Under a Dancing Star by Laura Wood

Historical Fiction, 356 pages, published in 2019

Set in the 1930’s, Bea has never lived up to her parents’ expectations of a refined young lady. Instead, she is interested in learning and science and definitely not the arranged marriage her parents have planned for her in order to save their estate. For the summer, she gets sent to her uncle’s house in Italy and begins to discover who she really is outside of anyone else’s expectations.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book is based partially on Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare, but I have absolutely no knowledge of the play, so I can’t speak on how much the books pulls from it.

As with A Sky Painted Gold, this book is so atmospheric in the absolute best way. There was one scene that took place in Italy at dusk during the summer and all the characters were drinking lemonade with jazz playing quietly in the background, and while I was reading it, I could picture the scene so clearly that it felt like I was there. There are so many instances like this throughout and I just love reading about them.

This has a historical setting, but events at the time were definitely not at the forefront of the story. This is definitely how I prefer to read historical fiction. There were some mentions of Germany and Mussolini, but it wasn’t the focus at all.

I loved seeing Bea grow while she was away from her family’s influence. At home, she reigned herself in, but she was still definitely considered odd, but at her uncle’s house, she is allowed the space to be exactly who she is without holding anything back.

There was also a really cute romance in this book! Ben is an artist and kind of a player, but he and Bea play a “game” to see if he can seduce her. I really enjoyed their banter and teasing, but also the way they opened up to each other. I was so happy with how they resolved the conflict in the end.

Overall, this was just a wonderful book. I saw someone say that it’s pure escapism, and I have to agree. It sucked me in and didn’t let me go until I was done. I had a great time reading this book and I can’t wait for Laura Wood’s next release!

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3 thoughts on “Under a Dancing Star by Laura Wood

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