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Dancing and Doughnuts

(Once Upon a Western #2)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  26 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Twelve Dancing Princesses… reimagined.

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
Paperback, 203 pages
Published August 31st 2018 by White Rook Press
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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Katie  Hanna
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing


I had a huge silly grin on my face the entire time I was reading. I can't remember the last time a story did that to me. It made me happy. Really, truly happy.I may be smol and cynical and full of several anxiety disorders, but I couldn't resist this story's magic.

Come to think of it, it's hard to see how anyone could resist the goofy, exuberant energy Dancing and Doughnuts serves up. We've got a family of twelve (12) daughters, trying to
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*muffled squeals*


Dancing and Doughnuts has pretty much everything. Plot, characters, humor, pacing, detail, and ATMOSPHERE out the whazoo. It's wonderful.

Let's start with characters.

Jedediah Jones is the epitome of a likable protagonist. This guy was witty, responsible, and unflaggingly honest and chill. He doesn't feel the need to put on a 'tough guy' façade -- or any façade at all, for that matter. He is who he is and he knows it and he's cool with it and he's
Another excellent retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, a tale that I don't particularly like but that keeps inspiring authors to great reworkings in diverse settings, for which it's earned a place in my good graces.

This one is a Western, set in the dusty town of Peabody Crossing in post-Civil War Kansas, to where discharged former Union cavalry sergeant major Jedediah Jones arrives with no intentions of staying. But his empty pockets convince him to take up a tempting offer to solve the
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
This book is even better than Cloaked, and that's the opinion of someone who usually doesn't care for mysteries. Love the writing, love the characters, love the plot. Highly recommended to fans of westerns, mysteries, fairytale retellings, or just a good story in general.
J.M. Stengl
What a fun read! If you've been reading my reviews, you already know how greatly I admire Ms. Kovaciny's writing voice and style. She somehow manages to turn fairy tales into charming and believable Westerns! No fairy godmothers or magic of any kind, just fun plots including elements from the original tales and featuring charming characters in a very well-drawn Western setting.

Jedediah Jones, Civil War vet and drifter, tries his hand at solving a mystery for the prize of $50. But someone is
Erudessa Aranduriel
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I very much enjoyed this story. It was a light and easy read, amusing, and even a bit thought provoking. I love westerns and fairytales so I am always delighted when someone mixes them together.

I liked how Ms. Kovaciny wove in the themes from the original Twelve Dancing Princesses tale. Mixing fairytale aspects into a non-magical world isn't always an easy thing to achieve, but she did a very good job. My favorite element was
Kate Willis
Sep 08, 2018 marked it as to-read
Doughnuts, sisters, and a cover that reminds me a lot of Garth Williams' drawing style?? I need.
Serethiel ☽ ✨
3.5 stars

I was ecstatic when Rachel first announced Dancing & Doughnuts as her 2018 release. Having been a fan of Cloaked (as well as a more recent reader of Five Magic Spindles: the Man on the Buckskin Horse and No Match for a Good Story), I long ago decided that Rachel Kovaciny made her mark on my list of favorite authors. And, although I didn't enjoy Dancing & Doughnuts quite as much as her other tales, it still made for an enjoyable read. :)

Jedediah Jones is a drifter. Haunted by
Mary Moerbe
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really appreciate how this author holds her own in both full-length novels and short stories. I also think it's great that she collaborates with other authors in fun book-length collections! But now to the book at hand.

I really enjoyed the main character and voicing of the story. I chuckled out loud by how the male protagonist was outnumbers and nearly outmanned by that lady-laden town! The other men were well-written, too. I appreciated the twists and turns and evidences of character
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The drifter Jedediah Jones can’t believe his eyes: $50 just for asking a few questions? Must be his lucky day!

Short on cash and long on ideas, Jedediah crosses the street to ask what the reward’s about. Turns out, some low-life has been dumpin’ whiskey or some such thing into the punch bowl at the local Dance Hall, where the twelve daughters of a musician serve up dances and doughnuts for a dollar an evening.

Now, any feller worth his salt can’t have that, so Jedediah gladly takes on the case,
Laura A. Grace
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was such a great story! Being that it was my first western book and Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling I've read, I went in very open-minded and excited.

It was so much better than anything my brain might have thought or imagined!

Jedediah was a great hero to cheer for and had me smiling on more than one occasion with his thinking. I also loved his sense of honor and respect. Plus, he's a great detective! ;)

The mystery part of this story was a surprise and an exciting one. I think that
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful little story told by a wonderful author!

Dancing & Doughnuts is just plain fun. I love the main character, Jedidiah Jones, and Ms. Kovaciny does a great job fleshing out the cast of supporting characters. Though I’m not familiar with the original fairytale, I caught a few references. The mystery was interesting and the ending was sweet. This is the kind of book I want my little sister to read and the kind of story I want to write—five stars!
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
That was super fun! Review to come with blog tour. But for now, just know that it'll make you grin! :)
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing

This is a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, which I think the world needs more of. I would recommend having some snacks on hand as you read this. Doughnuts, if you can get them. It will make you incredibly hungry. Rachel has a way of describing food that makes your mouth water, especially the doughnuts.

The descriptions in this story are top notch and paint such vivid pictures. I love the Dance Hall most of all and the unique way she brought in the silver and gold trees, from the original
Maddie Morrow
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a fun little book. I'm not real familiar with the original Twelve Dancing Princesses story, but throughout reading this I caught little bits that I recognized and thought 'ahah!' Rachel wove them into a western setting very nicely.
This book deals with a very large cast, but it does pretty well at letting us get to know them, and care about each individual.
The mystery had me really confused for awhile, and when I did figure it out it all made sense.
Jedediah Jones is a humorous main
Abby Jones
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a fun little retelling! Sweet, pleasantly authentic. I love the fairy tale since as a Western. I love that you can tell the author knows the West and the fairy tale. No magic was required, but she wove hints of fey in here and there.
The refutation of the idea that God helps house who help themselves was refreshing.
Clean and safe for young readers.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is such a sweet retelling, I love it! It has the main ingredients from Twelve Dancing Princesses but is a story all its own too. The western theme with a dance hall and a little mystery is charming!

I can't wait to read her other books!
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply Marvelous

A brilliant mystery, fantastic characters, and a stupendous setting! Very much a feel good sort of book. All that talk of donuts made me hungry!
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Lisa Spoelstra
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Oct 27, 2019
Meredith Burton
Aug 20, 2018 marked it as to-read
My computer will not let me rate books on this site, but I give this clever retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" 4 stars. I really liked it!

With such an alliterative title, (and because of my ferocious sweettooth), I was immediately intrigued by this book. Mrs. Kovaciny ingeniously retells a familiar story in a unique setting. Without magical elements, she nevertheless incorporates all of the elements from the Grimms story into this engaging Western. I especially like how she includes
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Born only a few miles from where Jesse James robbed his first train, Rachel Kovaciny has loved the Old West all her life. She now lives in Virginia with her husband and their three homeschooled children. In her free time, Rachel writes for the magazines "Femnista" and "Prairie Times," reads, bakes, blogs, watches movies, and daydreams.

Her book "Cloaked" was a 2018 Peacemaker Awards finalist for

Other books in the series

Once Upon a Western (2 books)
  • Cloaked (Once Upon a Western, #1)