“Dancing with Velvet” by Judy Nickles is a story set inSan Angelo,Texasduring the late 1040’s. Celeste is a young woman living with her father. She has graduated from high school and works as a bookkeeper at the local Woolworth’s. Her father is an alcoholic who treats her more as a housekeeper and cook than a daughter. He is at times a violent man and Celeste does her best to stay out of his way. She lives on what little money she makes and has to pay board to her father even though she also pays for the food and other things which he will not do.
One day as she was walking to work, she spies a beautiful blue velvet dress in the window of a dress shop. It is too highly priced for her, but she dreams of dancing with her prince in this dress, so she puts the dress on layaway until she can come up with the money to pay for all of it. She is finally able to purchase the dress and wears it to the Rooftop where a dance is held every month. It is there that she meets a young traveling salesman, Kent, and strikes up a friendship with him. He loves her blue velvet dress and begins calling her his pet name for her, ”Velvet”. They meet as often as they can at the dance. He becomes her prince in her mind. He is subsequently transferred to another location and she despairs of seeing him again.
World War II is on the horizon andSan Angelois located near an air force training camp,FortConcho. As luck would have it, her young “prince” has enlisted and is sent to train pilots atFortConcho. Celeste volunteers at the local Canteen, where she meetsKentagain. They resume their friendship which turns out to be more than that. Kentcomes with baggage that he has not divulged to Celeste, and she blindly allows herself to fall in love with him. Theirs is not a fairy-tale romance, but continues to be beset by problems from her father’s abuse to aspects ofKent’s life before he met her.
This is the story of Celeste andKent’s love saga. I was unable to stop reading because one thing after the other occurred to cause their love to on-again-off-again. You’ll have to read this book to find out what happened to Celeste and Kent. Suffice it to say, you’ll not be able to put this book down until you find out.