Saturday, June 16, 2012

"the anniversary waltz" by darrel nelson

About the book (from the back cover): At their sixtieth anniversary party, Adam Carlson asks his wife, Elizabeth, for their customary waltz. After the dance they gather the family and share their story—a story of love and courage overcoming adversity and thriving in the face of overwhelming odds.

It's the summer of 1946, and Adam has just returned from the war to his home in Reunion, Montana. At a town festival he meets Elizabeth Baxter, a young woman going steady with his former high school rival and now influential banker, Nathan Roberts.

When Adam and Elizabeth share a waltz in a deserted pavilion one evening, their feelings begin to grow and they embark on a journey, and a dance, that will last a lifetime.

My take: The Anniversary Waltz is a gentle tale of love, heartache, and family. It also packs an emotional punch that I wasn't expecting. Of course, the relationship between Adam and Elizabeth is the heart of the story, but other relationships—between Adam and his father, Elizabeth and her aunt, and Adam and his cousin Ty—are equally compelling. I also was surprised by the emphasis on sacrifice, which is woven throughout the novel and gave me cause to examine my own life.

I do wish the mutual dislike between Adam's father and Elizabeth's aunt had been further discussed—I feel like there has to be more to that story! Also, one scene in particular featured so many point of view shifts that it was hard to keep up. But those are both minor quibbles. The story itself is completely entertaining, and I expect Nelson's writing will only improve with his next novel, due next spring. (There's a preview at the end of The Anniversary Waltz, and Nelson's next book looks to be quite the departure from this one, dealing with domestic violence. It also looks like I book I want to read!) I give The Anniversary Waltz 4 out of 5 stars.

About the author: Darrel Nelson is a graduate of the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, with bachelor's degrees in English and education. He is a schoolteacher by profession, with thirty-three years of teaching experience, and currently teaches fourth grade at Raymond Elementary School. Nelson has had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and has written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. He won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running and has had one song receive international airplay. Writing has always been a passion, and over the years he has written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but he reads them annually to his fourth-grade students. The Anniversary Waltz is his first novel intended for the adult market.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Glass Road Media & Management. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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."


  1. Becky:
    Thanks for taking the time to read and review my novel, The Anniversary Waltz. I'm glad you enjoyed it. The car accident in the novel changed everything, including the antagonism between Hector and Lenora. I wanted to show them overcoming personal animosities so they could pull together for the greater good. (IE, helping Adam and Elizabeth cope with the accident.) I hope that came across somewhat.

    1. It did! There was a definite shift in their relationship following the accident. I guess I was just hoping to learn why exactly they disliked each other so much! It wouldn't have surprised me in the least to learn they'd once dated or something.


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