Saturday, October 03, 2015

Review: The Dance Begins by Diane Chamberlain Plus Spotlight of New Book

Title: The Dance Begins    
Author: Diane Chamberlain          
Published: August 2015, St. Martin's Press  
Format: E-book, 44 pages   
Source: Personal copy  

In this short story prequel to Pretending to Dance, psychologist Graham Arnette longs to dance the way he used to, before illness stole his ability to walk. Graham lives on one hundred acres of family land with his daughter Molly and his wife Nora-and with Amalia, a green-eyed beauty with whom Graham shares his hopes and fears. Six-year-old Molly is the light of Graham's life. As he and his extended family turn an old springhouse into a playhouse for her, long buried hostilities emerge that lead to anger and resentment. . . and, ultimately, to the healing power of family love.

My thoughts: I have a copy of Diane Chamberlain's upcoming book, Pretending to Dance (due out October 6), and I am very excited to start reading it. When I saw there was a prequel, I has to read it...I love prequels and this one has me really anxious to start reading the new book.

What I love about this prequel is that it introduces us to the characters for Pretending to Dance, but is set much earlier. It's one day that happened long ago - the day the family was working on turning the springhouse into a playhouse for Molly and when Molly learned to ride her bike without training wheels, but allows us to meet Molly, her parents, Graham and Nora, and some of their extended family. It's a typical Diane read in that she gives us that deep insight into the family and their relationships, even with this short story. Already you get the sense there are some secrets hiding amongst family members - secrets that will hopefully come to light in Pretending to Dance.

I'm not sure if this is necessarily to read before reading Pretending to Dance, but it sure to get me more excited. And if you would like to read more about the book, be sure to keep reading to see the spotlight and some early praise of the book!


Title: Pretending to Dance   
Author: Diane Chamberlain       
Published: October 2015, St. Martin's Press   
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages   

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?

Early Praise for Pretending to Dance:

"Exploring the thrilling feelings of first love, the depths of teenage angst, and the difficult decisions families and spouses make together, Pretending to Dance is a multilayered, poignant novel. Chamberlain writes knowledgeably about seeing a family member confront a degenerative illness, the power of therapy, and the hardship of loss. Reminiscent of a Sarah Dessen or Sharon Creech novel, Pretending to Dance proves that a coming-of-age story can happen at any time in your life."  —Booklist

"While the family argues and Molly's hormones run wild, something else is going on that will make for the explosive revelation at novel's end."  Kirkus Reviews

"A book rich in relatable characters and moving scenes, this stunning tale will linger with readers long after the last page. (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick)"  —RT Reviews



  1. I don't normally read novellas but I make an exception for DC. I downloaded this last week but haven't read it yet. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. It was really good and now I can't wait to see how it works with the novel. Have you read Pretending to Dance yet? I'm hoping to start it soon!

  2. These both sound really good! I read one of her books in my book discussion group and have been meaning to read more.

  3. I still haven't read Chamberlain but I want to give her a try. Maybe I'll hunt up this novella.


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