New York City in 1907 is a kingdom of endless possibilities for anyone who dares to dream. The Gilded Age has ended, and immigrants fill the bustling streets. The glamour of Broadway lures those who desire the limelight-but only a few are fortunate enough to thrive in the lights of a city that casts long, dark, and merciless shadows...
Pepper MacClair and her mother arrived penniless in New York thirteen years ago, and their fortune has not changed. A dancer of fluid grace and motion, Pepper is still only one chorus girl among many, struggling for an opportunity to prove herself worthy of something bigger.
For now, Pepper dances at The Chance, a rundown venue long past its prime. It is not only Pepper's workplace, where she has pushed her physical endurance to its limit, but also her home. And as the larger world changes around her and she is pulled into the intrigues of New York's elite, it is her last hope, not only to fulfill her dream, but to fulfill her heart.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really enjoy autobiographies. I love people and hearing about their lives, especially when theirs is so different from mine. Originally I read this author, DeAnna Cameron, 1st book for personal reasons. However, I enjoyed it sooooo much that I couldn't put it down and to this day have made it a point to keep in touch with her thru facebook to continue reading everything she writes. I firmly believe she could one day write a trilogy that could get her a movie deal. I recommend you read her book & see for yourself ;-)
Another day, another great historical fiction read! Dancing at the Chance is the story mostly about Pepper MacClair, a chorus girl and dancer who finally feels at home at The Chance theater. Her mother and her came to New York City penniless and Pepper is finally feeling like she might just be able to get up on her own feet. The Chance is run down and in danger of being no more, a fate that Pepper absolutely cannot fathom. It's also about vaudeville as a whole kind of going out of fashion and struggling to survive. I loved this book because it took me to a time and place that I haven't read a lot about, turn of the century New York City. For me, New York City will always be one of the most glamorous places in the world. While I don't think that I can take the frenetic pace of living there, I love visiting. What I love about Dancing at the Chance, is that I think it really captures the magic of the city and the dreams that you may just be able to make come true while you're there. I think everyone can find something in common with the characters who are really just trying to make ends meet. I also loved the focus on vaudeville and dancing. It's really a magical world. I loved how Cameron was able to weave some real characters into the story as well (Ziegfeld of Ziegfeld's Follies appears). Bottom line: This historical fiction captures grand old NYC perfectly!
Pepper MacClair is living out her dream: dancing in a live stage show at the Chance Theater where she grew up. When she and her mother arrived from Scotland penniless, they were taken in at the Chance and given a room backstage while her mother worked as seamstress. Pepper grew up watching the chorus girls dance in the bright lights, and though the theatre is past its prime, she knows that there is no where else she belongs. When Robert DeGraff returns to take over the theater from his aging and sick father, Pepper hopes to jump back into the relationship they had before he left for college and prove that she is one of the best dancers on the stage. However, she soon realizes that Robert has different plans for her, and for her beloved theater. Though it took me a little while of reading to get into it, the descriptions of the world backstage and its players fascinated me, and soon I was entranced with Pepper's story. I think what I enjoyed most about this book was that Dancing at the Chance is filled with realistic characters and the details the author added really brought them to life, such as Pepper, a dancer who wears old stage costumes as part of her wardrobe, Em, a woman who dresses in men's clothing and takes on the persona of Uptown Joe both on and off the stage, and Gregory, a stagehand who loves theatre but is fascinated by the workings of the new moving pictures. Not only do the human characters make the story, but the Chance theater seems to be a character of itself, making up the nucleus of the story where everything happens and comes back to. The novel is well written and flows nicely, dropping hints about a person's background to tease the reader into wanting to read more. Also, while it has a satisfying ending, it also may not be the ending the reader expects, which I appreciated. If you are interested in vaudeville and its players, I definitely recommend this novel. *Please note, I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Dancing at the Chance is a rich, historical novel about