Pretending to Dance

Pretending to Dance

Book - 2015
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"Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can't have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly's past and her family-- the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison's Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father's death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250010742
Characteristics: 339 pages : map ; 25 cm


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Jun 11, 2019

I thought this was an excellent book that had me sitting on the edge of my seat at times.

I felt the young girl's anguish and her anger and pain when she finally realised the secrets that swirled around her.

I liked the issues the book dealt with: adoption .. and what this could mean, coping with a family member who has a progressive illness/ disability. Then, the really big issue for and death, what part do we have in our own death, should we have that right to determine when and how we die, what about those left behind.... Phew.

It felt as if the characters were vehicles for the stories and secrets.... I learnt a lot about the main character but not so much about the other characters...

The title is brilliant... pretend to dance until you can.
I will read other books by this author.

Sep 08, 2017

I usually love books by Diane Chamberlain, but in this one the main character's hang ups / reactions to events in her life were a little too over the top and unbelievable for me. Still for entertainment value, I'll give it a 3.

JCLColleenO Jul 06, 2017

Molly and Aiden are unable to have children and so decide to go for an open adoption but Molly has a problem there are many questions about her past life and own childhood and she has lied to everyone since leaving her family home when she was 18. She has even said that her mother is dead when she is very much alive. Gradually truths start to come out and the story is told by the present day Molly and the much younger one so you get to realise why she has told so many lies but will her past life affect her future one and how will Aiden react if he finds out the whole truth. A great story with many twist and turns along the way to keep you guessing.

Apr 26, 2017

Oh the tears! Do yourself a favor and have tissue close by. What a compelling book - so many emotions, so much hurt over so many years with a beautiful, beautiful conclusion. Pretending to Dance is told in first person from the perspective of Molly - Molly both as a 38 year old attorney who seemingly has it all together and a 14 year old girl in the worst summer of her life.

Modern day Molly and her husband Aidan have it all together and are living an active, fulfilled life - or so it seems. After having a tragic miscarriage that leaves her unable to have children, they are pursuing an open adoption. Aidan comes from a deeply, loving family while Molly has no living parents - or at least that what she has told Aidan. But as Molly comes to terms with all the emotions surrounding adopting a child, she finds that she must also come to terms with her past.

We visit Molly’s past through the eyes of a 14 year old on the cusp of young womanhood. She sits between the little girl world of boy band crushes and the all-too-real world of older boys and dangerously foolhardy friends. She is a devoted daughter to her father, a brilliant therapist who is rapidly losing the fight to MS. Molly is, through and through, a Daddy’s Girl and, as such, is not close to her mother, Nora. Tragedy strikes that fateful summer and Molly always blames Nora.

The tale is woven beautifully. Ms. Chamberlain takes the reader to the idyllic Swannanoa Mountains in Western North Carolina to the homestead of Molly’s extended family.Your heart aches for Molly. Even in the mistakes made by a young teen, the ones you can see coming from a mile away as the reader takes it in with an adult eye and adult knowledge, will leave you aching for this woman and the pain that she’s going through. The story centers a lot on adoption and all the myriad emotions that go along with it. It also delves deeply into the death of a beloved parent and the challenges an end-stage illness brings to everyone in a family. There is some relatively graphic sexual content (in scenes with the aforementioned “older boy”) that make this an adult book. All of these deeply emotional situations were woven together into a masterful story with a gratifyingly redemptive ending. Ms. Chamberlain’s writing swept me away into Molly’s world and had me wishing I could just give her a much needed hug - both scared and lonely teenaged Molly and scared and worried adult Molly.

This review appears on my blog, Purrfectly Bookish.

Dec 11, 2016

I really couldn't get into this book. It felt like I was reading three different books; one about a girl whose father has MS, another about a girl influenced by her new friend, and another about a woman trying to adopt. Molly was not a consistent character at all. The only consistency throughout the book is that 14 year old Molly is failed by nearly every adult in her life.

Aug 20, 2016

great story. i knew what was going on, but i am sure a 14 yr old with things on her mind wouldn't. i loved the way the tale unfolded. the writing style.
will have to read another of her books


Jul 26, 2016

I thought that this was a rather bizarre novel, especially the "Pretend Therapy" practiced by one of the characters. Once I became familiar about the family "compound" (I appreciated the map) young Molly was forced to exist in, I understood exactly why she would leave as soon as she could. Perhaps if I had grown up adopted or in a blended family, I would have understood this better. In the earlier days, I found Molly acted more like 12 than 14 years old.
The Chapters on the "older" Molly are very poignant (the novel goes back in forth in time). However, had this been the first book that I had read from Chamberlain, I doubt that I would have picked up another. Chamberlain's "The Silent Sister" blew me away; read that in one sitting.

Jul 21, 2016

good book but the book had nasty food prints and alittle water damage inside it too

karcoldelharvic5 Apr 02, 2016

Great read. Haven't got one of her books I didn't like

Mar 07, 2016

One of Diane Chamberlain's best books!

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