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Lucy M. Kubash
4.0 out of 5 starsEnjoyable collection of short stories.
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2014
Sometimes, when you don't have time or energy to delve into a novel, a short story hits the spot. I enjoyed this collection of six short stories, which were just perfect for "before bedtime" reading. They are all slice of life and give an interesting look into the lives of everyday people. I look forward to more stories by Dianne Ascroft.
Each of the short stories in this collection was complete in itself, but still left the reader wanting more pages to turn. Dianne has done a great job with this collection. She brings the stories to life with great feeling. I'm looking for a full length book from this same author after reading Dancing Shadows....
Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2012
I've never been to Ireland, but I enjoyed these gentle stories about its people and those that settle there. The stories have a feel-good factor which left me with the happy realisation that sometimes things are not as bad as they appear to be, or maybe they can be put right. In fact, this kind of realisation runs through all six of them, and I was left with warm memories of people that I would very much like to know. Perhaps I'll go to Ireland when I'm next in the UK, and look for someone like Kevin.
Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves: A Collection of Short Stories
Dianne Ascroft has definitely mastered the art of writing short stories, and this is evident in her collection Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves: A Collection of Short Stories. From the very first story, the reader is transported to a world where people live a simple life and are fascinated by shadows of what was, is and will be within their lives. The stories are simple yet very well written. They provide a good view of the simple life in Ireland, that seemingly magical land across the sea and Toronto, our delightful neighbor to the north. In one, a woman longs to belong to her new country, only to find out she really did not need to search any farther. In another, a mother soothes her children as they batten down the hatches at home while a fierce storm brews outside. In another, a young woman remembers her life at home while packing up to return to her new home across the ocean. I found myself mesmerized by these simple stories. They are well written and just long enough to have a start, middle and finish. Writing short stories is not as easy as it would seem, for the author has to cram an awful lot into a short time and space to satisfy the reader, but this author has managed to do so marvelously. At the same, time, the stories are charming and interesting to read. Anyone who enjoys good writing and wants to relax with a bit of Ireland will enjoy these stories. My only regret is that there are not more of them to read and enjoy.
"Dancing Shadows – Tramping Hooves" is the name of a collection of short stories by Dianne Ascroft. They really are short, short stories. That’s what I liked about them. You could read one in one sitting. And they are nice family friendly tales. You could read them aloud to any group, without censorship. Any one of them could be published in the local newspaper, as a common interest story.
There are six stories, altogether. My favorite was the last story, “Going Home.” The author explores the definition of home, in this thought provoking story. In an original twist, the daughter kept referring to her childhood home as “home,” even though she had moved away many years ago. I think anyone who has experienced moving away from home, can relate to it.
The reader can tell that these stories relate to the author’s life, who in real life, is an American living in Ireland. Her Irish neighbors are her inspiration. But they could be anybody’s neighbors. There’s more to her stories than the story line. As “Much More Than A Dancer,” leads to deeper insights than a budding romance, all the stories are “Much More…” Book Clubs will have great discussions.
I received a free e-copy of Dancing Shadows by Tribute Books. No other compensation was received and my review is my honest evaluation.
4.0 out of 5 starsDancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves
Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2014
Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves by Dianne Ascroft is a collection of six short stories. At just 41 pages, this was a short and cozy read. The stories have the common theme of farm life running through them. The woman who wishes her dance partner would feel more for her, the mother who is home by candlelight on a stormy night, the lovers who reunite after forty long years...I found these stories to be well written and simply told.
My favorite of the set was Conquering the Shadows, which is about a mother who is home alone one stormy night with her young children and lets her imagine run a bit wild. "In the farmhouse after darkness descended each evening she would never stray out of the reach of candlelight or the fire's glow. At bedtime she would race from the kitchen to her bedroom, sometimes stubbing her toes on the stairs in the dark, to escape the hallway's empty blackness and the floorboards creaks and groans." p.30, Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves by Dianne Ascroft
disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any type of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers and authors, such as this one, I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received a free review copy of Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves from Tribute Books as part of an online book tour.
5.0 out of 5 starsA collection of heart-warming stories....
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 13, 2012
The collection of six short stories that make up Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves touch on aspects of life that most of us have experienced such as the unexpected benefits of modern technology, finding yourself somewhere unfamiliar, dealing with the elements to the perils of an over-active imagination.
Each story is well crafted, giving the reader a glimpse into the life of the characters in the stories and how they deal with life's worries and daily trials. The stories are all heart-warming and left me feeling that there can be happy endings as long as we don't jump to the wrong conclusions and enjoy our surroundings and what each new day can bring.
`A link to her past' explains how you're never too old to use technology and the results may be better than you could imagine. `A world apart' shows that new friendships can be found anywhere and we shouldn't jump to the wrong conclusions about people we don't really know. In `Just a cough' Fiona learns the hard way that you can't win a battle against the weather or a snowplough driver, whilst Catherine discovers dreams can come true in `Much more than a dancer' and Karen returns home to Ireland after visiting family in Toronto with a comforting souvenir from her childhood in `Going Home'.
I enjoyed all the stories though my favourite is `Conquering the Shadows' - it took me back to my childhood when we had an open fire and I used to watch the flames flicker and the shadows dance on the wall while the wind howled outside. No matter what shapes the shadows took, the glow of the fire banished any fears leaving a warm and cosy feeling.
Haviing read Dianne's novel "Hitler and Mars Bars" which was set in rural Ireland just after WW2, I was looking forward to reading some of her short stories. This collection is a delight - the stories again are set in rural Ireland and most of us could identify with the subject matter of each story. She writes in a . clear uncomplicated style and this makes the stories a pleasure to read..
It would be a great book to have with you when travelling- -easy to read a couple of stories, set down and pick up again. Anyone who likes simple stories with an Irish flavour will enjoy these, - I would recommend this collection of stories i hope she is working on a sequel to her novel - i would love to read the adventures of the main character when he grows up..
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 22, 2012
This is a delightful collection of short stories, influenced by the author's home in Ireland. You can hear the Irish lilt though the conversations between characters. I have come to enjoy the Short Story genre since getting my kindle and this is a very pleasant read. Most of the stories are driven by relationships and some are romantic, some between parent and child. I think my favourite is Conquering the Shadows but there wasn't a poor tale in there.
The writing was refreshingly good, clear, literate and with a few outstanding and memorable phrases. The subjects are not earth shattering or fabulous but nevertheless they are the subjects of our own lives and as such are worthy of an author's consideration. I enjoyed these stories and would happily read more of Dianne Ascroft's work.
I enjoyed this book mainly because it conveyed the simple pleasures in this life-- as a pleasant distraction from the constant barrage of bad news that assails our senses from round the globe. I feel a short story to be appreciated doesn't necessarily need to be too complicated. Enjoy the stories and allow the mind to wander.