For an author to seek the review of a web site to offer an independent review of her novel is risky business but welcome. Following are two reviews:
Following is the official OnlineBookClub review of Daughters of the Dance that received four out of four stars! (reprinted)
4 out of 4 stars
“Hardly had I come across a book that combined history, love, war, slavery and spirituality into one beautiful story. Daughters Of The Dance by Armida Nagy Rose is one of them. The story is about a family of female dancers Dara, Ayana and Nona living in Curacao Island.
“Ayana woke up after two years of suspended mental state. She suffered from severe depression after getting departed from her husband, Stefan. Sandor, who was the complete opposite of Stefan, always had sexual intentions towards Ayana. He separated the two lovebirds at the time of World War 2. Ayana, who was bearing the child of Stefan, went back to her mother Dara and gave birth to Nona. Time passed, and Nona grew to be a beautiful young lady. She fell in love with a handsome young man, Ariel. Sandor became a powerful barrister and a candidate for a judgeship in the Dutch Antilles. However, his days of happiness were soon going to be over. Awiti, who was the slave of Sandor, was often sexually exploited by him. She couldn’t tolerate more when she came to know that her daughter had a relationship with Sandor. She made a plan, and with the help of Yellie, she taught Sandor a lesson. After completing her PhD in Art History, Nona soon married the love of her life and gave birth to a child Myra. They moved to Trinidad and lived happily thereafter.
“The life of Dara, Ayana and Nona were captivating. The story was heartbreaking but also inspiring. The plight of slaves, especially women of the mid-20th century was disheartening to read. Also, the mass murder of Jews during World War 2 was covered very well. Stefan was one of the victims because he was a Jew. The Geopolitics of different European nations during that time was elaborately discussed to make the story more relatable. Even though the story is transpiring at the time of a war, it has a strong spiritual dimension to it. Ayana is portrayed as a very spiritual lady. According to Ayana, her dance is a way to experience the divine. Even sex is a tool for her to experience bliss and ultimate union. I think Ayana was the most well-developed character in the book. Other characters such as Dara, Nona, Sandor, Stefan and Ariel were also developed well. The book was very informative. It had everything such as Art, History, Politics, Eastern Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality. The author must be an expert in History to write all those things. There are different languages used in the book such as Dutch, German, Ladino, Papiamentu and Spanish. However, the meanings of these words are given at the end of every chapter. I struggled to understand those words because I was reading a Kindle version of the book.
“There is a little about the book that I disliked. It felt that the ending was overstretched. The story could have ended earlier because Sandor was punished and almost everything was sorted out. But it’s entirely my opinion and other readers can differ on that aspect. The book was mostly error-free. I spotted minor typos here and there that hardly affected the reading experience. I found some unusual bold letters in the book. Overall, the book was enjoyable and informative.
“I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The minor typos didn’t really affect the quality of the book. Hence, the score must be 4 out of 4. The book is recommended to those who like art, history or love stories. There is a lot of sexual content in the book. So children should stay away from it.” ONLINEBOOKCLUB
A member reader submitted a comment on the review, wishing to remain anonymous, wrote the following:
Having read this novel in November 2018, I was pleased to see Daughters of the Dance, a Mosaic of Seek & Find (316 pages) featured when I was looking for historical novels to read. As a boomer, I’d like to offer additional perspectives from that of younger generations. The reviewer is right that “the story is heartbreaking but also inspiring.”
The beginning chapter about Ayana being in a state of limbo for two years and waking from a dream state is a metaphor for suffering that suppresses our minds from the simple fact that we intrinsically exist. Ayana suffered such deep depression veiled as catatonia (a psychomotor disturbance); and when she came out of it, she was a transformed person. In the first chapter you learn about the family of three women dancers. In the second chapter, you learn about the three Sephardic Jews of the Dutch elite of Curaçao. Afterwards, the book becomes a look into the past, back to the present, and then into the future.
The early historical context of the Ladino Jews from Spain and the Spanish Netherlands, migrating to the Caribbean, to the Netherlands Antilles, and coastal Latin America was new to me. I also learned about how refined oil from the refineries in Curaçao helped the Allies actual victory in the Mediterranean theatre during World War II. Moreover, the Nazis were everywhere, including the Americas, waiting to take over the world’s resources.
In telling the story, the reader is introduced to five beautiful and struggling romantic encounters. Every bit of the characters’ lives can be interpreted in terms of existential psychology that the author’s artistry manages to broaden one’s mindfulness. I must admit my favorite romance was between Andries and Dara; their intimacy silently engulfed them completely for decades. Andries, the principal male character, is an intelligence officer skilled in maritime trade for the Crown Queen of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles and was not mentioned in the official review.
As for the ending, the symbolic daughters of the dance evolve over three generations in search of meaning. It had to end with Ariel’s bond to Nona, the one who cracks the code of non-dual existence.
Successfully ambitious, the novel is daring and caring in its complexity and mindful to the very end. One of my favorite authors, Rebecca Goldstein, wrote, “art is supposed to increase our mindfulness.” Daughter of the Dance; a Mosaic of Seek and Find, does just that, especially piercing dualistic sexuality in search for the ineffable experience of Oneness. Somehow, the mystical undertones of the novel are contemplative and Kabbalistic in seeking authenticity and truth. If I understand the author’s boldness in treating sexual content, which permeates our mental energy, sends a message—one cannot and should not be attached or adverse to its divine energy.