journey from England to America, planning to meet again a third man, Edwin, with whom she had once had a strong but Platonic friendship. The book alternates between, on the one hand, her encounters with a large cast of her fellow passengers and members of the crew and, on the other, her memories of her past life and...
Published on 11 April 2010 by Ralph Blumenau


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sailing away from the past, 11 April 2010
By 
Ralph Blumenau (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dancing Backwards (Paperback)
Violet, once divorced and once widowed, is on a sea-journey from England to America, planning to meet again a third man, Edwin, with whom she had once had a strong but Platonic friendship. The book alternates between, on the one hand, her encounters with a large cast of her fellow passengers and members of the crew and, on the other, her memories of her past life and relationships. She recalls the several mistakes she has made, each time defying an inner voice which had told her not to make them.

The book is an easy and pleasant read; the main characters are suitably complicated; but I miss the depth of the author's earlier novels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting at times but disappointing overall, 25 Sep 2011
By 
Suzie (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dancing Backwards (Paperback)
Every so often I read another Salley Vickers book in the hope that she has recaptured the magic of Miss Garnet's Angel or The Other Side of You, but so far I've been disappointed.

In this book Violet Hetherington, widowed by the death of her second husband, Ted, embarks on a transatlantic crossing to meet her former mentor, Edwin, whom she has not seen for many years, and with whom she shared a flat and a close but Platonic friendship in their Cambridge days. The story of these earlier years and of her developing relationship with Edwin's jealous and overbearing friend Bruno is interspersed with the details of the voyage to New York. Bruno is a thoroughly unpleasant character, but Vi gets more and more involved with him despite the warning inner voices. Nevertheless, I found this back story the more interesting of the two.

On the liner, Vi has booked an extravagant cabin (or a room, she calls it) with a balcony and a steward who I found immensely irritating. There is a large cast of fellow passengers with confusingly similar names, and by the end of the crossing I really didn't know or care who Les, Ken, Jen, or Baz, or Greg were. Even Des, a member of the ship's crew and Vi's dancing partner, has a three-letter name with an `e' in the middle, although he's known as Dino on board. That she also spent time on deck smoking with him seemed to me improbable.

The three all-too-brief chapters after Vi's arrival in New York, when she meets up with Edwin again, were the best part in my view, even approaching the subtle depth I always hope for from Salley Vickers, but overall I was disappointed with the book. It's pleasant enough but there are plenty of better books to read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars dancing backwards - sally vickers, 24 Jun 2010
By 
Carole king (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dancing Backwards (Paperback)
I really didn't get on with this book. I have loved most of Sally Vickers' works but this one just didn't hit the spot. Violet didn't seem like a character I could see or engage with - unlike Miss Garnet. I think I was hoping that her relationship with her cabin boy would turn out to be the mirror, the key, the meeting that made her jigsaw complete. The most intriguing bit was the disappearance of her ring. The story just drifted as the liner had done across the pond. Will have to re-read Miss Garnets Angel again (4th time) to remind myself of just what a wonderful writer vickers is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trepidation......, 12 Feb 2012
This review is from: Dancing Backwards (Paperback)
....... that sense of hesitation when you pick up a novel by a favourite author, and wonder if it can live up to expectations. And with Miss Garnet's Angel being one of my all-time favourites, I was indeed hesitant to embark on this trans-Atlantic journey with Salley Vickers.

Violet Hetherington, a recently-widowed lady of mature years, sets out for New York to meet an old friend. As she becomes involved with her fellow travellers - and learns to dance - Vi reflects on the events that led to her losing Edwin's friendship, and the impact her decisions made on the subsequent course of her life. During the six days of the crossing Vickers deftly moves between the present day and the sixties, building her central characters with real insight and lightness of touch. My only quibble, and a slight one, is that there are perhaps too many secondary charcters for a novel of only 250 pages.

The jacket suggests that readers who enjoy Marilynn Robinson, Penelope Fitzgerald and Anita Brookner should be reading Salley Vickers. I'd never suggest anyone 'should' be reading anything, but if you enjoyed Miss Garnet, put aside the trepidation and enjoy the voyage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dancing Backward, 23 Nov 2010
By 
Dr. J. Dover (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dancing Backwards (Paperback)
An entertaining novel that requires a little patience to derive maximum pleasure.The style of a parallel narrative between the present and the past takes a little while to get used to, but the overall effect is quite powerful and the use of location- as an inhabitant of Cambridge- I find to be especially authentic.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Takes a while to pull out of port, 15 Sep 2011
By 
Cherry Radford (Brighton, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dancing Backwards (Paperback)
This novel takes a while to pull out of port. It's beautifully written of course, but initially there doesn't seem to be much to love about Vi (a feeling not helped by her hideous name), and there are rather a lot of fellow passengers to get to know. Also, I was expecting her DANCING (given the title) to be more of a stimulus to her memories and understanding - but this didn't really come across to me.

But as the cruise and novel progressed,and I learnt more about her poetic youth and the choices she'd made,I became utterly engrossed in her story. By the end I was as desperate as she was to meet the enigmatic Edwin - and wasn't disappointed.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Salley Vickers going backwards, 21 July 2010
By 
This review is from: Dancing Backwards (Paperback)
This is the first book I've read by Salley Vickers. I had high hopes of a really good read after being told that 'Miss Garnets' Angel', an earlier Vickers book, had had rave reviews.
I enjoyed the introduction when Vi (!), boarded the cruise ship and gave an excellent description of the first few hours on board. Initially the introduction to her characters was appealing - fellow passengers were eccentric, odd and even 'normal' but the book went downhill as the novel progressed. It was full of peculiarly timed reminiscences of her former life - relationships with Edwin, Bruno, Annie, and her very long suffering second husband Ted (with whom she'd lived with but not loved). Ted had obviously been much too good for winsome poetry writing Vi.
Having cruised quite a lot, including transatlantic crossings, I was initially interested in the setting for the story, but became increasingly irritated by Vi's weird behaviour who, whilst on board the 'Queen Caroline' gaily tossed cigarette butts over the side (safety regulations! whilst enjoying late night heart to heart chats with a member of the crew - 'her' dancing instructor. Vi's neurotic interfering steward provided her with a kettle to make tea in her cabin (!); Our heroine referred to her stateroom/cabin as a room and of course had a obligatory precocious child at her table for dinner - (what else?), but even odder, slept with the balcony door open/stood on the balcony in her underwear or nude, (whilst mid Atlantic, once in the fog!)
Whoops! 'Dancing Backwards' is rather corny, didn't offer much in the way of pyschology. Vi was something of a cardboard cutout, but with backbone of steel when it suited her purpose.
A couple Vi's fellow passengers were more interesting characters than Vi!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not my item, 20 April 2014
By 
Mrs. M. Daly (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dancing Backwards (Paperback)
This is not an item I ordered so I cannot comment upon it. This is an error on your behalf.
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3.0 out of 5 stars dissappointing, 6 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Dancing Backwards (Paperback)
Enjoyable but not as good as other books of hers. The plot was a bit dull and didnt leave you wanting to read more and more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Real 1960/70s stuff, 11 Oct 2013
By 
TillyTee (Salisbury, Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dancing Backwards (Paperback)
Not Sally Vickers' best, for what my opinion is worth, but nonetheless very enjoyable. Nice bit of social context though!
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Dancing Backwards by Salley Vickers (Paperback - 4 Mar 2010)
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