The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

A Spell in Provence

A Spell in Provence

Sunday, 29 May 2016

DANCING FOR THE DEVIL AND THE OULED NAIL DANCERS


 SWORD DANCE, Book 3 of the historical romance trilogy DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, was recently released by Áccent Press. Like the first two books in the series – DREAM CATCHER and BLUE BONNETS – it mostly takes place in the far north of Scotland, so you may wonder why I'm writing a post about Algeria's infamous Ouled Nail dancers. Algeria is a long, long way from Scotland!

Well, here is why. THE DREAM CATCHER, the first novel in my DANCING FOR THE DEVIL trilogy, features Rose Saintclair, an unconventional heroine born and brought up in Bou Saada, an oasis in the Sahara desert. This was where many dancers from the Berber tribe Ouled Nail lived and worked.

The Ouled Nail were made famous by painters such as Etienne Dinet, who settled in Bou Saada in the late nineteenth century and who, like so many other visitors to North Africa, was fascinated by them. The Ouled Nails were trained since their girlhood in the art of dancing. They left their villages to earn a living in market towns and usually returned home after ten to fifteen years, when they had saved enough money to settled down and get married.
Unlike most women in Algeria, they were always unveiled and wore heavy make up. Their eyes were lined with kohl, their hair was braided on both sides of the face, and adorned by elaborate headdresses. Their costume featured voluminous and colourful skirts, lots of necklaces, charms and bracelets. These bracelets often had studs and spikes which the girls used to defend themselves against the unwelcome attentions of overexcited spectators.

The Ouled Nail literally wore their wealth on their person, usually in their long necklaces, sawn into their skirts and shawls, or on their headdress. This made them easy preys to unscrupulous thugs and many were attacked and robbed.

The girls usually danced in pairs. Their style has often been described as 'earthy', and it was often the case that after several dances in costume, the dancers would retire behind a screen, only to reappear completely naked, except for headdress and jewellery, to continue their performance.  

An Ouled Nail Dancer by  Etienne Dinet
Ted Shawn, the famous American dancer and choreographer, saw the Ouled Nail in the early 1900's and is quoted to have said that their dancing could not be called suggestive 'because it left nothing to the imagination'.

Rose Saintclair, the heroine in DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, learnt the art of dancing like a Ouled Nail from one of her childhood friends.  However now she is married to Cameron McRae, one of Scotland's richest landowners, she has to forget all about that most unsuitable skill...Or does she? 

And to carry on the theme of dancing, DANCING FOR THE DEVIL was published in three parts, each one with the title of a Highland dance.

THE DREAM CATCHER

Blurb

Can her love heal his haunted heart?

Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.

Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land in the far North of Scotland. Discharged from the army where he was known as the claymore devil, haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad, he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn's ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable - a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.

But Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master - the man she calls McGlum.



DREAM CATCHER is the first in the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL trilogy and is followed by BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE.



It is available both as an ebook and paperback from

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dream-Catcher-Dancing-Devil-Book-ebook-y/dp/B017D73N0Q/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8








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