The Blueberry Swirl Waltz by Maria Imbalzano

The Blueberry Swirl Waltz by Maria Imbalzano
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short story (118 pages)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

After a family crisis, Katie Hathaway must return home to help out in the family’s ice cream shop. She leaves behind her dream job of teaching ballroom dance to spend her summer scooping ice cream and mixing milkshakes.

Chaz Hollander, Katie’s high school crush, has also returned to town to work in his family’s business. After Katie treats him to a blueberry swirl sundae, he invites her to the town’s upcoming dance. The only problem is he has two left feet.

When Katie starts giving Chaz dance lessons, their chemistry ignites, and the postponement of her dream doesn’t seem as ominous. But financial woes and a suspicious business deal cast a shadow on their budding relationship.

Katie was ecstatic when all her hard work paid off and she was given a job at the dance studio. Excited to share the news with her family, she rushes home only to find out that her mother has broken her arm and Katie is needed to help run their ice cream shop during their busiest month – and so she needs to put her own dreams and ambitions on hold for a while longer. When she finds her old high school crush, Chaz has moved back home also, Katie is pleased but cautious when they reconnect.

I enjoyed the older style of this story. While the plotline was fairly simple and straight forward Katie’s character was interesting and I found myself quite drawn to her and the hard decision she made to help her family. There is a very strong cast of secondary characters that I felt really helped boost the story – with Katie’s mother and two sisters, as well as the hunky Chaz. The romance was slow and quite sweet with just a few steamy kisses – as I feel anyone should expect from a romance story set back in the 1950s. I enjoyed the small-town feel of the whole story, how the community knew each other and gossip spread around like wild-fire.

The scenes of Katie teaching Chaz to dance was sweet and really helped sell me on how well the two characters meshed together. It also helped show me – without any sexual intimacy – how they had chemistry and how the attraction wasn’t just one-sided on Katie’s behalf. I felt the author did an amazing job of showing (not telling) the romance and this really helped me love the story more. I also liked how there were multiple aspects to the plot – Katie helping out her mother and sisters and the drama with the ice cream shop was an excellent counterpart I felt to the romance blossoming between Katie and Chaz.

A strong and character-centric story, this was a great read and one I can easily recommend. With vibrant characters, a few good, strong plotlines and a lovely slow moving romance this story is one I feel sure will appeal to many readers.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Thank you LASR for hosting me on your site. I loved writing this novella because I used my grandmother’s ice cream and confectionery shop as the setting and my mother’s job as a ballroom dance teacher to craft my heroine. Are any of you readers “Dancing with the Stars” fans?

  3. Great review

  4. Thank you for hosting. I loved writing this novella because the setting is my grandmother’s ice cream and confectionery shop which she owned from the 1930’s to the 1960’s in Roebling, NJ. The heroine is based on my mother’s job as a ballroom dance teacher. My mom and I both watch “Dancing With The Stars” and critique the dances when it’s over. Are any of you dancers?

  5. Great giveaway and excerpt. 🙂

    • Hi Cali: Thank you for stopping by and reading the excerpt. This was a special book for me since the setting is my grandmother’s ice cream and confectionery store in Roebling in the 50s. The heroine is based on my mother’s job as a ballroom dance teacher. Maria

  6. Debbie P says

    This sounds like a really good read. Nice cover!

  7. Victoria Scott says

    Sounds great! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Great read! TY for the chance.

  9. It sounds like a book I’d love to read. I like character-driven stories. Thanks!

  10. Peggy H. says

    Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?

  11. Hi Peggy. I don’t because I plot my books out to the nth degree. But there are times that I have an issue with my characters that I can’t figure out. So I walk away from writing and read or exercise or do a crossword puzzle. If I still can’t figure it out I reach out to my critique partners. Thank you for stopping by. Maria

  12. James Robert says

    Thanks for sharing your great  book and for the giveaway too.

  13. Bernie Wallace says

    Who is your favorite character that is still writing?

    • Hi Bernie: One of my favorite characters is Nicki from my Sworn Sisters Series. The series is about four women who met in high school and who are now in their thirties. Each woman has their own story, but they are in each other’s story as well. Nicki’s story is called “Sworn to Forget,” the first of the series. I am now writing the third book and Nicki makes several appearances.

  14. Victoria Alexander says

    Sounds like a wonderful book!

  15. Bernie Wallace says

    How did you come up with the title of the book?

    • Hi Bernie: This book is part of the One Scoop or Two Series published by the Wild Rose Press. We had to have a flavor of ice cream in the title, so I picked blueberry because mid-summer is blueberry season in NJ. I added the swirl to blend in with the dancing theme and I also wanted a dance in the title to let the reader know a little about the book. I thought that waltz would be more romantic than jitterbug or cha-cha. So, that was how I came up with the title.

  16. Danielle Merkle says

    Sounds like a great read!

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