Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt!
If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1, and collect the clues through all the stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 5 grand prizes!
- The hunt BEGINS on 10/21 at noon MST with Stop #1 at LisaTawnBergren.com.
- Hunt through our loop using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer).
- There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt—you have all weekend (until Sunday, 10/24 at midnight MST)! So take your time, reading the unique posts along the way; our hope is that you discover new authors/new books and learn new things about them.
- Submit your entry for the grand prizes by collecting the CLUE on each author’s scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at the final stop, back on Lisa’s site. Many authors are offering additional prizes along the way!
Hi, I’m Joanna Politano and I love stories. I write gothic-style mysteries set in Victorian England, but really, I work fulltime as a puddle-jumping, homeschooling, tree-climbing adventure buddy with my three kids. I draw inspiration from Dickens’ memorable characters and twisting plots as well as Daphne Du Maurier’s atmospheric prose, and all my favorite story elements and genres go into each of my novels. My family and I live in the woods off the shores of Lake Michigan, where long nature walks inspire many story ideas. My latest release invites readers into the colorful world of Victorian ballet theater. Here’s what the story’s about:
All theater romances are tragedies. Ella Blythe knows this. Still, she cannot help but hope her own story may turn out different than most–and certainly different than the tragic story of the Ghost of Craven Street Theater. Yet as she struggles to maintain her tenuous place in the ever-shrinking ballet company, win the attentions of principal dancer Philippe, and avoid company flirt Jack, Ella cannot deny the uncanny feeling that her life is mirroring that of the dead ballerina. Is she dancing ever closer to the edge of her own tragic end? Or will the secrets that are about to come to light offer release from the past?
This little “visit” to Victorian theater was amazing. Stunning. There’s an entire world there I didn’t know anything about, and it all came to life like a Degas painting.
Degas and the ballerinas
Have you seen Edgar Degas’ paintings of ballet dancers? They’re incredible–not just the artistry, but the rare behind-the-scenes look he gives us of Victorian dancers. Hardly anyone outside the theater had ever seen a dancer off the stage, slouched or exhausted, ribbons hanging and costumes limp as they leaned against a wall or sofa. But there was such a raw beauty to the gritty reality he portrayed.
Many of the dancers he painted were fairly young girls, thirteen or fourteen, sometimes as young as nine—working class washerwomen and chimneysweeps and shoe shiners. They were not genteel ladies with monied families paying their way through classes—most worked other jobs to survive, and came to dance in the ballet in the evenings for a little extra money. The lowest in the ranks were very poor young girls, sometimes as young as six. They were paid very little and trained hard. The few dancers who made good money, the higher-ups like soloists and principals, were often hired on from the continent.
Degas did not choose to portray the flashy, the well-turned-out, the perfectly posed dancer. He showed us an uncommon glimpse of what it was really like for these worn out, hard working girls who usually wore raggedy practice skirts and second-hand sashes. He showed the slouched shoulders, the untied sashes, the stretching and waiting, the girlish chatter—and this was the most realistic glimpse of their lives.
Degas’ art inspired my novel, A Midnight Dance, so I tried to also provide an accurate view of the gritty, painful often tragic life and romance for dancers behind the scenes, as well as the beauty and vivid color they created onstage. Ballet gives the impression of effortless grace, even now, but that isn’t reality. Have you seen the image flying around social media of a ballet dancer standing en pointe, one shoe on and one off, showing her misshapen, blistered bare foot next to the beautiful slipper? Dancers put their bodies through a lot and work harder than most of us audience members can ever appreciate, and in Victorian England viewers were even more oblivious. But Degas gives us the benefit of the truth—the gritty, painful, often sad truth—about the girls who danced in the Victorian ballet and exactly how exhausting and full of sacrifice their lives really were. Hopefully I’ve honored them the same way.
Here’s the Stop #25 Basics:
Clue to Write Down: settle
Link to Stop #26, the Next Stop on the Loop: Ann Gabhart’s site!
But wait! Before you go, I’m offering one book of the winner’s choice—any one of my published novels. All you have to do is sign up to get my e-newsletter or note that you’re already a subscriber. Additional points for those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram!