Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

Title: Pretending to Dance
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: 6th October 2015
Pages: 352
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? 

My Thoughts: 
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. 



Connect with Diane Chamberlain



19 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. you need to read Diane Chamberlain Julie, I think you'll love her writing!

      Delete
  2. I can't wait to read this one! Diane Chamberlain has been on my To read list for ever and I'm really looking forward to this one. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't wait to see what you think Katherine :)

      Delete
  3. I've read one book by this author that I liked very much and one that I didn't. I'm planning on trying this one for sure and I need to read The Midwife's Confession.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes definitely my two faves ... which one didn't you like Kay? My least favourite so far is The Escape Artist, wasn't a bad read but it felt a bit dated and predictable but then it was written 1997 lol

      Delete
  4. I wasn't sure if this was one I'd enjoy, but it sounds like I need to try it! Glad to see you loved it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Give it a go Brandie, I think you'll be hooked. Have you read any DC?

      Delete
  5. The Midwife's Confession was my first from DC, who has since become a "must read" author. I am loving Pretending to Dance....it will also be a favorite, I can tell...I did forget about the prequel...I need to get it now! Thanks.

    And the social workers who show up in most of her books resonate with me, after my thirty years in that career.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you are loving it too Laurel. DC writes what she knows and it shows doesn't it? Being your career for so long, you would know if it didn't ring true.

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Yep, your list is getting longer and longer B lol

      Delete
  7. This actually arrived the other day so I'm looking forward to it! I've not read any of hers but I know a lot of people reviewed her last (something about a sister?) and loved it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't wait to see what you think Deb ... Silent Sister wasn't a favourite, enjoyable but I found the ending 'meh'

      Delete
  8. I have this to read this coming week so thanks for being cryptic but making me look all the more forward to this one. I love the psychotherapists and counsellors who write, they bring such depth to their characters. I haven't read her Midwife's Confession yet so still have plenty of hers to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know how much you enjoy DC's writing Kathryn, your reviews for the Kiss River series had me pushing those up the read list. Hope you like Pretending to Dance and The Midwife's Confession as much as I did :)

      Delete
  9. I liked this book but not as much as her other books.

    I did like the relationship Molly had with her father. I just didn't like her choices as a 14-year old. :)

    Thanks for your wonderful review.

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it would be a boring old world if we all had the same favourites :)
      in many ways Molly seemed older than her 14 years and in others her parents seemed to baby her.

      Delete
  10. I enjoy this author, and this sounds so good..plus that cover is gorgeous. I love red.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to leave some comment love, I'm a 'comment back' kinda girl. Don't forget to check the 'Notify me' box