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There Should be More Dancing – Rosalie Ham

I bought this novel based solely on the title – there should be more dancing, don’t you think? I have read and enjoyed Summer at Mount Hope, so that might have made me more receptive to buy a book knowing nothing at all about it. Rosalie Ham is Australian and this novel is definitely Australian. It reminded me at times of the movie The Castle – there were some laugh out loud Australian humour, so international readers beware.

Here is the blurb …

Margery Blandon has led an upright, principled life guided by the wisdom of desktop calendars. What went wrong? Margery suspects her that her first born, Walter, has betrayed her. Her second son, Morris, might have committed a crime, and her only daughter is almost certainly trying to kill her. Then there’s Pat, her life-long neighbour and enemy – now demented – who possibly knows the truth about everything. Should she throw herself from the 43rd floor, or should she abandon everything she believes and embrace her enemy for the sake of what’s right?.

 I loved this novel, the characters are superb. Margery with her cross stitch aphorisms (mostly taken from desktop calendars), her strict routine (roast chicken every Sunday) and her willful blindness to people and events around her. Then there is Walter, the Brunswick Bull, who has never been quite the same since the last fight. Judith, Margery’s daughter, with her mobile beauty business and her determination to finally possess her mother’s pearls. This was a joyful book about a difficult subject; aging. Her children want her to move into a nursing home, so they can sell the house and have the cash. She wants to stay there and if she moved who would tie Mrs Parsons’ shoe laces? There is also a bit of a mystery about Margery’s husband (who blew himself up – and the pub – by smoking too close to his oxygen tank) and Pat (who has dementia) seems to know what it is. And is her second son really managing a hotel overseas? I suspect Margery knows everything, but doesn’t really want to admit she does.

This novel is about families – the relationships between family members, what is due to family and the lies we tell one another for whatever reason. Although it has funny moments, there is an undercurrent of sadness to this novel. Margery, after a life of disappointment, is finally living how she wants and old age, infirmity and greedy relations might steal it all away.

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