Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve
The Tap Cats of the Sunshine Coast initially appears to be a heartwarming tale of tap-dancing friends performing and enjoying life in the idyllic coast north of Brisbane. What starts as a picture of three friends who have known each other since schooldays, develops into one of conflict, challenge, self-discovery, and dramatic revelation….
Carol, married to Dave, has now retired from her husband’s carpentry business and is involved in her social life in Marcoota, resembling Mooloolaba. Sophia, with her traditional Greek roots, continues her role as a devoted wife, perfecting cooking and cleaning. She is married to Bob, an ambitious lawyer. The third member of the trio is Bonnie who suddenly re-enters their lives. She has always followed a freer, less conventional path, breaking rules and boundaries.
As the year begins, Sophia and Carol resume their tap-dancing class and the senior women there decide to practise hard and enter the Senior Superstar competition.
The group began as an opportunity to dance, socialise, and celebrate being active as older women. As they improve their tap-dancing routines, they are excited by local success. This steers them towards the SuperSeniors Competition in Brisbane.
Along the way, Sophia realises her life must change dramatically; Carol triggers trouble with her outspokenness which she calls ‘truth’; and Bonnie drops more than one bombshell.
Christine Sykes, a successful and much-admired writer, describes the daily routines that many dream of savouring – delicious meals, shared coffee in sunny cafes, an apartment overlooking the ocean, perhaps a trip to Greece….
At intervals in the story, Melissa, a journalist, reviews their efforts and performances which gives a different angle on the ups and downs to their progress to the Brisbane final.
Tap Cats is bound to win many fans – Seniors, tap dancers and other lovers of dance, as well as growing number of retired women who live on the Coast.
It is clear how much Christine Sykes enjoys her own life at the beach setting. The book breathes sunshine and sand, inviting a reader to forget about the everyday routine.
She writes in an easy relaxed style, includes quite a few cliches but this lends a certain comfort.
In a troubled world, a chance to escape is most welcome. This book is a pleasant diversion, where other people actually sort out problems, a competition brings excitement and praise from various quarters, even the government. The narrative in familiar localities is attractive too.
This is Christine Sykes’ third book and it follows two successful titles. Like her characters, she is retired. Her role formerly was a community worker/public servant. Although she lives on the NSW central coast, she often visits the Sunshine Coast.
Readers should find a balcony with views of the water, a glass of wine or cup of tea in hand, and they will be ideally prepared for meeting The Tap Cats of the Sunshine Coast.
The Tap Cats of the Sunshine Coast
by Christine Sykes
ISBN 978 064543 281 7