Review: Pretending to Dance

November 18, 2015 book review, family, fiction, St.Martins Press 3

Pretending to Dance

  • Written by:  Diane Chamberlain
  • Published by:  St. Martin’s Press, October 6, 2015
  • Length: 352 pages
  • Source: Publisher in exchange of an honest review.  This in no way impacts my opinions.

Summary:  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? (publisher)

My Thoughts:  This book is written in two time lines, Molly now, married, struggling to fine the right kind of open adoption for her and her husband. The other is Molly as a young teen and the summer her world changed and fell apart.  What she needs to do she doesn’t want to consider.  She needs to return to the North Caroline mountain where she grew up, to face her mother, to learn what really happened.

The first half of this book moved slow for me.  I saw the adult Molly as a little self absorbed and not very nice.  Hiding her real family history from her husband.  I liked the Molly of her teen years, and while her family dynamics were unique at best she was fairly balanced and a typical teen.  She had movie and music teen crushes, she was on the cusp of becoming a mature teen and leaving little girl pursuits behind her.  In a rather protected environment she was given much freedom. I hesitate to say more about her parents as it’s an important part of the book you need to read.

As the book progressed I primarily felt that Molly was kept in the dark from the larger choices made by her family the summer of her youth.  I believe it hurt her, and was impossible to turn around without complete openness and while difficult, necessary.  Secrets can really never be good.

I didn’t love this book, but in the end I did like it, I enjoyed the deeper discussions that occurred on open adoption and much more, again not giving away the book.  If you are a fan of Diane Chamberlain’s don’t miss this one.

3 Responses to “Review: Pretending to Dance”

  1. litandlife

    Sounds like this is one that might make a good book club choice for the discussion it could generate.

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