Can dancing mend Ruth's broken heart?
Ruth Henderson has moved back in with her parents--something she swore she would never do, especially not at the age of thirty-three. But in the face of the mountain of debt left by her late partner, and the fact that her teenage daughter, Maggie, is expressing her grief through acts of delinquency, there was really only one option.
Returning to a house Ruth swore never to set foot in again is bad enough. Add to this an estranged father, whirlwind mother, and David--the boy next door who broke her heart--and it is little wonder Ruth can barely make it out of bed.
But then, reunited with her old friend Lois, Ruth is persuaded to go along to a monthly girls' night. Here she meets a bunch of incredible women and for the first time since leaving home at eighteen, Ruth begins to make some genuine friends.
She also has her first ever date--with the charming Dr. Carl Barker. However, after a disastrous dinner, and an upset Maggie still struggling with her father's death, Ruth promises her daughter she wont go out with any other men. A promise she quickly regrets when David, the boy next door, asks her to dance. . .
I Hope You Dance is, in a word, delightful. While Ruth deals with serious issues like debt, stalking, teenage rebellion, and family drama, the story never feels heavy. I think much of this is due to the supporting characters--colorful women who stand by Ruth's side through thick and thin and whose personalities bring joy and humor amidst the drama. These characters are so vividly drawn that I felt as though I knew them.
While I Hope You Dance contains romance (some from rather unexpected places), and of course the reader wants to know if Ruth and David will find their way back to one another, I found myself caring far more about Ruth's friendships than I did about her love life. In fact, I was more concerned about Ruth's friend Ana Luisa's romance than I was about Ruth's. I would love to revisit Ruth's world in the future to check back in with her friends!
I Hope You Dance is not inspirational fiction in the way we perceive it in the United States. A few characters swear, and while church plays a major role in the story, a relationship with Christ is not emphasized. I'm not saying either of those things means you shouldn't read the book (in fact, I hope you do read it!); I just think readers should know what they're getting and not getting when they buy this book.
I loved I Hope You Dance, and I look forward to Moran's next book. 4-1/2 stars.
Buy the book.
Read my review of Moran's Making Marion (4 stars).
Beth Moran has a background as a research scientist and adult educator. She now concentrates on church work and is part of the national leadership team of the UK women's network Free Range Chicks. She is married with three children and lives in Nottingham, England.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”