The Eclipse Dancer

Laura Koerber
Who Chains You Books (2018)
ISBN 9781946044402
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (1/19)

Soul-stirring and bewitching, “The Eclipse Dancer” by Laura Koerber is an enchanting story that carried me away to another world for just a few days but will linger in my thoughts for some time to come.

While people flock to Allenburg to catch the total eclipse of the sun, Andy is content to watch from her old family home, a single-wide trailer just outside of town. As the sky blackens to complete darkness Andy abandons her cares and loses herself in dance - one night of respite taken to escape her current circumstances. Home to tend to her dying mother, memories of her life in Allenburg ignite, bringing Andy face to face with the moments that shaped her forever.

This is one of the most captivating stories I have read recently. The author has an extraordinary talent for transporting the reader directly into her story. Her voice is distinct and rich with tones both inviting and unsettling at the same time. The reader almost floats along with Andy as she dances under the eclipse yet falls quickly back to earth with her reflections of days gone by, often wondering if the recollections are real or the wild imagination of a young girl.

It is through the recall of these memories and events the reader learns about Andy and her turbulent upbringing, with an alcoholic mother who informs Andy early on that her father was a nobody, a one-night stand. Andy finds out the truth about her father and her own heritage through her new friend Kenshi and the old lady that lives down the road, who turns out to be a relative.

The storyline is simple in that it is easy to follow, yet intricate as layers unwind with a seamless, melodic flow.  And, while the author excels at getting inside the heart and soul of her readers, the connection garnered by what remains unsaid is remarkable. The writing is descriptive and artistic, without being flowery or overdone, and leaving just enough room to incorporate snippets of one’s own imagination. Some things are just not taught and Koerber’s writing is one of those things–she has a gift.

The characters also take top-billing in this story, well-developed and authentic to both the fairy and human worlds. For me, the most affecting relationship is between Andy and her mother Cindy. A strained relationship at best, the author clearly exhibits that ever-volatile mother-daughter connection through their body language, facial expressions and declarations that can never be taken back. I actually had a flashback while reading of a confrontation with my own mother many years ago–talk about haunting!

Combining elements of fantasy with hard-core human issues, many relevant in today’s world, Koerber takes the reader on a magical journey as down-to-earth as it is out-of-this-world.  I highly recommend “The Eclipse Dancer” by Laura Koerber to anyone who wants to get lost in an amazing, unforgettable story.