August 2011 | Deb Burst

Pamela Ewen's latest page turner: "Dancing on Glass"

Pamela Binnings Ewen has crafted another masterpiece that explores real-life drama spun deep inside historical fiction. The seed of Dancing on Glass was sown from an evening ritual with husband Jimmy sitting on their back deck overlooking a golf course and cypress swamp. During the twilight hour just as the birds began to roost, every evening a white egret would welcome Pam and Jimmy to her home. They named her Iris and soon she introduced her beau and offspring. Infatuated with Iris and the secrets of the cypress forest, a story was born. 

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(Egret photo courtesy of Jacob Thompson of Amite, Louisiana and winner of Louisiana Outdoor Writer's Association 2010 Youth Journalism Photography Contest) 

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Dancing On Glass book cover.jpgSet in New Orleans from 1974-1977 women were entering a new frontier previously dominated by men. Many learned the hard way that success had its consequences. Amalise Catoir left the comforts of her small hometown to the big city of New Orleans. Finishing up her law degree at Tulane University, she worked and lived in the French Quarter enamored with its sultry and whimsical flair. A kind-hearted and trusting person on the brink of a major career, she was perfect prey for a charming and magnetic artist, Phillip Sharp. He was a conniving man, a chameleon sucking the life out of Amalise weaving his cocoon of lies separating her from friends and family.

The scenes are so real you hear the street side musicians, crave the coffee and beignets and smell the sweet olive in Jackson Square. Like a mini guidebook, follow the life of Amalise inside Café Pontalba (corner of St. Peter and Chartres) where she waited tables or step inside St. Louis Cathedral where she prayed for redemption. Ewen took care in describing New Orleans in the mid 70s with proper names and vivid descriptions such as Baileys, a popular restaurant for business lunches in the Roosevelt hotel. Many of the bars and restaurants are at the same location but now with different names. 


Ewen's poetic prose fits perfectly with the vintage backdrop: Amalise loved life here...she loved the pink rumbling old brick of the low buildings, and the boxy Creole cottages right on the street with their cool, shaded courtyards secreted inside, and she loved the cafes, like the Napoleon House, where the decrepit phonograph played whatever record one played---the changer slamming them down on the turn-table one at a time with a clunk and a bang. Said Amalise, "It's the music of the Quarter that gets inside you...the wind chimes, foghorns, soul music, blues, jazz, the honky-tonk that fills the air and when you breath it in, it becomes a part of you, like oxygen." 

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Pressured by Phillip, Amalise makes a rash decision to marry him. The more her law career blossoms, the more Phillip stalks his prey. A real page turner, Dancing on Glass brings to life a dilemma that still haunts women today, but how will Amalise survive this fatal choice? What would you do when all seems hopeless and you find yourself forever dancing on shattered glass?


The book was released August 1st and Pam and Jimmy are on a two week book tour till the end of August. Don't miss the sequel of Dancing on Glass. Set in New Orleans, Chasing the Wind will feature the continuing saga of Amalise and Jude, her childhood friend and confident. Pre-press headliners: A mysterious child with a forgotten past. Love, yearning and envy. A razzle-dazzle financial wizard building a resort hotel in the city of New Orleans. When they collide--anything can happen!

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