Circle Dance

ABOUT Lynne Constantine & Valerie Constantine

Lynne Constantine & Valerie Constantine
Lynne wrote her first book, Circle Dance, with her sister Valerie. Writing Circle Dance was a journey of love fueled by the desire to pass on to their children the traditions and experiences unique to them as second generation Greek Americans. Lynne was raised in a close-knit family surrou More...



The beautiful Parsenis sisters led charmed lives – or so they thought.  Born into a prosperous Greek American family, sisters Nicole and Theodora have achieved the perfect balance between the old world rich in Greek tradition and the freedom of life in America.  But when Theodora marries a rich and handsome man from outside the Greek community, events are set in motion that threaten to disrupt the enchanted “circle” of the sisters’ lives.




Headstrong and independent, Nicole plunges into life head-first. Her talent and astute business acumen make her the perfect heir to her father’s empire, but his old world attitudes prevent him from giving the top spot to a woman.  Nicole’s world spins out of control when she falls for a married senator who shares her heritage and her dreams.




As the dramatic plot unfolds, the two young women must confront deceit and betrayal and the consequences of their personal choices – while they struggle to preserve the values they cherish.




Set in Baltimore, Annapolis and the tiny island of Ikaria, Greece, Circle Dance gives the reader a view into the lives of a dynamic family that has successfully achieved the American dream without abandoning the customs and traditions handed down through their Greek heritage.  Artfully intertwined plots bring generations together in a dance of rejoicing and mourning, loss and healing that will keep viewers enthralled until the last frame.




When my sister and I first agreed to collaborate on a story we constructed one similar to what we loved to read at the time – stories about women, their emotional lives, and the choices they make in life. Our first characters were three sisters – beautiful, blonde, rich, and American. The story was a struggle and we realized that we were not writing about what we knew or even about what spoke to us – but rather to what was popular and interesting at the time. We talked about the fact that there were very few stories about the Greek American experience. While similar to other ethnic stories – there are unique aspects to being Greek that we felt needed to be shared. Growing up in a close, tight-knit, community, surrounded by families that had been friends for generations, there was much to be enjoyed about the experience. Being second generation Greek Americans, our loyalties were very much in the American camp. There was a sense of rebellion and wrestling against the tight constraints our grandmother, and to a lesser extent our mother, tried to put on us. The admonition to marry inside the Greek community fell on deaf ears for all three of my siblings as well as myself. We all married wonderful people who brought their own unique heritage and traditions into the tapestry of our lives. Circle Dance is a reminder to them as well – to embrace their beginnings and to never forget that we all come from someplace else. Before writing Circle Dance, we didn’t give much thought to what our grandparents and their own parents had sacrificed in order to improve their lives in a new country. Sophia, the wise grandmother, reflects on this fact during a time of crisis in the lives of the Parsenis family: Sophia was proud of her family in this time of uncertainty and apprehension. They had drawn together around Nick and Eleni, supporting them with their prayers and their presence. She was thankful to be alive to see the fruits of the teaching she and Andreas had tried to instill in their children and grandchildren. Sophia’s own mother, Vasiliki, had not been so fortunate. By the time Sophia and Andreas could afford to make the long voyage back to Greece, Vasiliki was dead. She never saw her daughter’s children. It was only now that her own children and grandchildren were grown that Sophia fully appreciated just how much her mother had missed. Perhaps she was too busy as a young woman to give it much thought or perhaps it was too painful to dwell upon in those days when there was nothing she could do to remedy it anyway. But now she realized the emptiness that she and all the other immigrants left in the souls of parents who knew they would very likely never again set eyes on their offspring, their parenting abruptly terminated and ended forever. Her mother had never challenged her decision to leave for America and never, she now realized, allowed her to see the sorrow she felt at her departure. They were brave, these parents who were left behind alone and childless, and they were openhanded in their unstinting generosity to let go. Looking back to my childhood I now realize that I took for granted the privilege of knowing first-hand my grandmother- fresh from the Greek soil - her Greek accent and customs intact. It tied me closely to my roots and cemented forever my connection to Greece and things Greek. My own children, only half Greek feel no such connection. I have to build for them, layer by layer, an understanding of the importance of knowing your heritage and of being tied to something that came before. Circle Dance is my legacy to them - a view into a world they will never literally enter – but one in which they can vicariously enjoy. May they taste the home-baked bread my Yiayia so lovingly prepared - the butter melting into its warm folds -sugar sprinkled on top. It is my hope that in these pages, they will one day discover the wonderful traditions and customs that are rooted in their genetic makeup. That they might one day desire to return to the country of their origin and appreciate its beauty and splendor. Whatever their response – of one thing they can be assured – Circle Dance was a true labor of love for my sister and me. I hope they will pass it along to their children one day and that the legacy will continue.

“Circle Dance has captured the essence of the Greek American experience. Full of plot twists and turns, it is a page-turner, appealing to Greeks and non- Greeks alike. Bravo to these two talented authors.”

Olympia Dukakis

“This intriguing story filled with deception, hope, sorrow, and joy, is perfectly balanced with the traditions and culture of Greek America. The reader becomes an eyewitness to the saga of the close-knit Parsenis family. Compelling and wonderfully described characters come to life as you conjure up vivid images- trying to anticipate the fast-paced events impacting two sisters, Theodora and Nicole. The story often alternates between these characters with a seamless flow that contrasts and compares their lives. The book’s authors, also children of the Greek-American experience, tell a story that is both delightful and suspenseful. It is not surprising to find the reader transported with ease between the unfolding drama in America and Greece. Beginning with an elusive death, the story comes full circle concluding with the shining hope offered by new life. In a surreal fashion, you are there with the Parsenis family every step of the way and once you finish Circle will simply wish for more.”

– Nicholas M. Prevas, Historian, Author of History of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, Baltimore, 1982. Gone But Not Forgotten, A Definitive History of the Greek Section at Woodlawn Cemetery, Baltimore, 2001.

Circle Dance is a well-crafted, touching story about two Greek- American sisters, Nicole and Theodora, who return to the United States after vacationing with their grandparents in Ikaria, an island in Greece. Each sister is thrust into life changes and circumstances that ultimately test their deepest values. Each one deals with deception that unfolds in their personal relationships, and it is not easy, as they have to handle conflicting emotions and passions. The authors have done an excellent job in realistically portraying love and loss. I loved the two sisters: their characters are rich and well rounded, and both have family values and strong ethics. I felt their heartbreak and sadness, and yet cheered them on when life smiled upon them. This is a wonderful, memorable story and I look forward to reading more from these talented authors!

Patty Apostolides, Author of “The Greek Maiden and the English Lord”