vaudeville in the early 1900s and will appeal to those that wish to learn more about that period while experiencing a heartwarming, romantic story. Pepper has lived in the basement of The Chance Theater for over 13 years, since she and her mother came to help with the costumes. After her mother died, Pepper continues to be the wardrobe assistant, until she gets a chance to actually be a dancer in the show--something she's dreamed about since she arrived. Pepper is plagued by insecurities about her abilities as a dancer, though. And, because of her loose tongue, she continues to stay on the bad side of Stanley, the stage manager. She's in constant fear that she will be let go. It's 1907, and the old fashioned, small theater is almost dead. Bigger, more extravagant theaters, owned by large partnerships are squeezing out the small guy. Pepper, however, blames much of their failures on Stanley. When she finds out the owner's son is returning, her hopes grow. Before Robert was suddenly shipped away to school, Pepper and Robert were romantically involved. She has hopes that not only will his return cause the theater to be successful once again, but also that their romance will continue, as Robert promised. As a reader, we know this is unlikely. The owner taking up with a performer? Not likely. But Pepper is young and naive, and we must experience her mistakes. There are a few interesting side characters, in particular Em, Pepper's mother's special friend, who tries to take care of Pepper. The performers fit the model -- some are arrogant, while many are incompetent. Some of them have both of these characteristics. The first thought that comes to mind about Dancing at the Chance is "richly detailed." I could see myself at The Chance, sitting in the audience, or backstage with the performers. The amount of detail was also a put-off, though. The actual events of the story proceeded very slowly; the action was not the emphasis in this one. Cameron includes interesting historical personalities. It is the birth of motion pictures, and we are introduced to Edwin S. Porter, a famous movie maker of the time. We also meet Florenz Ziegfeld, who is just introducing his Ziegfeld Follies. The romance is predictable. We know who Pepper belongs with, and it's just a matter of time before she figures it out too. The ending is simply perfect. The happiest of happy endings possible -- and that was OK with me. I love "feeling good" after finishing a novel, and Dancing at the Chance definitely gave me that feeling. This book doesn't have wide appeal to teens (it is billed as an adult book), but those fans of historical romance, especially if they are interested in theater will enjoy it.
I did not have the honor of reading Ms. Cameron's first book, The Belly Dancer, but I am going to add it to my ever so long wish list. It is a prequel of sorts (from what I can glean) to Dancing at the Chance as the main character made a large impact on the heroine here, Pepper MacClair (don't you just love that name?) Pepper lives at The Chance theatre and it is all she knows. She is young, very young and as with all young women she thinks she knows everything. She is a very well drawn character to the point that at times I wanted to take her over my knee and spank her. She is at that blind stage of life where she will not listen to anyone, she knows what is RIGHT and she believes that love will conquer all. As one reads one knows she is in for it. And that pre-knowledge is, I feel, an integral part of the book. The Chance is a dying theatre. Vaudeville is reaching its zenith as moving pictures are starting to come on the scene. The great Flo Ziegfeld has arrived on the scene and the smaller theatres are not standing a chance (no pun intended) against his large productions. Pepper thinks she has all the answers but she doesn't realize how hard it is for the stage manager to get acts into a run down theatre. He treats her like dirt; criticizing her every performance. This was one thing I could not understand - I never did find the root of his focus on Pepper and his constant griping at her. Perhaps the answer is in The Belly Dancer? Pepper is in love with the owner's son and longs for marriage but he only offers far less. Since she has little self esteem she accepts his offer of being his mistress. She thinks he is the answer to her prayers; she thinks he will save The Chance. She refuses to see what is in front of her eyes. In spite of her immaturity I liked Pepper and I was rooting for her and The Chance. I enjoyed my time in this theatre and with all of the very interesting characters therein. Pepper has a lot of friends, it just took her some time to realize it. The ending was a big surprise and leaves me hoping for another book detailing Pepper's future. Ms. Cameron has a magical way with the backstage world and as with most people in love with the theatre I thoroughly enjoyed my time with all of the players of The Chance.