I loved the marvellous and evocative 84 RIBBONS by dancer
and award-winning author Paddy Eger. Now she shows us the
next step on Marta's journey. Marta was a ballet dancer
working her way up through a corps, battling to control her
weight amid the physical and emotional demands of her
chosen career. Having suffered an injury she has had to
leave the ballet, at least temporarily. What will she do
WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS?
Home from the Billings, Montana dance school, 18-year-old
Marta keeps letters to and from friends there like a
lifeline. Her mother has a new beau and a busy life. Marta
wants to be happy, but she doesn't know what to do now.
This is a 1950s story and choices for girls are limited, so
she starts searching out options. She's living at
home, but a place of her own would be better. And a job.
And she should go talk to her former ballet teacher, if
only she didn't feel like such a failure.
I swiftly became totally immersed in Marta's life and could
see her stretching in one direction and snapping back as
she lost confidence again. Her talents are soon put to good
use and she learns about costume and set design for
theatre. She also has time for a social life, even though
she already has a sort of boyfriend, Steve in Billings. As
a girl who never had any time to call her own, Marta is
understandably confused about dealing with new situations.
She's certainly not finished with ballet even though it means wearing ice-filled
If you like ballet or any kind of theatre, dance or fitness
activity, you'll find a lot to identify with and enjoy.
Marta meets people of all ages, united by their love of the
arts. The young woman seems incredibly mature for her age,
which must be a side-effect of her dedication and
discipline. Some new characters, like a pushy mother
determined to see her daughter as a solo artiste, provide a
wry look at ballet, while the beauty and passion of Marta's
dancing demonstrates why people want to learn this craft.
There's also the recurring theme of potentially harmful
WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS is again suitable for teen readers,
but the theme is more business-minded so New Adult and
adult readers will be just as keen to learn from Paddy
Martas life: Part Two. Marta struggles to regain her ability to dance. As she
finds a job to support herself, her dance and her personal life takes several
unexpected and harrowing turns. Will she be able to find a deeper well of
strength to meet these new challenges head-on?
Eighteen year-old Marta Selbryth remained in Billings, Montana until she
realized she'd need an extended recovery time before she'd be able to return
to dancing. As the story begins, it's May, 1958 and Marta's returned to her
family home in Bremerton, Washington. Her plan: work on her recovery and
make decisions about her future as a dancer as well as her relationship with
her boyfriend, Steve Mason.
It's true, it is hard to go home after being on your own, but Marta's mother
welcomes her and lets her discover her own way forward. However, Marta
feels displaced by her mom's special friend, Robert. Being alone and lonely,
she wanders aimlessly through her days and nights. When she takes a job with
the local community theatre, her energy returns. Her enthusiasm further
reignites when her former ballet teacher, Miss Holland, invites Marta to teach
at her dance studio.
Over the fall, winter and into spring, a series of unexpected events at the
dance studio and in Marta's romantic relationships throw her life in chaos. She
must rethink what and who she wants and needs in her life as well as how
much she's willing to forfeit to achieve her goals.