Monday, August 31, 2015

Circle Dance by Lynn & Valerie Constantine

Title: Circle Dance
Author: Lynne Constantine & Valerie Constantine
Publisher: Bookbaby
Pages: 261
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Audible/Nook

Young, smart and beautiful with everything figured out – or so they thought. Born into a prosperous Greek American family, sisters Nicole and Theodora have achieved the perfect balance between the old world rich in Greek tradition and the freedom of life in America.

Nicole’s world spins out of control when she falls for a married senator who shares her heritage and her dreams. The decisions she makes will affect the happiness of those closest to her and will define the woman she is to become.

As Theodora struggles to succeed at her marriage, she seeks the wisdom and council of her beloved Greek grandmother who has been happily married for over half a century. Ultimately she must come to terms with the reality of her own life and take responsibility for the role she has played in deceiving herself.

As the dramatic plot unfolds, the two young women must confront deceit and betrayal and their own shortcomings—while they struggle to preserve the values they cherish.

Set in Baltimore, Annapolis and the tiny island of Ikaria, Greece, Circle Dance provides a view into the lives of a dynamic family that has successfully achieved the American dream without abandoning the customs and traditions handed down through their Greek heritage.

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Book Excerpt:

A black casket, shiny and ornate, sat upon the altar, and pallbearers in dark suits quietly led the mourners to their seats as the church continued to fill.  The chanter’s hypnotic singing droned on.  It was a muggy one hundred and five degrees, but inside the dark sanctuary, cut off and remote from the outside world, it was cool and still.  The air in the Annunciation Cathedral was heavily mingled with the sweet scent of carnations and the burning sting of incense.  Rays of sunlight, muted by tall stained glass windows, cast uneven shadows on the walls of the church.  From the huge pipe organ flowed the somber strains of a Byzantine lament.
            "Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison.”  In automatic response, Sophia Zaharis, seated in the front pew, crossed herself.  He was too young, she thought sadly, her eyes never leaving the coffin.  An accident, they said—unexpected, tragic.  She reflected on another funeral, which had taken place more than sixty years ago on the small island of Ikaria in Greece where she grew up.  She could still see the smiling face of her father as he held her little brother’s hand and waved to them from the fishing boat.  She unconsciously reached into the small pocket on the inside of her purse and fingered the frayed and worn photograph.  Her father had been just thirty-six years old; her brother, with dark curls spilling over his collar and smiling eyes, a mere seven.  And then the accident.  She shuddered, flooded with feelings of grief and pain that were undiminished with time.  It was a blow from which her mother never recovered and Sophia understood that she, too, was affected by the double loss in ways more profound than she knew.  She had married Andreas and left Greece a few short years later to come to America.  Perhaps that was the hardest thing of all—to leave her mother an ocean away, alone and mourning.  There is something wrong in the order of nature when a parent buries a child, even if that child is an adult, she thought, lifting her eyes to the casket once again. 
            Andreas, as if reading her mind, put his arm around her shoulder, holding her close to his side, and she felt a warm suffusion of gratitude move through her body.  She was thankful for this kind, strong man who had never let her down, whose love she trusted implicitly.  They had begun a new life in America and the years had been good to them, long years filled with memorable times and children of their own.  Today, however, they were paying their last respects to a man whose life was cut short.  He would miss so much.  She thought about all the family milestones and celebrations still to come.  If it were up to her, no sorrow would ever touch her children, but no matter how hard she tried to protect them, in the end, all she could do was be there to comfort them, just as her mother had been there for her.
            The Greek Orthodox priest appeared from behind the lattice-carved wooden screen dressed in his vestments, and, carrying a large gold-encrusted Bible, turned to face the congregation. She still couldn't believe he was dead.  So much had happened in one short year.  She closed her eyes and thought back to that perfect last summer in Ikaria.

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