Book Title: Dancing in the Ring
Author: Susan E. Sage
Publication Date: June 22, 2023
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Page Length: 350
@mentorandhermuse @cathie.dunn1 @thecoffeepotbookclub
Detroit in the 1920s proved to be the Paris of the West for many – including Catherine McIntosh and Robert Sage. These two law school students become as passionate about each other as they are their dreams.
From a poor family in the Detroit neighborhood of Corktown, Catherine learned early on, the necessity of being resilient. She becomes one of the first women in Detroit to obtain a law degree. Bob, the ‘battling barrister,’ boxes in order to pay for law school. Despite his gruff and tough-boy personality, my great uncle Bob was a friend to all: judges, cops, and even a couple members of the notorious Purple Gang. The couple becomes legendary in legal circles for their commitment to social justice causes – as well as notorious in the local speakeasies and dancehalls.
At first, their optimism seems boundless, as it had for so many following an era of trauma and challenges that include the 1918 flu pandemic. It isn’t long before their passionate courtship turns into a tempestuous marriage. Then the Great Depression hits and their lives are forever changed.
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Next, Catherine put on her swimsuit in a rundown, but vacant shed everyone always used as a changing house. No point waiting any longer for Bob. Her black suit was a daring one and she could only imagine the disgruntled expressions on the older women. As she easily tucked her short hair into a bathing cap, she wondered what Bob would say, both about her suit and her short hair—that is, if he’d ever get the chance to see it.
Taking a dip in the cool water was truly the cat’s meow! How nice to be away from the people, though Sally’s words replayed in her mind. How dreadful to have no one in this difficult world! Catherine swam further and further out. She’d always been a good swimmer, and had few qualms about swimming into deeper water.
She stopped and began treading water. Who was that muscular-looking man in a one-piece black bathing suit? He began wading in her direction. Before even making a conscious decision to do so, the two swam toward each other as if their lives depended on it.
Bob pulled Catherine to him and she wrapped her legs around his middle. When he tried to French kiss her, she pulled away, more concerned than he was of the watchers from the shore.
“A gal’s got to look after her reputation, right?” she asked.
“I know, I know,” he said. “Say, what if we swam further out where we won’t be seen?”
And so they did. Once they were in over their heads and had no choice but to tread water, Catherine expected Bob to feel her up and she was planning to comply. Instead, he told her to float with her head in the crook of his arm. Then he, too, floated on his back. Occasionally, he used his free arm as an oar and rowed them back into the shallower water. The weightlessness and coolness of the water was this side of divine.
Susan Sage has published three novels: Insominy (2015), A Mentor and Her Muse (2017), and Dancing in the Ring (2023). Her writing has appeared in various literary magazines and journals. She received her English degree from Wayne State University where she was a recipient of the Tompkins Award in creative writing.
Although a Detroit native, she has resided most of her adult life in Flushing, Michigan with her husband and two cats.
Amazon Author Page:https://www.amazon.com/stores/author/B0044UYRA6