Dance of Dreams is the sequel to Reflections. Dance of Dreams takes place several years after Reflections. There is no shared storyline between the two book. The main characters of Dance of Dreams first appeared in Reflections. The books can be read out of order since they each have their own independent story, but I would recommend reading them in order. If you do that, you will have a little more background information on the main characters in Dance of Dreams and know who the other characters from the first book are when they are mentioned or show up. Ballet does play an important role in both books.
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When the book begins, Ruth Bannion, niece of Seth from Reflections is returning home from a date. Donald, her date, is upset because she wouldn't stay out later with him. She has early classes and rehearsals the next day. She is a principal dancer in a popular ballet company, the one Lindsay, also from Reflections, danced in before she returned home. Ruth has been in New York for five years, first studying ballet, as a dancer in the corps, then as a soloist, and now finally as a principal dancer.
Nikolai Davidov is now the artistic director of the ballet. He is very demanding, wanting perfection from the dancers in the company. He does still dance even though he is over 30, when most ballet dancers performing careers are over. Ruth is dancing the female lead in the newest ballet, The Red Rose, that he wrote. He of course is dancing the male lead. They have danced together several times before this. They have been friends for a few years now, and have a good relationship, most of the time. They do have their differences, and they usually clash during rehearsals when he is pushing so hard. Ruth had a huge crush on him when she first arrived in New York, but she got over it.
Donald is upset with Ruth because she won't go to parties with him all the time. She won't stay out late every night like he does. He resents the demands of her career. Ruth does go to a party with Donald one night, staying out entirely too late, but she only went to annoy Nikolai. The next day in class and rehearsal, she was not dancing her best. Nikolai sent her home to rest. That devastated her. Ruth's poor performance that day added ammunition for Leah, another ballerina in the company who was jealous of Ruth. Leah made sure she made some comments about Ruth's performance that day. Leah makes little digs to Ruth every chance she gets, trying to under mind her confidence. Leah is also a very good ballerina. She has also had several lead roles in ballets, but she has never danced with Nikolai. Lately, he has only been dancing with Ruth. Leah wants to be the prima ballerina in the company, but she knows that won't happen if she doesn't dance with Nikolai. Both women were very good ballerinas, but they had very different styles of dancing. Nikolai cast them to roles that were most suited to the dancing style of each.
Donald becomes upset again. He is a fashion designer and he is having an opening of a new collection one night when Ruth has a performance in The Red Rose. He is mad that she won't skip the performance to go to his opening with him. He makes sure to point out that he went to the opening of the ballet. He wants her with him that night and doesn't understand why she doesn't just get her understudy to dance that night. Ruth refuses to do that. Donald then dumps her, saying he is taking someone else to the opening. He goes on to say some horrible things to Ruth. She must then go back to the theater and dance in the ballet. Leah also uses this opportunity to upset Ruth - read the book to find out just what she does. Ruth was not herself that night, and Nikolai knew something was wrong. He took her home and wanted to know what was wrong. She did tell him about Donald, and let a little slip of what Leah said, but she didn't give him a name. Nikolai wants to know who upset her before the performance because he doesn't want to have dancers in his company deliberately upsetting each other before a performance. Ruth refuses to give him a name.
Over the course of the book, Ruth and Nikolai grow closer and become involved. Leah continues to try to stir up trouble, hinting at one point that Nikolai thought Ruth was no longer good enough for her roles. Ruth and Nikolai continue to clash some. Ruth must learn to trust Nikolai and not pay any attention to Leah. Nikolai must learn how to express his feelings better. Though part of his trouble with that is that he is from Russia and English is not his first language, or even his second. When he came to America, he only knew a few words of English, but he could speak a few other languages, French is one, fluently.
This is a good book. It isn't one of Nora Roberts best books, but it is good and worth reading. Ruth and Nikolai were well developed. Some of that came from the fact that they were both in Reflections, so some is learned about the characters in that book. The minor characters aren't as well developed, but they aren't in much of the book. The book is very descriptive and well written. There is no mystery or suspense in this book. The book mainly focuses on the relationship between Ruth and Nikolai.
Ruth Bannion - One of the main characters of the book. She is the niece of Seth Bannion from Reflections. She has been living in New York for several years, first studying ballet, then dancing in a company. She is a principal dancer now, living the life she dreamed of having. She is very focused on her career.
Nikolai Davidov - He is the other main character of the book. He is the artistic director of the ballet company. He does still dance. He has written several successful ballets. He is originally from Russia. He is very demanding with the dancers. He has a little trouble expressing his feelings.
Donald Keyser - Man Ruth was dating. He is a fashion designer. He resents the demands of Ruth's career. He expects her to miss classes, rehearsals, and performances to do things with him.
This is a good entertaining book. Anyone who enjoys Nora Roberts books should enjoy this one. I also think anyone who enjoys ballet would enjoy the book since ballet plays an important role in the book. This book is easy to find right now because it was just reissued in a two book volume with Reflections called Reflections and Dreams. So any Nora Roberts fans missing these books from your collections, now is your chance to get them.