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I Hope You Dance, by Beth Moran
Ruth Henderson has done something she swore she'd never do---move back in with her parents. But a mountain of debt and a delinquent daughter leave her no choice. Her estranged father, impulsive mother, and David---who broke her heart---only make things worse. Then Dr. Carl Baker asks her out. He's very charming, but is he for real?
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 2015
|Dimensions: 7.75 X 5.00 (inches)|
Making Marion: Where's Robin Hood When You Need Him?Beth MoranLion Fiction / 2014 / Trade Paperback$10.99 Retail:4 Stars Out Of 5 20 Reviews
$14.99Save 27% ($4.00)
IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Excellent British Fiction,April 4, 2016IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Ruth Henderson has failed in life. Bad enough that she got accidentally pregnant at eighteen to someone who wasnt the love of her life, but now Fraser has died and shes had to sell their house and return to her small Nottinghamshire home town, and live with her parents. And shes got a rebellious teenage daughter, Maggie, a mountain of debt, and a fifteen-year-old rift with her father.
Despite her low opinion of herself, Ruth is clevera maths prodigy who grew up in a family of champion ballroom dancers, and who never felt accepted by anyone except next-door-neighbour David. Her only other childhood friend was Lois, who was even more of a social misfit than Ruth. So I Hope You Dance is the story of Ruth finding love and acceptance from family, from friends, and from herself.
I Hope You Dance is written in first person point of view, so we spend the whole novel inside Ruths head, which gives it more of a YA or British Chick-Lit feel rather than the traditional Christian romance some readers might be expecting. The Britishness also comes through in the Christian elementslightweight and more told through the subtext than in-your-face preachy (an unfortunate tendency of some US Christian novels).
Its definitely more womens fiction than romance, as the focus of the novel is on Beths personal growth (in an understated British way) than on the romance. Although there is a little romance . . . although that goes very wrong before it goes right, and adds an unexpected element of suspense to the novel.
I Hope You Dance is Beth Morans second novel. I thought her first, Making Marion, was excellent and I Hope You Dance is at least as good. Possibly better. Recommended. Thanks to Lion Fiction and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Beth5 Stars Out Of 5Another Great BookJanuary 22, 2016BethQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I Hope You Dance is the second book by author Beth Moran and it is fantastic. I had the joy of reading her debut book, Making Marion and was excited to have the opportunity to read her next book. I Hope You Dance is a great book that I could not put down. From the start the story of Ruth and her family grabbed ahold of me until the end. Beth Moran writes with expertise about Southwell, Nottinghamshire, ballroom dancing, foster care, lives of pastors and their families, parenting, loss of spouse and parent, and marriage. I Hope You Dance is a book about second chances in life and finding out who you are in midst of tragedy. The characters in this book are fantastic! I loved them all especially the women's group Ruth goes to, they sure offer well needed comic relief, support, and God's love. Really shows the true meaning of friendship, which Ruth was in much need of. Ruth is a great character, she is NOT perfect and embraces that. Her life is at its lowest point and she works so hard to pull herself up and keep her daughter Maggie together. I Hope You Dance really brings out many emotions. I found myself laughing out loud in lots of places and crying in others as my heart went out to Ruth and Maggie. I did really enjoy this book and highly recommend this book and author to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will NOT be disappointed. I cannot wait to read more from Beth Moran and meet more of her characters. Definitely a must read author for me. I give this book 5 STARS.
Carole JarvisJonesboro, GeorgiaAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Beautiful story of relationships, redemption and faithJanuary 22, 2016Carole JarvisJonesboro, GeorgiaAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0I Hope You Dance is a wonderful book and I am thrilled to have discovered the writing of Beth Moran. Filled with realistically flawed, often quirky, yet loveable characters, this is a story about relationships broken and strained relationships, healing, forgiveness, and genuine friendships. Theres tender romance, suspense, poignancy, and laugh-out-loud humor woven throughout.
Faith-based British fiction is a little different than the more conservative style that Americans are used to. For instance, off-color dialogue pops up occasionally and the use of alcohol is prevalent. However, I expected this going in and it didnt lessen my enjoyment of this great story.
I have always been a fan of British fiction, and loved being transported to the small town of Southwell, England. The cover made me think this would be a lighthearted romance, but was I in for a surprise! The romance between David and Ruth is enchanting, but theres so much more. Its easy to think of themes: relationships, friendship, giving, and dance both literal and figurative. Readers will be able to relate to Ruths character and I was immediately drawn to her. Not only did she live with the guilt of a youthful mistake, but she kept punishing herself for of it. In Ruths words, I had abandoned everything my mother had taught me and spent my entire adult life settling and making do. I had not strived, fought, adventured, embraced, journeyed, dared, been inspiring or inspired. I had barely laughed.
The strength of this novel is the development of various relationships with family, friends, and God and its moving to walk with these characters as they grow. In the part where Ruths father tried to help by giving her some money, I loved her reasoning for hesitancy: Was it okay to cash in five-thousand pounds worth of guilt money, if the person was right to feel guilty? If you took the money, did that mean the debt was paid, they were forgiven, and you couldnt feel mad at them anymore?
