Comments for The Dancing Floor
The Dancing Floor: 04/18/14
The Dancing Floor is the last Gothic novel Barbara Mertz wrote as Barbara Michaels. I think her Amelia Peabody mysteries as Elizabeth Peters had exploded in popularity to the point that the series had to be her main focus.
The Dancing Floor is a stand alone a most of the Barbara Michaels books are. Heather Tradescant had been planning to travel to England to see historic gardens with her father, but his death has forced her to go alone.
Heather has arrived in the village to see the famous Troytan house, only to have a fender-bender, nearly hit a child, and nearly meet her own death in a briar patch. These events give her entry into the Troytan house and she becomes their reluctant guest.
Tied up with the history of the garden is a long tale of village witchcraft. Though not a believer in such things, Heather continues to have strange experiences. some of which could be explained by the supernatural if one was so inclined.
I listened to this book as read by Barbara Rosenblat. I think if I had been read it in print, I would have skipped some of the sections. As much as I consider myself a fan of Mertz's books, there is a certain sameness to her plots and characters.
This book is a distillation of her themes, characters and tropes. It has another somewhat naive woman, a house with a dark history, a family who wants to help but seems to invite danger, some sort of paranormal threat, and someone completely off the rails.