One Last Dance: Felicity Brooks is a talented artist but her career is cut short when her father passes away. Realizing the importance of family, she travels home to care for her mother. When Felicity meets their new neighbor, a fine-looking bachelor, she soon discovers that he is hiding his true identity. Nicholas Adams is on a quest. But that is not all. When she finds out that someone is after a valuable heirloom…a precious treasure that her father discovered in his attic, her life takes a new turn.
Author Katrina Hart wrote: “One thing that always keeps me reading this author’s books is her characters; they are engaging, funny and passionate. I especially liked Mr. Adams’ character as he was both witty and charming with an air of mystery about him. I was impressed by Felicity’s character. She was a strong woman who had seen some of the world, only to end up back home where everything feels different. I liked the quirky bond between Mr. Adams and Felicity. He has her pegged from the start and from the moment they meet you can tell at some point sparks will fly, and they will challenge each other’s perspectives on the problem at hand, which made this book rather gripping. One Last Dance kept me guessing until the end and left me wanting to read this book all over again. If you like Historical Romance with a mysterious touch and well-developed characters, this book is a must-read.”
When writing historical fiction, I like to add true events that are part of history. Not only does this make the setting feel real, but it’s also fun for the reader to learn what it was like to live during that time period. It helps us to understand their life style.
In this historical romance, set in 1835, I wanted the main character to be an art teacher. Since women usually taught children that were elementary age, I had to do some research. Usually men were the ones who taught older children in a college setting. When I discovered there was a small ladies school, I was elated to find that women teachers were hired. If a woman had a desire to teach, they would train them. It was called the Troy Female Seminary.
Emma Hart Willard established this Seminary on February 23, 1821 in Troy, New York. It was the first in the United States, which provided young women with the same college education as that of young men. Many parents wanted their daughters to be educated beyond the average classroom setting. “The seminary provided tuition on credit for students who could not afford it, with the agreement that those students would eventually become teachers themselves.” (Scott, Anne F. “What, Then, is the American: This New Woman?” The Journal of American History 65, 1978: 679–703)
My story does not take place at this school but it gives the reader the background of my character and what she did for a living. She taught art to young women. In the first chapter, you learn that Felicity has returned home after the death of her father. Giving a good background for your character is important.
While teaching at the Seminary, Felicity learned a new dance step from her students called the Boston Waltz. This dance becomes one of the main themes of my story. In my research, I found that Lorenzo Papatino introduced this American Waltz to Americans in 1834. It is much slower than the original waltzes in Germany and France. In America, the Boston Waltz received much criticism by the upper classes. They didn’t want to overstep the bounds of propriety. After years of dancing at arm’s length, it was not readily accepted. To embrace one’s partner was unheard of and drew much criticism, especially among the pastors.
When Felicity finds out that someone is after a valuable heirloom that her father discovered in his attic, her life takes a new turn. With the help of her neighbor, Nicholas Adams, they search for evidence. While Nicholas and Felicity search for clues, I decided to add a few activities for them to attend. This way they can get to know one another. When Aunt Beth decides to have a ball, Felicity finds herself dancing the waltz with a man she is definitely attracted to…Nicholas Adams.
Why not take them to the County Fair next? As early as 1686, counties would set aside specific days for a three-day fair. It was usually held every May and October. Fairs were held for educational and social purposes. Women’s competitions usually consisted of needlework. During the early 1800s, horse-racing competitions were part of the fairs. Nicholas, of course, has to enter his horse in the race. She is a fine mare and Nicholas feels that he has a chance.
I was intrigued to find out they had “plowing matches” during the fairs. Each farmer had to plow so much land. The first one done was the winner. The farmer would attach his horse to a plow and away he went. The farmer could have help if he wanted. While he held the reins, his son held the plow. Of course, it wouldn’t be fun without a cheering section. There has to be people cheering for their neighbor, just like any competition. In my story, Felicity cheers for a father and his son, with a mule pulling their plow. As for Nicholas, he shakes his head at the idea. Mules are stubborn animals. A horse could out-plow a mule any day. That’s what he thinks. The race is one!
Fairs always had a Cattle Show or Swine Show. It was a competition of the best and healthiest-looking animals. Have you ever heard of a “Cow-Chip Tossing” competition? Men choose the most interesting ideas to compete in. Why would anyone want to throw a piece of cow-dung in the air?
“One Last Dance by Linda Weaver Clarke is a historical romance with a mystery to add to the tale. Felicity has always been a strong and independent woman. Amongst mystery, loss, paintings, and a career, she is going to have to decide if love has a place in her heart.” –Author Anna Del C Dye
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You can also find it at Barnes and Noble.
About Author: Linda Weaver Clarke was raised among the Rocky Mountains of southern Idaho and now lives among the red hills of southern Utah. Linda is the author of 24 books. She has written in several different genres, which include: historical romances, romantic cozy mysteries, a mystery suspense series, children’s book, and non-fiction. All her books are family friendly. To learn more, visit www.lindaweaverclarke.com.