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Pretending to Dance: A Novel

Pretending to Dance: A Novel

Написано Diane Chamberlain

Озвучено Susan Bennett


Pretending to Dance: A Novel

Написано Diane Chamberlain

Озвучено Susan Bennett

оценки:
4.5/5 (20 оценки)
Длина:
12 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Oct 6, 2015
ISBN:
9781427261991
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Описание

Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She and her husband live in San Diego, where they hope to soon adopt a baby. But the process terrifies her.

As the questions and background checks come one after another, Molly worries that the truth she's kept hidden about her North Carolina childhood will rise to the surface and destroy not only her chance at adoption, but her marriage as well. She ran away from her family twenty years ago after a shocking event left her devastated and distrustful of those she loved: Her mother, the woman who raised her and who Molly says is dead but is very much alive. Her birth mother, whose mysterious presence raised so many issues. The father she adored, whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison Ridge.

Now, as she tries to find a way to make peace with her past and embrace a future filled with promise, she discovers that even she doesn't know the truth of what happened in her family of pretenders.

Told with Diane Chamberlain's compelling prose and gift for deft exploration of the human heart, Pretending to Dance is an exploration of family, lies, and the complexities of both.

A Macmillan Audio production.

Издатель:
Издано:
Oct 6, 2015
ISBN:
9781427261991
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Об авторе

Diane Chamberlain is the bestselling author of twenty novels, including The Midwife's Confession and The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes. Diane lives in North Carolina and is currently at work on her next novel. Visit her Web site at www.dianechamberlain.com and her blog at www.dianechamberlain.com/blog and her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Diane.Chamberlain.Readers.Page.


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  • (1/5)
    I gave this a fair shot and read over half of the story. It was so slow, and I just could not get into it. It had so much potential. DNF
  • (4/5)
    Molly and Aiden are hoping to adopt a baby. The process terrifies Molly as she doesn't want her childhood family secrets to be found out in background checks. Molly left home twenty years ago after an event that left her devastated.I have read books by this author before and have enjoyed them. For me they are stories to get lost in and really are a comfort to read. The books are mainly about families and their secrets. This book is no different.The story covers several topics, one is adoption and to say what the other are would spoil for anyone who hasn't read the book. The story goes back and forth, following Molly as a fourteen year old and in her present day. I enjoyed reading about Molly and what she got up to as a teenager. Her story is quite sad at times but also has some happier moments. Books like this for me are enjoyable to read. I really wanted to know why Molly left the family home and as the story progressed I did guess where it was going. A very heart warming read for me and I will continue to read books by this author.
  • (4/5)
    I have now read 2 of Diane Chamberlain's novels and enjoyed them both! This was a sad but heartwarming novel about family relationships and learning to forgive. Molly is a teenager when her father who she adores dies. She is angry and grieving and blames her adoptive Mother for his death. Only 2hen she is ready to start her own family does she find out what really happened when the day her father died!
  • (3/5)
    The main character of this book is Molly Arnette, and her story unfolds in two different time periods - when she is 14 years old and living in North Carolina with her family, and when she is in her 30s, married, living in California, and about to adopt a child. Unfortunately (for me), two-thirds of the book takes place during the time period when Molly is 14 years old, and the story reads like a YA novel. Overall, it's a poignant story involving Molly's father who has MS and her two mothers (birth and adoptive), but I was distracted by the silliness that goes on in the life of a 14-year-old - perhaps it reminds me too much of what I went through when I was that age! However, at this stage of my life I would prefer to read about adults. Nevertheless, if you can get past that, there were enough redeeming qualities to this book to make it worthwhile.
  • (5/5)
    I'd been waiting anxiously for this book, and it lived up to what I had hoped. I actually paid full price for it, which is something I NEVER do. It's set in Swannanoa, North Carolina, which is where I live. I was pleasantly surprised that Diane Chamberlain actually did research like finding out the name of the high school kids from here would actually attend instead of making one up, even though the location wasn't really central to the story.

