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Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Review, Dance with Me by Luanne Rice

The story centers around a mom and two grown, unmarried daughters in Twin Rivers Rhode Island. With the mom, Margaret's health failing, the youngest, Sylvie, has moved into her mother's home to take care of her. Concerns about Margaret's fragile health bring the older sister Jane back for a visit. As the story unfolds we learn that Jane has a secret. She became pregnant as a teen in college and at her mother's insistence and against her will gave up her infant daughter,Chloe for adaption. The heart-wrenching decision left deep scars  and Jane has never been the same. It destroyed the happy future she planned with her fiance and caused her to drop out of college and purse a path as a baker instead of an gifted English major.

While visiting her mother Jane becomes obsessed with finding Chloe and because it was a private adoption her mother helped arrange, she knows who the family was who adopted her and they are local. Things become a tangled mess as Jane pursues this strong need to learn more about what happened to her daughter. What she hadn't expected was to fall in love with Dylan, Chloe's Uncle, a tough, retired U.S. Marshal who has suffered through his own heartaches and is now trying to get the family orchard back up and running.

Luanne Rice is a superb secular writer, and unlike some authors who cause we to question how they made it to the  New York times best selling list, I agree that this book deserves to be there. The characters are very real and the struggles--Margaret trying to come to grips with her failing health and memory and Jane coping with the deep hurts that being torn from a daughter she wanted to keep--make it all the more compelling. There is a sensitivity to Rice's work that gets into issues that run deep and allows readers to feel the pain the main characters are experiencing. Not many writers can take you to that level.

Fifteen-year-old Chloe is vibrant and compassionate and she endears herself to her reader becoming a very real teen facing real issues that a young girl who longs to know her real birth mom can face. I give this book five out of five stars.

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