Some of the things I found especially touching was the group of Christian women who regularly met for girls night out, the yurt weekend they put together for a couple who needed time away from their kids, and the befriending of senior adults.
I also want to give an example of one of the best parts of this story, and that is Beths lyrical writing style. In an emotionally healing scene where Ruth danced with her father, they were trying not to slip in the waterfall of tears that gushed from our pathetic eyes and formed a lake of wasted time and stupid regrets on the wooden floor between our feet.
Everything comes to a very satisfying conclusion, but I literally hated to turn the last page and leave these characters. Highly recommended.
Thank you to Kregel/Lion Hudson for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5very uniqueJanuary 18, 2016lcjohnson1988IndianaAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I Hope You Dance is a story where characters are not perfect, and there was a mysterious feeling in the air as I read the book. The Hendersons are a fictional family that definitely has very lifelike qualities and four sisters each having their own quirks. The parents have been married almost 50 years though right now they have hit a very rough patch in the marital journey. The youngest daughter, Ruth, was a teenage mom who lived with her partner until he was killed in a car accident. Now Ruth along with her daughter Maggie have to return to her parents home because Ruths partner left no money, will, or insurance and a huge amount of debt.
As I progressed further into the novel set in England, I was wondering where or if the gospel message would be a part of the book. What I loved most was that the people who belonged to a local congregation were very unique. The church had five or six women who met in their homes, taking turns in hosting their gatherings. The women were transparent and vulnerable, sharing their deepest heartaches with the rule that nothing said in the group was shared with anyone outside even if they went to their church. The women shared their lives as they were without dressing them up or wearing masks to hide the emotions they really were dealing with in life. Laughter, food, teasing and showing love to each other also characterized the small group.
Ruth was my favorite character because she was in many ways the funny, rebellious and tell it like it is kind of a woman. Ruth was looking for love in all the wrong places with the wrong people. She wrestled with the reality of God much like real women. I wonder if there are either men or women who meet today who can be themselves, sharing whatever they need to because they feel loved, safe and not judged; they can be transparent. There were a few British words I had to look up to discover their meaning, but thats the fun of reading a book; you learn while being entertained.
Ruth discovered how valued and loved she really was, letting go of the lies she once believed as well as all the other chains that kept her captive and feeling all alone. Will you be that safe place for someone? Will you share Gods love and grace with whomever God shows you He has for you to love on? Perhaps reading this novel will not only make you laugh, tear up, hope and restore your faith, but it might give you ideas of how to be real with others. I highly recommend it!
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Great characters, drama, suspense, and romanceJanuary 18, 2016bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Moran has given us another well crafted story that includes humor, suspense, romance, and wonderful character transformation.
The novel centers around Ruth. Her partner, they had never decided to actually marry, had unexpectedly died eighteen months ago. He had left her and their teen-aged daughter with a mountain of debt. Ruth decides to move back home. She knows that will not be easy. She was a tomboy in a family of dancers and had disappointed her parents. Her only future is to go back and face her troubled past.
While the story line is great and worth reading the novel on its own, the characters are what make this novel stand out. Ruth is despondent when she returns home. Her mother, a busy woman doing good for everyone in the village, tries to lift Ruth back to the realm of actually living life. Her father, from whom she's been alienated for years, is being enticed by the friendship of a woman he met at a senior center activity. Her sisters are gregarious mothers who continue to point out Ruth's failures. Ruth's daughter, Maggie, is a fourteen year old suffering a world of hurt and acting out to show it. I loved how Ruth muddled her way through this swamp of problems.
Ruth's support characters are delightful. Ruth gets included in a group of women, each of whom is an unusual character. There are childhood friends willing to help Ruth live through this hard time. There's a new woman, rising above her childhood surroundings of violence and poverty to make a new life. The relationship these women have is amazing. Listening to their prayers is a theological education. Observing their interaction is a lesson on the true meaning of friendship and encouragement.
But the characters in this novel are not all friends and hugs. There is a sinister element included when Ruth is stalked. That added the reality of Ruth's situation and her being vulnerable to the attentions of the wrong man.
Along with great characters and creepy suspense is the theme of troubled romance. Ruth's parents are going through a tense time, her father being sidetracked by another woman and her mother not knowing how to handle it. Maggie is in the midst of a teenage infatuation with a foster teen who may, or may not, be turning his life around. And Ruth herself must deal with her feelings about David, her childhood best friend. There might be hope of a renewed romance except that Maggie is totally opposed to her mother even thinking about replacing her dad.
I loved this book. There were great characters all around. It was amazing to see how they developed through the experiences in the novel, even the crotchety old woman Maggie must visit as part of her school discipline. There was humor that made me laugh out loud. There was the support of godly women and an active church. There was suspense that made me cringe. There was the possibility of romance that made me hope for the future. This is an entertaining and rewarding novel I highly recommend.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.