    My other favorite book of Diane Chamberlain's is Necessary Lies, which dealt with the topic of eugenics. I appreciated that she didn't shy away from something potentially sensitive enough to turn off readers. I wasn't looking it to it for suspense--I got what I was looking for. It was sensitive and explored the issues in ways that touched me.
  • (5/5)
    I saw the writing on the wall fairly early but it was still a great book and the author was even able to bring a tear to my eye which doesn't normally happen.The book is told from Molly's perspective in alternating times, her life past and present.In the present she lives in San Diego with her husband, Aiden, and they are going through the adoption process which is bringing back a lot of stuff from Molly's past into her present and she must go back to face her past to make the present complete.Going back to Morrison Ridge, Molly learns stuff she never knew about her family and must learn to forgive the people she loves the most.
  • (4/5)
    Molly carries a secret for much of this novel, struggling to convey to those in her adult life why she lives cut off from her family. Issues come to a head when she and her husband are going through the process of adopting a child, as Molly struggles to deal with her own semi-adoption and the family she no longer has much contact with after the death of her father. However, the traumatic events that led to her separation turn out to be different in truth from what Molly always believed and she must face her own actions before she moves forward. A sad, but heartwarming story of coming to terms with the past.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this book for the most part. I got involved in the story and wanted to keep reading to find out what happened, although I had an idea before I got to the end. It wrapped up as a feel good story. One thing I could have done without were some of the explicit details of the teenage relationships.
  • (3/5)
    I have read several books but this author. What I like about reading books from this author is that I can usually find a connection with the characters. Which in this case, I did but I also was turned off by Moly. What I mean by this is that the teenage rebellion phase grew old quickly. I had no sympathy for Molly with her dysfunction family and the way she acted out as she found out the truth about her family. In fact, I kind of found Molly to be a spoiled brat. So thus the story felt longer then it needed to be. Yet, I still kept reading as I do like reading books by this author and the story did weave into a good family drama that does have a happy ending. It just goes to show that sometimes cleaning the closet of those skeletons can be a good thing. I do look forward to reading the next book by this author.
  • (4/5)
    Very complex story dealing with open adoption and coming of age in a family with a father with MS. Both sad and funny.
  • (4/5)
    What an emotional wallop that was. I am always really excited when a new Diane Chamberlain is released and while this one took a little longer than some for me to really get into it, I flew through the last half and couldn't put it down, so enjoyable. There are so many issues that make this book such an emotional one. Molly has been estranged from her family for 24 years, and emotionally, four years before that. The night the father Molly adored died, a wedge was driven between her and everything and everyone she thought she knew and the security she had known. The story jumps back and forth, from the summer of her 14th year to her as an adult in the process of adopting a child with her husband. Her childhood was surrounded by close knit family, her relatives all lived in an area called Morrison's Ridge. In addition her birth mother lives there as well, a part of her life as far back as she can remember but the story she thought she knew is surrounded by secrets and lies. And as Molly leaves the home she knew, there are more secrets and lies as her husband is only aware of a fraction of her past. As they themselves go deeper into the adoption process, Molly can't block out the unfinished business of her life back in Morrison's Ridge This summer is also Molly's coming of age, where she discovers love and all the emotions a first love brings. She tests the boundaries and pushes the limits of the life she's always accepted. The father she is so close to is losing his battle with MS and she is watching his life slipping away as the cruel diseases takes more and more from him. And now her uncle wants to sell part of his land on Morrison's ridge, an area that has always belonged to Molly's family and there are these continuous family meetings that she isn't a part of. Some things had me guessing but others, we as the readers could see where things were headed and see things that Molly couldn't. And I must say, I really would have loved to have a spring house to escape to So much going on in this novel and definitely worth the read, but make sure to have some Kleenex handy, there are teary moments as well.
  • (5/5)
    This is a fantastic book - as are all of Diane Chamberlain's books. Pretending to Dance is a coming of age story for Molly, a family story, the story of how to deal with a family member with a disease (Molly's father Graham has MS), the story of adoption, of guilt, love and forgiveness and moving forward with life no matter what the circumstances. We see Molly as a teenager in NC and in alternating chapters, she is an adult - an attorney in California who is trying to adopt a baby with her husband. There are so many story lines but it's not difficult to keep up with them. All I can say is that I couldn't put this book down once I started and I am unable to start a new book now because the characters from Pretending to Dance are still resonating in my mind. Loved it!!
  • (4/5)
