The Winner Book Review & Giveaway

Let me begin by admitting that I know next to nothing about competitive ballroom dancing. Why am I telling you this? Because--I recently had the opportunity to read and review The Winner by Erin Bomboy.  As you can see from the cover below, the book is a ballroom dance novel.  While I know nothing about ballroom dancing or its competitions--I know quite a lot about Irish Dancing competitions.  I was interested in learning more about ballroom dancing--and also in comparing and contrasting the competitive scenes between Irish dance and ballroom styles.

What did I think of The Winner by Erin Bomboy?  Check out my review, learn about the author and enter for a chance to win a copy of the book in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Book Title: The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel by Erin Bomboy
Category: Adult Fiction, 326 pages

About the Book

The most prestigious ballroom dance competition in the United States.

Two dancers need to win.

Only one can.

Nina Fortunova wasn’t supposed to end up almost thirty, divorced, with her dreams of winning shattered. She teams up with Jorge Gonzalez, a Latin dancer, to reinvent the flashy Smooth style. When the Chairman of the Judges offers to throw the competition in their favor, Nina must decide how far she will go to win, even if it means losing Jorge.

Carly Martindale is doing everything she’s been taught not to do—placing her happiness first by dancing with Trey Devereux, the former three-time champion who’s returned to competition for mysterious reasons. Carly becomes obsessed with Trey and allows him to control her every move at great risk to her physical and emotional health. How far will she sacrifice herself, so Trey and she can win? Co-workers, then friends, and now arch competitors, Nina and Carly face off to determine who will be the winner.

Bright, emotive, and told through dual narrators, The Winner examines the costs associated with winning, the internalization of parental ambition, and the effect of gendered roles on and off the dance floor. A literary romance, The Winner is perfect for readers who love Dancing with the Stars, Strictly Come Dancing, So You Think You Can Dance, and the old-school elegance of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

The Winner contains a fact-versus-fiction section at the end.

My Review
Bomboy Educates and Entertains in The Winner.  I learned a lot from this novel--without feeling like the author was presenting a textbook on competitive, ballroom dancing.   Erin Bomboy did a wonderful job pulling me into the novel--and into her character's lives and motivations--to create a really wonderful novel that anyone can read, learn from--and enjoy.

Realistic Fact vs. Fiction?  If you read many of my reviews--you know I am a realist.  If a book's fictional characters and the scenes are just too far beyond the "real world"--I struggle to connect to the story line.  Initially, I felt that Carly's character was not going to pull me into the novel.  She was presented as a temporary, intro-level-dance teacher who seemed to have fallen into the instructor position simply because she danced as a child and made it through a quick training.  Then, really a little too suddenly, she was moving toward being a competitive, ballroom dancer heading toward a national championship.  Where were those years and years of training, practice and coaching?   This required me to step back for a bit--and put some of my own experiences into perspective.  (1) Experienced teachers see talent within...The studio owner saw natural talent within Carly.  (2) Carly was a strong, hardworking, young woman with a lot of heart...and those things are vital to a competitive dancer.  As I moved through the book, there were so many things that I found fairly true to my experiences in dance competitions (though not the same type of dance) and to life. Costumes, struggles, life's ups and downs, friends forced to compete against one another and the pressures to meet family expectations and personal goals all rear their heads--making this book quite realistic in the grand scheme of it all.

Readers will Bond with the Characters.   I immediately connected with Nina's story.  While Carly's required a bit more thought on my part--I grew attached to her as well.  The author, again, does a wonderful job creating a storyline that blends fact and fiction to pull readers in and not only entertain, but educate, on a "subset" of our culture that many of us miss.

Would I recommend The Winner?   The author creates a novel that flows so well that readers will not be able to put it down until the end--and will probably want more of the story from there.  I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did--with zero background in ballroom dance.  However; this is one of those life stories that was so easy to appreciate--and a beautiful introduction to an entire world of activity that so many of us miss.  I would recommend it to fans of romance novels and of women's fiction.  Though--I do think it is a novel of interest for dance moms (in any dance type) as well!

Endorsements for “The Winner”

“ . . . educational, enjoyable, and engrossing.”
- Midwest Book Review

“The Winner is a winner.”
- Goodreads Review

“Rousing, bittersweet, and heartbreakingly beautiful.”
- Amazon Review

To read more reviews, please visit Erin Bomboy's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book

Meet the Author

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Erin Bomboy trained as a classical ballet dancer before spending a decade as a professional competitive ballroom dancer. She holds an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter where she works as a writer, editor, and teacher in the dance field. In her free time, Erin enjoys bacon, books, cats, and wine.

She is the author of The Piece: A Contemporary Ballet Novel and The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel. Her next novel, tentatively titled The Pas de Deux: A Classical Ballet Novel, will explore the relationship between a ballerina at the end of her career and the much-younger dancer with whom she falls in love. Taking the shape of a traditional pas de deux, it will premiere in 2018.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter

Enter the Giveaway
Ends Oct 7

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