Desert Isle Keeper
Dancing Shoes and Honky-Tonk Blues
Reality TV has landed in Misty Creek, Kentucky by way of Dancing with the Rednecks, a spoof on the popular Dancing with the Stars, produced by the Comedy Corner network (read: the fictional version of Comedy Central). Twelve Average Joes will compete for the grand prize of $50,000, each with the help of a professional dance instructor. Abby Harper is signed up by her brother and doesn’t want to participate … until she realizes the prize money could help fix up her mother’s diner and send her brother to college. She might be a klutz, but she will give it a fighting try.
Rio Martin is the dance instructor assigned to Abby. He knew he was signing up for a reality show, but he didn’t think it was going to be the tongue-in-cheek Dancing with the Rednecks. He’s furious and takes it out on Abby during their first meeting. Tough girl that she is, she doesn’t back down, inspiring Rio to do his best to help Abby win. There is an obvious spark between the left-footed waitress and the sexy Spanish dancer; so much that it’s obvious to everyone around, including the viewing audience.
Rio and Abby fall in love as they go through the torturous dance routines. Abby finds that she can dance and with Rio’s help, she can dance wonderfully. So what’s the problem? Even with the prize money, Abby is still going to be a redneck waitress from Kentucky and Rio is a world class dancer whose orbit doesn’t come close to Abby’s. It’s a tough situation, but Abby is a tough girl. I had faith in her the whole time.
This book was just flat-out fun. From the first page to the last, I wore a stupid grin. Abby is a wonderful character, refreshingly honest and hardworking. She’s proud of her roots, her family and friends, but, when it comes to some of the redneck jokes, she can laugh with the best of them.
Rio is surprisingly well rounded, considering the first person narrative. He’s tall, dark, and handsome… with an accent. And he can dance. I’ll take one right here, thank you very much. Seriously, though, he does have his own share of problems and insecurities that stem from an old lover and her treatment of him. And when that old lover shows up and tries to tangle with his fragile relationship with Abby, he’s not a happy camper.
So, we have a great couple, some good secondary characters, snappy dialogue, and a believable – and interesting – plot. Many books have that, you say? And now your asking what this one has that notched it into DIK territory? I have one word for you… Dancing!
Yes, friends, the dancing is what hooked me in. For an activity that is mainly visual, Ms. McLane wrote the dance scenes so perfectly that I could see every move as if I was watching it live. From the Cha-Cha to the Quickstep, you don’t need to know your way around basic ballroom and Latin dances to understand. You will learn right along with Abby.
The Reality TV aspect was also rather convincing. I’ve read a few books that center around a fictional reality TV show. So far none have come off convincingly, even the ones that were based on an existing show. But I could totally see a comedy channel doing a spoof like this one. This touch of realism made the reading that much more enjoyable.
I’ll admit I did watch the first season of Dancing with the Stars. It was fairly good, but I’m not inclined to watch TV so it quickly moved off my radar. After reading Dancing Shoes and Honky-Tonk Blues, I found myself downloading previous episodes from the current season just to keep the magic alive. Granted the current contestants are no Abby and Rio, but it furthered my imagination a little seeing the real couples doing the dances I read about.
Using my reviewer’s eye while reading, I noticed a few flaws, not that I cared. The ending was a little rushed and I picked up a few repetitive phrases. This should not dissuade you. Who cares about the little things when you’re having this much fun?
You really won’t want to miss Dancing Shoes and Honky-Tonk Blues. I suggest you pick yourself up a copy, find a comfortable place to relax, urge everyone around you to leave you alone for a nice long time, and enjoy.