    I was introduced to Diane Chamberlain by my cousin, Sarah who knows her. This is probably the 4th or 5th book of hers that I've read. She certainly knows how to tell a story! Read this in one session. Definitely recommended.
  • (3/5)
    Molly Arnette has been married to Aidan James for ten years. Both are lawyers with Molly practicing Family Law and Aidan currently teaching Immigration Law at a local university. Unable to have children of their own, they have decided to adopt. One of the things Molly and Aidan pride themselves on is their ability to discuss anything and everything. But in preparing their adoption file, Molly begins to remember the summer her father died and worries that the lies she's told to Aidan and the adoption agency may destroy her chance at having a family in Pretending to Dance.Molly Arnette grew up in a small town in North Carolina. Her father, Graham, was a psychologist specializing in "pretend" therapy, based on the idea that "if you pretend you're the sort of person you want to be, you will gradually become that person." He also suffered from a debilitating form of MS. Molly's "mother" or adoptive mother, Nora, is a pharmacist. Molly's birth mother, Amalia, lives on family land and teaches Molly to dance. The summer Molly turned fourteen was a summer to remember for a variety of reasons: her first romance, befriending Stacy Bateman, helping her father with his last book, her father's book tour, attending the New Kids on the Block concert, learning the truth about her birth and adoption, and her father's death (or murder, in her mind). Now Molly is thirty-eight years old and has limited contact with her family in North Carolina. She's told Aidan and the adoption agency that her parents are deceased, but that's not exactly true. The process of adoption, especially an open adoption, is something that she likes on paper but is somewhat wary given her own experiences. The further along Molly and Aiden get in the adoption process, the more stressed Molly becomes. She knows that just because she's been pretending to be an orphan won't make it true. Can she ever tell Aidan the truth about her background without it destroying her marriage? Will an adoptive mother ever choose them and bless them with a child? And will Molly ever truly learn the truth about her father's death?I found Pretending to Dance to be a quick and engaging read. Molly's story is told by alternating between her life in 2014 and the summer of 1990. Ms. Chamberlain has provided the reader with an amazing glimpse into the life and mind of Molly Arnette as both a fourteen-year-old and as a thirty-eight-year-old. The more we learn about the fourteen-year-old Molly, the easier it is to understand the thoughts and actions of the thirty-eight-year-old Molly. Adoption can be a wonderful process for the adoptive parents and child, and an equally hard and grief-imposing process for the birth mother. Open adoption is one way to minimize the harshness and grief for the birth mother by permitting her to continue to be a part of her child's life. I can understand why Molly had qualms about open adoption, even if she hadn't lived with it as a child. The adoptive mother may always wonder if she will lose her child's love and affection to its birth mother, as if it is a competition rather than a new way to build a family. Added into these issues Molly is having with open adoption is the fact that she's been contacted by a cousin about her birth mother and her declining health. The overwhelming idea that I took away from reading this book is that it isn't possible to pretend away our past no matter how much we lie to ourselves or want it to go away. There are a lot of issues raised in Pretending to Dance: the ever-changing definition of family, adoption, the possibility of false memories, teenage angst and drama, the impact of living with a chronic and debilitating illness, lies, and secrets. Does Molly ever come to grips with her past? Does she reveal the truth to Aidan? Will they be chosen by a birth mother and finally be able to start a family? For the answer to these questions and more, you'll need to grab a copy of Pretending to Dance and read it to find out.
  • (3/5)
    Molly and Aidan want to adopt a baby. Molly lost their daughter at twenty weeks pregnant and had to have a hysterectomy so they can no longer have a biological child. As they go through the long and comprehensive process of applying to be adoptive parents, Molly worries that the lies and omissions about her past will finally come to light, keeping them from being approved. She desperately wants to be a mother but the events of one terrible summer that formed her so many years ago rise up in the form of reluctance and unexplainable fear at the process and what it could uncover now. In order to hide from that summer, Molly has told Aidan that her mother is dead rather than the truth: that she is completely estranged from her mother because the summer Molly was 14, her mother killed her father.Fourteen year old Molly lives a fairly idyllic life on Morrison Ridge, with her mother Nora, father Graham, biological mother Amalia, and Graham's caretaker Russell. Graham needs a full time caretaker because he is in the advanced stages of MS, completely confined to a wheelchair and unable to move any part of his body but his head and neck. Despite this devastating disability, he is a kind and gentle father, adored by Molly, and is a still practicing therapist renowned for Pretend Therapy and his books on the topic. Molly's life is going to change significantly this summer though. At 14, she's both naive child and striving to be an adult. She is sometimes attuned to her father's feelings, worrying that he needs more happiness in his life and at other times she's a bratty, selfish teen who can't see beyond her own irresponsible wants. Her summer starts with Molly getting close to a new friend, one who turns out not to have the golden life Molly has imagined but who is given freedoms and left unsupervised in ways that tempt and draw Molly. Through