All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Luna Tango – Alli Sinclair

on August 14, 2014

Luna TangoLuna Tango (Dance Card #1)
Alli Sinclair
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2014, 321p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Journalist Dani McKenna has journeyed to Argentina to kickstart her career in writing features. Helped along by Tourism Argentina, Dani plans to write articles on the famous tango and she wants the help of Carlos Escudero. A renown tango dancer, an accident ended his career and now he famously keeps to himself. He has a known distrust of journalists and Dani needs to win him over.

Carlos offers Dani a deal – for every step she learns, he will answer a question. Dani has never danced. When she was 5 years old her mother left her and her father and ran away to Argentina and became one of the most celebrated tango dancers. Dani thinks she has two left feet but Carlos is confident that he can teach anyone to tango.

While learning from Carlos, Dani becomes fascinated of a legend of tango and music from 1950s Argentina. She feels drawn to it, she needs to know more. Despite Carlos warning her off digging deeper into the story, Dani cannot help herself. She knows that this story not only needs to be solved but also that it involves her and her family and explains three generations of heartache, loss and love/hate for the tango.

Because tango, like love is complicated.

I have to admit the cover of this book was pretty much the driving force behind my requesting it for review. There’s something so compelling about that close pose, the gorgeous building in the background. I was ready for a story of passion and dance and mystery. And to be honest, that’s pretty much what I got.

Dani has arrived in Argentina and sets out to secure the impossible, an interview with the now famously reclusive Carlos Escudero. A hot blooded Latin to his core, Carlos was one of the country’s most celebrated dancers, along with his ex-fiance before a car accident left him with a damaged leg. He no longer dances, instead he teaches others and although Dani has always avoided the tango, as it brings painful memories, she wants Carlos’s input and so she agrees to his conditions.

Interspersed with Dani’s story is that of Louisa, muse for the famous composer Eduardo Canziani in 1953 and how it ended in murder and tragedy. Despite being warned off by Carlos, because this is an Argentine mystery, Dani still feels as though she could possibly find out what happened. She also needs to work through her issues with her mother, who is believed to be living somewhere remote in Argenina, having retired from dancing. Dani wants answers from her mother why she left her, why she gave up her family in order to dance. Despite the fact that tango has been the cause of much pain in Dani’s life and she feels negatively about it, there’s no doubt that it’s already in her blood and that she’s drawn to it. After all she’s made it the subject of her articles and she agrees to Carlos’s demand that she learn to dance. And under his tutelage, she is making a lot of progress.

I found both the historical and contemporary stories really easy to become invested in. I liked Dani almost immediately and enjoyed most of her sparring matches with Carlos. At first he tends to believe that all journalists are evil and opportunistic and Dani is trying to prove to him that she doesn’t care about the accident that ruined his career, only the history of the tango and how it evolved. Slowly he comes to believe her, especially when she gives up opportunities for other stories, things that would run in gossip columns and probably receive a lot of attention. Dani is coming off a broken engagement but she and Carlos have a simmering kind of attraction almost right from the beginning and the more they get to know each other, the more it seems obvious that Dani is going to find more than just answers on this trip.

As a mother myself, I had a little trouble understanding Dani’s own mother Iris and her motivations for leaving behind her husband and 5yo child. One of my children is 5 and the idea of vanishing from his life by choice is so foreign to me, something that I cannot grasp. Much is made of tango being a way of life, an obsession, something that takes precedence over all others and the seeking of that perfect moment in harmony with another person (entrega) but perhaps I’m far too practical to really be able to grasp that. For me, my family is far more important and always would be and even if I were unhappy in my current life, I couldn’t see myself being happy anywhere else without them. I actually thought Dani, after a little bit of anger, was pretty forgiving of the choices her mother had made. I guess she wanted the chance to have the relationship with her mother as an adult that was denied to her as a child.

Luna Tango is an entertaining blend of romance, passion, mystery and intrigue in an exotic setting that I really enjoyed reading. I loved watching the story of Louisa unfold and actually, I think I could’ve read a whole book devoted to that. Interestingly, this is the first in a series so I’m curious to see where it goes from here.


Book #162 of 2014


Luna Tango is book #60 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014

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