Cook, Vera Jane: Dancing Backward in Paradise


Dancing Backward in Paradise

by Vera Jane Cook


Winner: Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence and the Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction!  

5 Star Clarion ForeWord Review!

Publisher: Musa  (November 16, 2012)
Category: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction/ Southern Fiction
Tour Date: April/May, 2014
Available in: Print & ebook,  347 Pages

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Life for Grace Place is all about sucking on “meat jerkys” and Lenny Bean, her handsome lover. Grace’s mother has loftier plans for her daughter. She insists that Grace save her money and move to New York City so she can find fame and fortune as an actress.

Grace works as a cleaning lady for wealthy Betty Ann Houseman so she can pool her pennies for the trip north. Betty Ann has a passion for men more pronounced than her overbite, and it isn’t long before she’s parting the sheets for Lenny Bean. But just before Grace leaves Hixson for New York City, she uncovers an insidious plot: the Bean family is trying to steal Betty Ann’s estate.

Grace flees to New York, where she faces her darkest hours. In a world of surprises, Grace truly discovers paradise.

Buy Dancing Backward in Paradise:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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** This book has strong language and sexual situations, not recommended for those under 17 years of age.**

The first thing that caught my attention about this book was the title. Close your eyes and imagine waltzing with the person of your dreams, dancing backward. The next thing that caught my eye was the synopsis. Nope . . . nothing like my imagining about the title. Then I started reading and I was hooked!

It feels to this Texas girl, like true southern comfort, wrapped up in a pretty package and called Dancing Backward in Paradise.

This is the first book I’ve read by Vera Jane Cook and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. She writes with such heart and her characters seem so real that I was transported to several of the small towns I’ve lived in and could almost rename Grace Place and Lenny Bean with people I’ve known all my life.

I’m not a fan of retelling the story or even rewriting the synopsis. I do want to encourage you in the strongest possible sense of the word to take a minute, click on the purchase link of your choice above and start reading today. You can’t help but fall in love with Paradise and the people who live there.

Dancing Backward in Paradise is definitely worthy of a five star rating!


~ Patricia, Room With Books ~ © May 8, 2014

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Additional Praise for Dancing Backward in Paradise:

“Dancing Backward in Paradise by Vera Jane Cook is a charming rags-to-riches story with a heartwarming ending, memorable characters, and a riveting plot that will make the reader forget the outside world.  The characters in this story are rich and deep. At first, the reader might roll her eyes at Grace’s naïveté and childish reactions as she falls for Lenny, a sexy but lazy “cowboy with sideburns.” Yet as Grace experiences the outside world in sophisticated New York, a place “so miraculous and exciting, so painfully alienating that you just might find yourself amongst the confusion,” the reader will appreciate Grace’s ability to stretch and change. Minor characters have layers, too.

The author’s craftsmanship is stunning and poetic. Cook draws on her own southern heritage to create masterful metaphors like “The car smelled like a Budweiser plant had exploded under the hood and those fools were the happy fish floating in the foam,” or “I was melting faster than ice cubes in Mama’s bourbon.” In the hands of an amateur, such comparisons would only equate one thing to another; Cook layers her metaphors to establish setting and deepen character development.
Anyone who enjoys Southern stories, coming-of-age adventures, murder thrillers, or a satisfying romantic tale should read Dancing Backward in Paradise.”-Emily Asad, Foreword Reviews

“Dancing Backward in Paradise is the debut novel of award-winning theater actress Vera Jane Cook, about one young women’s quest to find herself in “Paradise” – New York City in the 1960s, a place beset by hippies, ambition, and the turbulence of the civil rights era. At first, nineteen-year-old trailer park resident Grace Place enjoys amorous trysts with her lover, Lenny Bean, more than anything else; but urged by her mother to seek fame and fortune in New York City, she works as a cleaning lady for the wealthy Betty Ann Houseman. When her lover betrays her and seeks to steal Betty Ann’s estate, Grace is shocked, yet remains intent upon fulfilling her mother’s wish and seeing New York City with her best friend, Ginny Jo. Together they will discover unforgettable surprises in this Eric Hoffer Award-winning novel. Highly recommended.”Midwest Book Review

“Grace Place tells us her tale with a beguiling and often insightful sincerity. The characters are just a little south of normal, and this facilitates a wonderfully original story and storytelling. The pace is sedate, the plot winds and weaves in all the right places. This is a book that draws you in; it’s bold and blunt and makes no apologies for being so. It’s a southern fried fairy tale. Loved it.”Ralph Hartman, Author

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About the Author

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Vera Jane Cook, writer of Award Winning Women’s Fiction, is the author of The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Lies a River Deep, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Dancing Backward in Paradise and Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem.

Jane, as she is known to family and friends, was born in New York City and grew up amid the eccentricity of her southern and glamorous mother on the Upper West and Upper East Side of Manhattan.

An only child, Jane turned to reading novels at an early age and was deeply influenced by an eclectic group of authors. Some of her favorite authors today are Nelson DeMille, Calib Carr, Wally Lamb, Anne Rice, Sue Monk Kidd, Anita Shreve, Jodi Picoult, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison. Her favorite novels are too long to list but include The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Cheri and The Last of Cheri, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Wuthering Heights, Look at Me, Dogs of Babel, The Bluest Eye, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Body Surfing, Lolita, The Brothers Karamazov, She’s Come Undone, Tale of Two Cities, etc., etc., etc.,

Vera Jane Cook’s Website |  on Twitter | on Facebook

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  •  One (1) eBook copy of  Dancing Backward in Paradise by Vera Jane Cook

Open Internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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5 thoughts on “Cook, Vera Jane: Dancing Backward in Paradise”

  1. Thanks for taking part in the tour. I’m so glad you loved ‘Dancing in Paradise’! I have read three books by Vera Jane Cook and have loved them all! My favorite is ‘The Story of Sassy Sweetwater’.

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