Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dianne Ascroft - Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves is a collection of half a dozen short stories with Irish connections. 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 anthologies, Fermanagh Miscellany and Tuesdays At Charlie’s.


My Review

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.

And that touches on a recurring theme throughout the collection, the idea that we're not alone, drifting aimlessly through life by ourselves. Others are around to help us, to look out for us, to care for us. Whenever the central characters think that no one understands them, they're shown just how mistaken they are. Other people make their presence known, letting these characters know that they're there to help shoulder the load - whether it's talking over a cup of tea, pitching in around the barn or staying up late next to a crackling fire. These characters are continually reminded that they are loved whenever they seem ready to pull away and retreat into themselves.

This anthology of short stories provides a telling introduction into the introspective style of an emerging talent in the field of women's contemporary fiction. Dianne Ascroft is a writer to keep an eye on because she's only just scratched the surface of her potential. It'll be interesting to see what subject matter she tackles next.

***

Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves can be purchased at:
Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K.

Price/Format: $1.16 ebook
Pages: 39
Genre: Romance, Short Story Collection
Release: June 16, 2012
Click to add to your Goodreads list.


About the Author

Dianne Ascroft is an urban Canadian who has settled in rural Northern Ireland with her husband and an assortment of strong willed animals. She writes contemporary and historical fiction with an Irish connection. She has released the short story collection, Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves and a novel, Hitler and Mars Bars. Her articles and stories have been printed in Irish and Canadian magazines and newspapers as well as in anthologies by Writers Abroad, Fermanagh Writers and Fermanagh Authors’ Association.

Links to connect with Dianne:
Web Site
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog Tour Site


About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for your very perceptive review. While the stories aren't autobiographical, I have drawn on my own experiences and those of others I know to craft these stories. I'm glad you enjoyed them. Hopefully you won't have long to wait for the next book as I started work on a novella this week.

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    1. You can tell you put your heart and soul into your writing, Dianne, and I love that. I can't wait to read what you're working on now :)

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  2. This book really looks like it's inspiring in a whole new level, the writing looks superb and i can't wait to read it!

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