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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

A Flawed And Complex Heroine

An Invitation to Dance - Marion Urch

An Invitation To Dance is a fictionalised account of the life of Eliza Gilbert, an Irish woman of humble origins who re-invented herself as the Spanish dancer Lola Montez at the beginning of the nineteenth century and took much of Europe by storm. In a turbulent and scandalous life she counted among her lovers the composer Franz Liszt and the elderly King Ludwig of Bavaria.

A flawed and complex heroine, Marion Urch’s Lola is a proto-feminist struggling to carve out an independent existence in a patriarchal, class-bound society, a society, nevertheless, that is beginning to unravel in the face of inarticulate but powerful social forces. Lola’s solution to is to create for herself a bewildering patchwork of identities and it is this sometimes glittering, sometimes shabby fabric that the author delicately unpicks in beautifully textured and evocative prose.