Author: Diane Chamberlain
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: 6th October 2015
Book Source: St Martins Press & NetGalley
Synopsis: Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can't have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly's past and her family-the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison's Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father's death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?
It's no secret I'm a Diane Chamberlain fan. I've read eight or nine books now and enjoyed them all. I haven't loved them all but Pretending to Dance is right up there with another favourite ... The Midwife's Confession. Chamberlain's writing is smart and poignant and topical and I found Pretending to Dance particularly relevant.
Molly has kept her past a secret from her husband Aidan, a past that has laid the ground work for Molly's fears and anxieties as the couple begin the process of adopting a baby.
Chamberlain deftly peels back the layers as the story flashes back and forth from adult Molly to 14 year old Molly. I figured out the 'family meetings' early on but far from lessening my enjoyment, I actually had trouble putting this one down.
Molly had such a heart-melting bond with her therapist father. I adored their interactions, the music shared (nostalgia +) and their closeness. But with Molly being so responsible at 14, I was a bit disappointed her parents weren't a little more open, it didn't quite fit. But, that would have completely changed the dynamics of the story. Anyway, enough with the cryptic ... just read it, I'd love to know what you think!
Diane Chamberlain's insight as a former social worker and psychotherapist is evident in her writing, adding emotion and depth to complex family dynamics. I love that. You may need tissues.
And heads up ... the prequel The Dance Begins gives a little background and packs an emotional punch for a short story. Well worth the read, I loved it.
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