Ballerinas and opera singers often appear in historicals only as the mistresses that aristocratic heroes discard once they meet their more gently-born True Love. Dancing on Air features a ballerina heroine in Victorian England, so I thought it could end up being an interesting spin on convention. Unfortunately, weak writing doomed it almost from the start.
Following the death of her mother, a celebrated dancer, Lisette practically grew up in the somewhat rundown Imperial Theater with her harsh Aunt Marie determined to mold her into a prima ballerina. We see Lisette's life in rather simplistic language from the opening scenes of the book - harsh taskmaster of an aunt who is never pleased, special snowflake ballerina who is obviously different from all the rest and so on. At least the supporting cast of dancers and theater workers make an interesting crew.
Despite the lack of ellipses in the dialogue, Lisette still comes off as a wide-eyed, purer than pure Barbara Cartland heroine. And of course, when Lord Gainswith heads out to the ballet, it's love at first sight. We need some drama, though, so there is also an eeeevil depraved aristocrat with his eye on Lisette. A tale of good suitor vs. evil could have been fun in the right hands, but everything in this book is told in such overly simplistic language that it's hard to engage with the story. Basically, Lord Gainswith is a generic sort of guy and Lisette is a Special Snowflake. We know that she will be a great dancer and we know that she will draw a hero's eye because she is Just. So. Special. If ever a reader should start to forget this, just wait a few paragraphs and you'll be beaten over the head with it once more.
This is a partial review. You can find the complete text at All About Romance.