I disagree with another reviewer who said it was 'preachy'. For once a book marketed as a Christian piece; actually was. The emphasis on characters who are authentic followers of Jesus in genuinely devastating situations rises out of the muck and mire with their morals intact. What a refreshing change!
Jim Anderson is stunned when he arrives home from work after a busy day and discovers his wife is missing. His shirts aren't ironed. Dinner isn't on the stove. How could she do this to him?
After twenty-seven years of being Jim's version of a perfect wife, Marilyn has had enough. She leaves Jim a note telling him not to contact her, then settles into an apartment with a girlfriend. Finally free to do what she wants for a change, Marilyn finds a job and fulfills a lifetime dream by signing up for dance lessons.
As it turns out, Jim is the only one who's clueless about why she left. Their children are not surprised and tell him so. At this point in The Dance, I have to confess that Walsh did such a good job of portraying Jim as a jerk that I was hoping Marilyn would just run far away and leave him forever.
However, the focus of this story is restoration. As the days of Marilyn's absence mount up, Jim slowly recognizes that he's to blame for the crumbling of his marriage, but has no idea what to do to win her back. How will he change a lifetime of putting himself first? And how can he expect to heal his marriage when Marilyn won't even talk to him?
The Dance is the first in The Restoration series. Walsh and Smalley have written a remarkable novel that will impact readers as they take the journey of restoration along with the Andersons.
The Dance is a skillfully told story. I give it two hearty thumbs up!
My thanks to the author and Revell for providing me with a review copy.
I was so excited to read Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley's newest book and the 1st in their Restoration Series! With their name on the Front cover, you have high expectations, right!? right!
Jim and Marilyn are sadly, a very common example of many marriages today. Each is set in their "roles" and they have grown further apart as the years go by. For Marilyn, she had been crying out how unhappy she was and Jim just wasn't hearing exactly what she was saying or how serious she was.
The Dance is excellent and portrays a perfect look at what it takes to really work at putting your marriage back together, healing the wounds, and finding love all over again.
I really didn't think Jim was ever going to "get it." He frustrated me immensely! But I loved the journey Jim took and how he had his eyes opened! Marilyn's journey was totally different of course, but just as moving. I so appreciated how their children's thoughts and perspectives played a role, because no matter how old they are or even if they have moved out and lead a life on their own, they are still affected.
Overall, The Dance was excellent and I highly recommend it on so many levels! I CANNOT wait until book 2 is out!
I was intrigued by the idea of Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley teaming up to write a new fiction series. I've loved the other books I've read by Dan Walsh, and Gary Smalley's series with Karen Kingsbury is one of my favorites of all time. So The Dance (and the whole series) definitely had potential for me.
I thought the story itself was really good. It was definitely hard to read about a couple whose marriage is falling apart and how it affected not only them but also their three kids. The book was so emotional ... just reading the emotions and thoughts of all parties involved and knowing that people that I know face similar situations was hard.
Audrey was my favorite character by far! I loved how her friendship with both Jim and Marilyn had such an impact on their marriage. Her story on its own was inspiring and I enjoyed the "secondary" story.
There were a few aspects of the book that bothered me. While I know the purpose of the book was to use fiction to teach about relationships, at times the book was super "preachy." Those sections took me out of the story and felt like I was reading more of a sermon or something. Also, the ending wrapped up really fast. So much of the story was spent talking about the problems of Jim and Marilyn's marriage and their individual efforts to resolve things and then the book ended without really giving much insight to how they planned to work on their problems together ... as a couple. The ending was sweet, don't get me wrong, but it was a little too "tidy" for me given how the book started.
Overall, though, The Dance was sweet, and I enjoyed this quick read. I'm not sure if I'll be reading the rest of this series or not. However, I'm still a huge fan of both of the authors! [3 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.