Under a Dancing Star


‘Under a Dancing Star’ opens in Beatrice’s ancestral family home, Langton Hall. It needs financial input to maintain it, and Beatrice’s parents’ hopes of this rest with her and her marriage prospects. However, Beatrice is more interested in natural science, etymology, life and discoveries. Not that she’s had many opportunities for these, confined by limited money, propriety, her gender, the age, and the watchful gaze of the vicar. However her parents have alighted on Cuthbert as a suitable prospect; what is Beatrice to do? It seems as though shock tactics are all that can save her.

The fallout results in Beatrice’s expulsion to Italy and the care of her upstanding Uncle Leo. How are Beatrice’s parents to know that Uncle Leo is in thrall to artistic community leader, Filomena? Furthermore, could they know that the community includes Ben, a challenging, handsome, would-be artist, to whom Beatrice, renamed ‘Bea’, takes an immediate, illogical dislike? There are political refugees amongst the group, who bring Bea news of the real world, recognise her potential, and allow her to shine.

Laura Wood cites her first viewing of Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 movie, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ as an inspiration for ‘Under a Dancing Star‘. Certainly the story, sensibilities and characters are familiar. However, this book is so much more. By including a 1930’s setting, the writer has cleverly considered an age of political unrest, somewhat similar to our own. Bea’s  frustrations and uncertainties are familiar to us, because Laura Wood moves the story beyond traditional expectation to something more. The background characters of Klaus, Ursula, Filomena and Sir Hugh are cleverly constructed, bringing bite to the story.

‘Under a Dancing Star‘, like A Sky Painted Gold is a really satisfying, enjoyable, memorable story. Bookwagon is delighted to welcome this title aboard.



Under a Dancing Star

Laura Wood


Bea’s family pile is crumbling, the finances are tight. Her marriage prospects are all that keeps the wolf from the door. In Bea’s opinion, the wolf is Cuthbert, the latest ‘eligible’ gentleman to be considered just right by Bea’s parents. Bea has other matters on her mind, however, such as etymology, biology and the world of matter and science. However, this is the 1930’s an age wherein women were not expected to demonstrate such thinking. Furthermore, Bea has never had a real experience of education, let alone ‘life’. What are her parents to do?
It seems like a stay with stalwart Uncle Leo in Italy is in order. Surely he will instil some propriety into Bea? However, all is not as Bea’s parents and the Vicar imagine. Certainly, the could not conjure up Uncle Leo’s fiancée Filomena, nor her sparkling, disparate, politically aware, artistic community. Another thorn in their ointment would be Ben, who spars with Bea immediately, and defies all scientific logic.
Laura Wood has created an imaginative, satisfying, relevant and contemplative paean to ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ in ‘Under a Dancing Star’ Most noteworthy is its newer setting, which while having some parallels with Shakespeare’s play, has a different relevance to current politics.


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