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Come Dancing by Leslie Wells Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I promise I won’t tell anyone a famous rock musician wants to take you out. I mean, Jesus, how embarrassing is that.”
It’s 1981, and Julia Nash has recently arrived in Manhattan, ready to leave her mark on the literary world. Landing a job as a publisher’s assistant, Julia dreams of becoming a full time editor, but the fierce competition and her boss’s wandering hands makes her wonder if this is the life for her. An impromptu club night beings her to the attention of a man who Julia has long crushed on-Jack Kipling.
Jack Kipling is a hot British rock star who has the world by the horns. Denied nothing by anyone, when he sees Julia dancing with abandon at a local nightclub, he is instantly captivated by her effervescence and innocence. Determined to indulge himself upon her many charms, Jack sweeps her up into his hurricane fueled life and takes her deep into a world of decadence and abandonment.
Jack and Julia embark on a tempestuous relationship that introduces Julia to lifestyle that intrigues and repulses her. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll becomes Julia’s new anthem though a small part of her reminds her to guard her heart because Jack will eventually leave her. Jack’s past history of broken promises and hearts guarantees that. When Julia’s predictions come true and their relationship comes crashing to a halt, Julia discovers that her heart never stood a chance against a man like Jack.
Come Dancing is a debut contemporary romance set in the early 80’s by Leslie Wells. Displayed against the glittery excess of the 80’s, Wells pens a sexy, sweet, and somewhat complicated romance about two complete opposites who find they have more in common than they ever thought if they are willing to take the time to look beyond the masks they both present to the world. Wells builds an emotionally poignant love story, abound with romance and humor. Readers will enjoy watching the relationship develop between our protagonists; gleaning the deepening connection as each layer is pulled back.
The story is pretty straight forward in its delivery. Predictable even though the journey is what is appealing. Heavily character driven, they breathe life into the storyline and elevate it beyond a simple contemporary romance. I loved it’s set in the 80’s where people still listened to 45s on turntables, dubstep was nonexistent, and no one had to stop and answer their cell phone or check their social media pages.
Dynamic in development, Wells has created real people with real issues. They are easy to relate to. Their joys, fears, wants, and needs are laid bare and we are allowed to share in their journey as they experience the growing pains life sometimes hands us. Smooth execution and engaging dialogue is expertly laid out, allowing the reader to enjoy the experience along with our protagonists.
Julia is a personable character that everyone will relate to. Intelligent and witty, she is the ultimate underdog whose self-deprecating style shows that she has a healthy self esteem. Fun and career oriented, it was nice to see a young woman who genuinely enjoys her life and deals with everyday issues that most of us face. Julia’s battles against the inner cogs of the publishing world is an eye opener and only serves to further endure you to her.
Jack is an attractive sweet natured sexy bad boy whose trappings of fame and fortune hide a much deeper animal. He embraces life and lives it to it’s fullest, sometimes not thinking too hard about the possible destruction he leaves through his wake. Elusive and hard to pin down, his outlook is pretty much on par for famous musician. Though we see some selfishness in his actions and words, he has an innate goodness that shines through and resonates with you.
Bold seductive chemistry brings Jack and Julia together but a sense of belonging keeps them together. Jack’s brazenness is the perfect foil for Julia’s more down to earth sensibilities and they burn together in all the right ways. Though the sexual aspects are presented in a quick fashion, the actual romance builds slowly. They become friends and Wells uses that to build a bridge between them, offering lessons in trust and communication, despite their apparent differences. No tired clichés, mind numbing angst, and emotional whining is used to facilitate their romance. Theirs is not an insta-love and I appreciated that.
Equally flamboyant secondary characters round out the story. We met various band members and recording label staff though I never really felt they were an integral part of the story. More or less they gave credence to Jack’s lifestyle. Julia’s bff Vickie encourages Julia to never hold back when trying to achieve her goals and her mother offers her a fresh pair of eyes when things become dicey.
Come Dancing is a steamy fun summer read that will appeal to the romantic in all of us.