Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

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

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: Diane Chamberlain is quickly becoming one of those authors that I just have to read...her books are so emotionally charged and the stories are so compelling, you can't help but find yourself completely engaged in them. And, if you happened to read the prequel to this book, The Dance Begins, then you know the stage was set and like me, have been waiting to find out how things would play out...

I love how this story was told - using the past, when Molly was 14 and living back on Morrison Ridge with her disabled father and family; and the present when Molly is an adult and living in San Diego with her husband going through the adoption process. It moves back and forth, giving just enough with each timeframe to slowly put the pieces of the puzzle together. As the story is coming together, we are also given the pros and cons of open and closed adoptions, which I found to be quite fascinating and plays a huge part in both story lines. 

This story is so emotionally complex and as the layers are peeled away, you realize that nothing is as it seems. You want to know all the secrets that everyone seems to be keeping but at the same time, you almost don't for fear of what they might be. 

There are so many topics that this book covers - coming of age, living with a disability, adoption and all that comes with that, dysfunctional families, and more. It also has a little mystery to it that creates a little suspense and will keep you glued to those pages even more, if you weren't already.

I flew through this book, finding myself needing to see how everything would play out. It's one story that I have not stopped thinking about, long after reading that last page. I have only read Diane Chamberlain's more recent books, and I certainly plan on going back and reading her backlist as I haven't been disappointed yet and everyone keeps raving about them. Do you have a favorite that I should start with?


  1. I loved this one too, heaps to think about in it. I have read a few of her books and have more on my TBR shelf but can't offer any suggestion as to what would be good to read! Safe with most if not all of them probably!

  2. Great review! I have this one in my TBR stack. I really enjoyed Breaking the Silence and have been meaning to read more from her.

  3. The combination of many factors and themes added so much interest to the story.

  4. I just may read this author next. It can be fun to try out a new author or not. Glad to read your thoughts on her work.


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