Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She and her husband live in San Diego, where they hope to soon adopt a baby. But the process terrifies her.As the questions and background checks come one after another, Molly worries that the truth she’s kept hidden about her North Carolina childhood will rise to the surface and destroy not only her chance at adoption, but her marriage as well. She ran away from her family twenty years ago after a shocking event left her devastated and distrustful of those she loved. Now, as she tries to find a way to make peace with her past and embrace a future filled with promise, she discovers that even she doesn’t know the truth of what happened in her family of pretenders. Told with Diane Chamberlain’s compelling prose and gift for deft exploration of the human heart, Pretending to Dance is an exploration of family, lies, and the complexities of both.
I joined the BookSparks’ Fall Reading Challenge this year, as I shared with everyone in previous book review posts. They are continuing with a theme they developed last year and that translates to the fact that I have skipped the “freshman” year and jumped into the “sophomore” year. I’m now on another BookSparks “class” called Intro to Social Work, Women’s Fiction Department (which I know you figured out means this book).
I will be honest with you about two things: (1) I have read every Diane Chamberlain book available for purchase; and (2) I joined the #FRC2015 Book Tour because I knew I wanted to read this book. I always get pretty excited when I see she has released a new book, and to be able to read one before it’s released was amazing! Why do I love Diane Chamberlain? I love her stories, I love the way she writes and I know that I will fall right into the story, feel a part of the characters and wish there was just one more (or two or three) chapters! This book was exactly what I had expected too!
Without providing a spoiler, here’s a little about the book: The main characters are Molly and Aiden, a married couple who are both lawyers and are applying to adopt a baby because Molly has lost their first baby. Aiden has a very honest, innocent and wholesome childhood background he doesn’t hesitate to share, and he thinks Molly has the same. We quickly find out that Molly has given Aiden (and the adoption people) a completely untrue story about how she was raised and has been lying all along. In fact, she actually had a previous fiance lost as a result of disclosing the truth of her upbringing.
Ms. Chamberlain shows readers how Molly feels about both Aiden and the adoption people finding out the truth about her family and her very unusual and unconventional upbringing. Because they are very strong in the marriage and except for this not-so-small part of her life, they are very honest, so Molly feels certain if she reveals the truth about how she grew up she will lose the chance of having a family and she might even destroy her marriage.
Ms. Chamberlain takes readers from Molly and Aiden’s life in 2014 back to the summer of 1990 in North Carolina. Little by little, we learn all about Molly’s family, all living on one portion of land on Morrisons Ridge. At this point in her life, Molly is a mere 14 years old, and for the most part she’s a normal, healthy 14 year old teenager. She is just discovering boys and loves New Kids on the Block and Johnny Depp. She loves her father, Graham, and her entire world evolves around him and the family. She then connects with a new friend named Stacy who is much more mature than Molly and tries really hard to bring Molly “up to speed” with the boys (if you know what I mean)…..
As Molly learns the ropes of being a teenage girl from Stacy, we learn about her father’s diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis that is slowly taking the life out if him, one day at a time and everyone does their best to keep that fact deeply hidden from Molly herself. Graham is provided with constant care by his wife, his caretaker, Russell, and the rest of his family.
When I was a child, I was what they call a “daddy’s girl”, and I loved how tight Molly and Graham were in this story. Their father-daughter relationship is so endearing and I truly appreciate how he helps try to guide her life while he deals with his own life coming to an end. Diane Chamberlain didn’t fail me in her writing – she provided me with fabulously realistic and authentic characters. I blinked (and wiped my tears) and realized I’d read the whole book, which only made me thirsty for the next Diane Chamberlain book.
On a 1-5 star rating, I’d give this book a 4. The only reason I fail to provide a 5 is because I cannot recall any of her other books dropping the “f” bomb, which I think this one only used once but I felt it was unnecessary. I also felt that the “sex” scene went a little far without the need to do so. Maybe I’m becoming a prude, but I just felt like the story would have remained intact without these two situations.
Diane Chamberlain is the USA Today and London Times bestselling author of 24 novels published in more than twenty languages. Some of her most popular books include Necessary Lies, The Silent Sister, The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and The Keeper of the Light Trilogy. Diane likes to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends. Although the thematic focus of her books often revolves around family, love, compassion and forgiveness, her stories usually feature a combination of drama, mystery, secrets and intrigue. Diane’s background in psychology has given her a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, as well as the background necessary to create her realistic characters. Please visit Diane’s website at www.dianechamberlain.com for more information.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers and BookSparks in exchange for this post, which is my honest review and unbiased opinion.