Literature / Dancing Shoes

Dancing Shoes is a young adult novel by Noel Streatfeild (not a typo). It is about two sisters: Rachel and Hilary Lenox, one Happily Adopted, living in 1930s England. Initially they live with their mother in a shabby boarding house, but when their mother dies, the girls are adopted by their Uncle Tom and Aunt Cora, and end up trained in dance, with varying degrees of success.

Tropes in this work:

  • Abusive Parents: Cora subjects Rachel, and later Hilary to serious emotional abuse.
  • Beautiful All Along: Rachel. Only Cora can't see it.
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: With vain Dulcie as Beauty, studious Rachel as brains and active Hilary as brawn. (While Dulcie is also a dancer her looks are emphasized more.)
  • Blithe Spirit: Hilary takes losing not one, but two sets of parents remarkably well.
  • Bookworm: Rachel.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Hilary has far more talent than she does ambition.
  • Cinderella Circumstances: Rachel is a textbook example. She spends most of the book being degraded by Cora and Dulcie for her plainness and difficulties with dancing, only to land a world famous movie role in the final chapter.
  • Determinator: Don't tell Rachel to give up on something. Especially not Hilary's ballet future.
  • Genki Girl: Hilary.
  • Happily Adopted: Hilary Lenox
  • It's All About Me: Dulcie is this. But Cora encourages. She even buys a television just so they can watch Dulcie.
  • Pride: Dulcie. Her fall is that Rachel gets picked to play the lead role of Vera in a feature film.
  • Plucky Girl: Both Rachel and Hilary.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Lively, outgoing Hilary and shy, bookish Rachel.
  • Stage Mom: Cora Wintle towards her daughter, Dulcie. On the other hand, she is very angry when Hilary or Rachel is more successful than Dulcie in anything.
    • Probably stems from the fact whenever Cora auditioned she was too plain so was always in the chorus
  • The Unfavourite: Rachel is this to Cora and Dulcie. They make no secret of it at all. Cora's husband Tom, on the other hand, likes Rachel, and she's the clear favorite of their tutor Mrs. Storm.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Cora definitely qualifies as a wicked step-aunt.