a field guide to quiet courage

literary inklings

literary inklings

notes from a bohemian library

Come Dancing by Leslie Wells

Bookish Julia is a hard-working publisher's assistant determined to be promoted to an editor - if her sleazy boss will ever give her a chance. At twenty-four, Julia's had more hard knocks in her life than most people expect: at fourteen she suffered through her father's abandonment and the devastation of her mother's extramarital affair; years later, after heading to the bright lights of the big city, she found herself embroiled in a risky relationship of her own with a college professor that ultimately left her with a broken heart. Now Julia keeps herself busy at the office, letting off steam at the local dance clubs with her best friend Vicky. Her world of rejection letters and manuscript corrections turns upside down when one night out brings her face-to-face with Jack Kipling, sexy lead guitarist of the hottest band on the rock scene. It would be easy to fall for Jack’s British charm, but his hard-driving lifestyle and sketchy romantic history are constant reminders that a relationship with the infamous Jack Kipling could cost her another chink in her worn-down armor. As Jack sets his sights on winning Julia over - sweeping her up into his glamorous life of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll - she’ll have to put her fragile trust to the test in order to follow her heart.

In her debut novel, Come Dancing, Leslie Wells brings to life all the eclectic, edgy style of New York City at the dawn of the 1980s as she spins a story of spine-tingling romance and the complex issues that can threaten a relationship. Through her effervescent writing style she catapults the reader into a world of excess and indulgence, while delving into some honest and heartfelt struggles along the way. In Julia we find an instant comrade, a fun-loving, career-minded girl who goes after what she wants and knows her own worth. When Jack Kipling waltzes into her life, bringing along with him the flashes of the paparazzi, her self-esteem takes a hit as she wonders how she’ll heal her heart when he inevitably moves on to a new conquest. Julia is an easy character to root for, an underdog who deep down knows she’s at the front of the pack; a diamond in a city full of sequins. It’s inspiring to watch Julia’s journey as she scrabbles through the challenges of life and love, at once lost to and wary of the larger-than-life Jack Kipling.

As a hard-edged rocker, Jack has unexpected depths that reveal themselves slowly to Julia as well as to the reader. With his elusive behavior and refusal to be “tied down” Julia finds him frustrating, infuriating, and – of course – seductive, but as the showy outer layers of his high-profile image fall away she finds that he’s irresistibly human. Wells does a terrific job of exploring the complexities of their relationship, illustrating the adage that opposites attract and highlighting how sensible Julia and brazen Jack could both learn a thing or two about trust and commitment from each other. Vibrating with the energy of the ‘80s arts scene, Come Dancing is a love story with lots of heart and plenty of heat.

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Come Dancing