4 out of 4 stars
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Title: The Dancing Barber
Author: AC Michael
Genre: Historical Fiction
The Dancing Barber starts off with three consecutive plot lines in the City of Bradford, North England: Klem an undercover reporter for the Ukraine group known as 'Katya' has gathered thirty years worth of proof that the Ukrainian genocide did indeed happen.
Halyna, friend of Klem and wife to the local ballet master, is on strike due to her husband's poor gratitude and laziness in reference to everything she does.
Taras, local ballet master and owner of the attic where Klem lives, is working his troupe hard in preparation for their big performance of Swan Lake that could very well be their ticket to fame and fortune.
But from there the story expands. Lenka and Zena are coming to visit their sister in Bradford from Chaplinka, Ukraine with some important family secrets to share. Sofia is a disgruntled ballerina who simply cannot get Taras to notice her ability to dance. Oksana, the overweight bully at school. Ivan, the owner of the houses in the subdivision and the local tyrant. And the mysteriously anonymous man. Soon the plot encompasses the entire town plus some more.
Full of humor and adventure intermingled with the simple peacefulness of daily life, the story weaves you skilfully through each story, tying everything up and piecing it all together. Almost nothing is left undone or unexplained. And it's amazing to see all the different ways everything does tie together. I'm not going to spoil it but it was pretty impressive. From dancing to action, spies to cooking, this story had a little bit of everything!
It's also full of history. So few people are aware of what happened in Ukraine 1932-33 and the effect it had on the people. The man-made famine brought on by Stalin and his regime struck Ukraine hard and with devastating consequences and then they managed to hide it for years beneath their propaganda. The very heart of the Ukraine people has been written into this book. From their traditions to their problems and their fight to be heard. It was a really amazing story!
The characters were amazingly well written. They blended with their settings and never fell through the cracks. Everyone brought in had a place and a purpose. It was amazing to see how even the more insignificant characters added a new layer to the story. And none were flat. Everyone had a story and a purpose and they all felt so real.
With great editing (there were a few minor errors that were more due to the digital formatting) and fantastic writing not to mention plot and cast, I easily give The Dancing Barber 4 out of 4 stars. This has to be one of the best historical-fictions I've ever read! Honestly it's right up there with To Kill a Mockingbird and The Book Thief.
The Dancing Barber
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