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Dancing in the Shadows of Love by Judy Croome

Friday, July 29, 2011
In the haunting “Dancing in the Shadows of Love,” three emotionally adrift women fight to heal their fractured worlds. Not everyone can be a hero. Or can they?

After a decade in prison for a murder she did not commit, Lulu begins a new life at the Court of St Jerome in the Old Sea City. An albino, abandoned as a young child at a Holding Camp for unwanted children, she has always been ostracised, for her difference to others makes her an easy victim of prejudice.

Once, she believed, she had a friend to love her. Then that friend betrayed her and Lulu learned that hate is safer than love. But, from Jamila to Granny Zahra, the people of St Jerome’s appear to accept her into their fold. Against a backdrop of never-ending war, the women of the court fight their personal demons: hatred, ambition and greed. As Lulu shares their victories and their losses, she learns to trust again, perhaps even to love.

Nothing, however, is as it seems and Lulu discovers that love does not always wear the face of the one you yearn to call beloved.

Remarkably areligious and boldly atmospheric, buoyed by touches of magical realism, this compelling story explores the sacrifices people make in the pursuit of a love that transcends everyday existence. Lulu’s quest, and that of Jamila and Zahra too, is to find the divine love that will fulfil their hopes and save their souls...if they can recognise the masks of those who seek to lead them astray.

Good Reads Summary

This is an emotionally powerful book and the reader has to be prepared to allow the author to expand his/her knowledge of forgiveness.  Jamila, Zahra, and Lulu all have complicated, unhappy pasts-Lulu is an albino and Jamila and Zahra lived in poverty and abuse.  The author does an excellent job of developing these characters and helping the reader to understand them and think of them as friends.    The reader will be rooting for these three throughout the novel.  Lulu needs to learn to let go of her own prejudices and trust again while Jamila and Zahra work towards a better life, escaping their past by living well in their futures.  The book is fast-paced, but the reader has enough time to comprehend all of the tough subjects addressed.  The author does not skate over these issues, they are out in the open.  This book is recommended to young adults/adults who enjoy reality fiction. 

4 Stars