Hugely excited to be part of the blog tour for Pretending to Dance, I can't believe that I haven't read any of Diane's books before but this certainly won't be the last.
The BlurbWhen the pretending ends, the lying begins . . . Molly Arnette is good at keeping secrets. As she and her husband try to adopt a baby, she 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. Molly 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 healthy future, she discovers that even she doesn't know the truth of what happened in her family of pretenders.
Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain, the bestselling author of The Silent Sister, is a fascinating and deftly-woven novel, that reveals the devastating power of secrets.
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Title: Pretending to Dance
Publishers: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 8th Oct 2015
Link: Uk: Amazon US: Amazon
This book was amazing, a heartfelt depiction of love and the shocking extent of what people will do for someone they love, which had me in tears by the end.
The story starts with Molly Arnette and her husband Aiden preparing for a huge step in their lives as they plan to be adoptive parents. Due to a complicated first pregnancy, which resulted in the loss of their baby, Molly had to have a hysterectomy which devastated them both. Molly is concerned she may not love a child who isn't her own. Aiden tries to convince her she will be fine as she managed to fall in love with his twin nephews.
Molly's main concern is that it would be an open adoption which means that a relationship would also be formed with the birth mother, this stirs up emotions for her from her childhood as she was brought up by her birth father Graham who is a 'pretend therapist' and his wife Nora,who adopted her but her birth mother lived near them and the rest of her family at Morrison Ridge in North Carolina and Molly had a relationship with her also.
Molly had cut her family out of her life after the death of her beloved father who had suffered with MS but to make things easier with her husband she had told him that both her parents had died as she didn't want to tell him the unforgivable sin that her mother had committed.
The story frequently cuts from Molly's life in 2014, happily married and living in San Diego to when she was a happy innocent fourteen year old living in Morrison Ridge in 1990, in love with Johnny Depp and boy bands.I really liked this concept and felt it worked really well.
Her close family had made sure that Molly had everything and a very happy childhood and she is content with all of this until she meets her new friend Stacy who is a lot older in the head than she is and begins to introduce her to the less wholesome things in life. I really felt sorry for Molly as I remember being that lovely but self centred fourteen year old who wanted to push the boundaries and felt resentful to those who try to stop you. It's only with hindsight you realise that the people who love you just want to protect you but she is just being a normal teenager and trying to grow up too soon.
Molly can't forgive herself for not stopping her father from dying and when her husband eventually finds out about everything he convinces her that the only way she can move forward is by revisiting her past and trying to make peace with it. However she is not prepared for the secrets she unearths in doing so.
This was a lovely tender love story that really tugs on the heartstrings in more ways than one, the father's illness was handled with deep sensitivity and it really shone through how much he was loved by everybody, especially Molly. I loved the descriptions of Morrison Ridge and of the little spring house. It also covered really well the awful angst of being a teenager who wants to naturally start breaking away from the security of the family but isn't quite ready for real life just yet.
The concept of open adoption is covered which I hadn't heard of before but seems like a way of avoiding the anguish of giving a baby away and never knowing what happens to it. The strongest emotion to come through is that of motherhood and that you don't have to have given birth to a child to feel that overwhelming sense of love.
The fact that her father was a pretend therapist and how that eventually influenced Molly's life and the reason for the title of the book actually gave me shivers down my spine because it was such a touching and tender moment in the story.
The cover of the book was absolutely beautiful and had a very luxurious feel about it.
I thoroughly recommend this book and would love to read Diane Chamberlain's back catalogue.
Thank you to Francesca Pear at Pan Macmillan for the Advanced Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author
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.
Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and spent her summers at the Jersey Shore. She also lived for many years in San Diego and northern Virginia before making North Carolina her home.
Diane received her bachelor's and master's degrees in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, Diane worked in hospitals in San Diego and Washington, D.C. before opening a private psychotherapy practice in Alexandria Virginia specializing in adolescents. All the while Diane was writing on the side. Her first book, Private Relations was published in 1989 and it earned the RITA award for Best Single Title Contemporary Novel.
Diane lives with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her shelties, Keeper and Cole. She has three stepdaughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. She's currently at work on her next novel.
Please visit Diane's website at www.dianechamberlain.com for more information on her newest novel, Pretending to Dance, and a complete list of her books.