I'm beginning to realise how far Barbara Michaels' later work departs from her earlier, more simplistic, romantic suspense novels. Once again, The Dancing Floor is not at all what I expected it to be given my earlier experiences with Ammie, Come Home and Sons of the Wolf. Though having said that, this isn't much different in some ways, just a more sophisticated version.
The MC, Heather, is following the English garden tour itinerary her late father had meticulously planned with her before his untimely death. The trip culminates in a visit to a private estate with one of the few original, unaltered gardens in existence. When she's rebuffed at the gate, she sneaks in the back, scaring herself stupid and getting caught in the process. The owner is an eccentric old man who decides fate has brought her there and convinces her to stay on to help him restore the gardens. This is all set in an English village related to the Pendle Witch trials, so there's a lot of superstitions and possible paranormal activity going on, and then a boy goes missing.
It's a good story, and I always enjoy the banter between Michaels' characters, but there are a lot of unanswered questions too. Heather's obviously got a lot of mother issues, but they're never explained. Neither are her nightmares. And the title of the book does not play into the plot at all. The Dancing Floor is mentioned 3 or 4 times in the book as another mystical location, but that's it.
Michaels decides to put the suspense in the romance in this book; she's got so many men making passes at Heather (a 'husky' MC whose love of eating is a constant source of one-liners - in a good natured way - throughout the story) and it's not until the very end that anyone is declared the love interest. And I do mean the end, as in the last 3 pages.
Not one of her greatest, but a fun book nonetheless.
I read this as my final wild card selection in Halloween Bingo. I'm using it for the Fear the Drowning Deep square.