The Midnight Dancers
by Regina Doman
Chesterton Press 214 pages
The Midnight Dancers is the fourth in Regina Doman’s series of “Fairy Tale Novels,” and this, by far, is my favorite of her four books. The story takes place in Bayside, Maryland and is a new take on Grimms’ “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” and involves twelve sisters (six sisters and their six stepsisters) who are being raised in an extremely strict Christian household with little or no room for freedom.
The book’s main character, Rachel Durham, 18, is the oldest daughter who believes that goodness is not interesting and she yearns for adventure. Her father, a colonel in the army, and worried about his daughters and stepdaughters, secretly enlists the help of an army friend, Paul, a medical student and part-time juggler, to keep an eye on the girls. Her stepmother is a rather unlikeable woman who seems to only speak to Rachel to ask her to take care of her younger brothers or to clean up a mess.
Rachel and her sisters discover a secret door (an old Underground Railroad escape, no doubt) in their bedroom which leads outside and which brings them to an old cave by the beach near their house. Every night, the girls decide to venture outside (in the dark) and swim in the bay, visit with boys and eventually take a boat to a forbidden island. Daytime becomes monotonous and tiring (“the light is boring” metaphor). Keeping this secret from their parents, the girls’ new taste of freedom brings them into all kinds of trouble.
Paul knows about the ventures, but doesn’t at first share this information with the girls’ father, since he is keeping an eye on them, trying to make sure they don’t get into any more trouble. In the climax of the book, he is shown to be the epitome of goodness (with some metaphors to Christ-like behavior) and the girls, most especially Rachel, finally realize that goodness is anything but boring.
I would highly recommend this book. It is a delightful read with a little bit of everything: romance, suspense and action. For the most part, the characters are rich, well-developed and believable. Because of the mature nature of some of the themes, I would recommend it for ages 13 and up. It is a compelling, entertaining page-turner not only for teens, but also for adults who are looking for a great story and solid, engaging writing.
To purchase this and/or any of the Fairy Tale Novels: www.fairytalenovels.com
copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach