book review: dancing & doughnuts

Dancing and Doughnuts blog tour 2 (1)

Fifty dollars just for asking a few questions? Jedediah Jones figures it must be his lucky day. What dancing and doughnuts have to do with anything, he neither knows nor cares. He’s only interested in earning that money so he can finally eat something other than the apples he’s been living off for days. Once his stomach and his pockets are filled again, he plans to move on.

But answering the advertisement plunges him into a forest of painted trees, twelve pretty sisters, trouble, and more trouble. And, yes, doughnuts.

So many doughnuts.

Can Jedediah Jones solve the mystery and earn that fifty dollars when the whole town has failed? Or will the twelve sisters lose their family’s business no matter what he does?


I dislike mysteries, but Dancing & Doughnuts was the rare exception. The plot – complete with a multitude of suspects, red herrings, and other forms of misdirection – was so clever and interesting that I couldn’t help but be sucked in. There’s a charm about this story that has to be savoured (like Rachel’s previous book, Cloaked, but even better).

The descriptions are so evocative! I want to stuff my face with those delicious doughnuts – crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, filled with sweetness and spice and covered in sugar. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about them. Then there’s the apple cider and the lemon soda water…it all sounds so, so good.

Like Cloaked, Dancing & Doughnuts is chock-full of amazing, lovable characters. I know that the author loves reading books that include characters she’d like to be friends with and, as it turns out, she writes books like that too! It’s awesome. The main character/narrator, Jedediah Jones, has a fun way of looking at life, people, adverse situations, etc. but there’s also a depth to him that I like (he was a sergeant major during the Civil War and it’s affected him in more ways than one). All the Algonas are great. I especially like Alice, Clara, and Felicity. Alice is #goals and also #relatable, which is a great combination. Really, I like all the characters in this novella (with the possible exception of Mayor Gatz) – they’re all very real and and flawed, yet exceedingly pleasant and fun. ❤ I’d be more than happy to meet them in real life, if it were possible.

Dancing & Doughnuts is a retelling of the classic fairy-tale, ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses’, and it was soooo cool to pick out the references and parallels to the original story (and I’m sure I didn’t catch them all). The painted forest sounds so beautiful! And actually having twelve ‘princesses’ instead of cutting the number down? A bit tricky, but the way Rachel did it was believable.

Highly recommended to fans of westerns, mysteries, fairytale retellings, or just a good story in general!


Don’t forget to add Dancing & Doughnuts to your Goodreads shelf and buy the Kindle or paperback edition on Amazon! You can check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour here. Rachel is also hosting a super awesome giveaway for the book tour that you can enter here!

Dancing and Doughnuts Giveaway Prizes


7 thoughts on “book review: dancing & doughnuts

  1. I’m 100% okay with you not loving Mayor Gatz 🙂 He’s probably the only named character in this book that I don’t love myself, though he amuses me greatly.

    I knew from the start that I did not want to cut down the number of princesses, but I also knew that a novella would never sustain twelve fully developed sister characters. Then I remembered the book Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson, which also suffered from a glut of similar females. Whitson focused mainly on just 4 or 5 of them, and the others stayed in the background, and it worked soooooooooooo well. So I thought, “You know, in the versions of this fairy tale I’ve read, it’s only the oldest and youngest who get much page time. Maybe I should do the same.” So I started focusing on Alice and Felicity, but the two of them were not enough, so I tossed Clara into the mix and the whole thing came to life. Alice’s twin Anna stepped into a more prominent role thanks to a certain handsome rancher, and Felicity’s twin Flora does get a bit of page time too. But the rest of them can just remain in the background. (To be very honest, even *I* can’t remember all their names. I bet a lot of the townsfolk can’t either.)

    And yeah, I always write characters I want to be friends with. Otherwise, I don’t care about them, lose interest in the story, and move on to something else.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, I like that Mayor Gatz wasn’t a mustache-twirling villain. 😀 So many westerns mayors in books and movies and TV shows kinda are.

      I haven’t read Sixteen Brides yet, but I really need to.


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