fast, wild Stacy, Molly will push her boundaries, experimenting with pot and fooling around with boys. And as she rebels against the sheltered, safe life her parents have created for her, she will miss vital undercurrents in her immediate and extended family that will change everything and reverberate through her life.Chapters alternate between adult Molly in the present and teenaged Molly that long ago summer, between the emotional roller coaster unknown of a potential open adoption with a teenaged mom and the summer that Molly storms towards adulthood and loses her father. The two different time lines don't always compliment each other as much as they might and sometimes one even undermines the emotional resonance of the other, as when Molly's fear of open adoption is contrasted with the inclusive way in which her own childhood was handled. Chamberlain has done a great job portraying Molly's early teen naivete, the way she can change from lovely and caring to offended high dudgeon in no time flat, her rejection of her parents' strictures, and her self-centered desire for the freedom to indulge herself. All of these aspects of young Molly's personality ring very true to life but they don't make her a very likable character. Adult Molly can, and sometimes does, come across as cold and unemotional rather than someone protecting her feelings as a result of her past. That she continues to keep the biggest secret (and several related secrets) of her life from Aidan, despite knowing that he is the most steadfast, forgiving, and caring man ever, as if in not facing the tragedy of that summer, she has not been able to mature beyond that fourteen year old girl, is troubling. In fact, she's never tried to examine what she knows to be true from an adult perspective, clinging to her childhood certainty and deliberately turning her back on her entire family. Of course, the secrets must eventually come out and the (rather predictable) truth of the mystery of Graham's death is slowly revealed as the narrative moves on toward a final culmination. The portions of the novel focused on young Molly are dominant over the present day story, leaving the novel a bit unbalanced, not delving as deeply into the fascinating issue of open adoption as it might have. As a coming of age novel, a look at the cost of debilitating chronic illness on an entire family, the destructive power of secrets, and the many permutations of what constitutes family, this delves into complicated and interesting ideas in an emotional and mostly engaging way.
  • (4/5)
    Pretend, pretend, pretend and you most likely will talk yourself into thinking you will be able to do something or overcome some fear.Pretending about things was what Molly's family did. Her dad was a therapist, and that was his strategy with patients and the strategy that he brought to the family.PRETENDING TO DANCE goes back and forth in Molly's life as the reader shares her sorrows and joys as a child and as an adult. Her joys and sorrows as a child surround her parentage and growing up. Her joys and sorrows as an adult deal with keeping her past a secret from her husband and dealing with adopting a baby in an open adoption fashion.We also share secrets that she finds out about her family that forced her to move away and lie about her past to her husband.I actually didn't like Molly as an adult. As a child she made me nervous with decisions she made. I loved her father, Graham, and his caregiver, Russell. The other characters were sort of in the background but kept the story line connected.PRETENDING TO DANCE does drag a bit, but if you have read any of Ms. Chamberlain's other books, she always incorporates social issues into her books in a very intriguing way. PRETENDING TO DANCE wasn't a favorite for me, but it did feel like a mystery as I thought about all of the secrets Molly had to keep and that we had to find out and how Molly needed to pretend to be able to cope with issues. I love the title of the book....very pertinent.The ending was very emotional. Let me know what you think if you read PRETENDING TO DANCE. 4/5This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
  • (5/5)
    Such a beautiful book! It touches the deepest part of your soul, making you relive your own teenage years, your relationship with your parents and the significant other. I also have a friend whose father had the MS, so that sort of gave me an insight into what her childhood could have been like, too. I strongly recommend the book to anyone who loves family stories and psychology. “Everyone comes from a dysfunctional family, there’s no other kind. Your family will be messy, crazy but full of love” - this is only one quote from the book of the numerous ones that I feel very close to my own life.
  • (4/5)
    Love DC books. This didn't disappoint. Made you see what living with a disability is like, for the care givers and the person effected. Open adoption can work, I've seen it first hand. This was beautifully captured in the book.
  • (3/5)
    Molly Arnette stays with her extended family on a large estate in the North Carolina mountains: her life is close to perfect as she lives with her father Graham, a renowned therapist, her adoptive mother Nora, and her magical birthmother Amalia.Although Graham has worsening multiple sclerosis, Molly’s life is idyllic – until 1990 when her father is killed, and everything changes. The adult Molly disowns her family completely and it is only when she is trying to adopt a baby herself that she is forced to return to North Carolina and come to terms with what really happened the summer her childhood ended. Pretending to dance is sensitively written with a near-devastating impact: quiet and sad yet surprisingly readable.
  • (4/5)
    Pretending to Dance by Diane ChamberlainSource: NetgalleyMy Rating: 4½ /5 starsMy Review: Some secrets, some lies are so big they take on a life of their own and there is no denying their presence. For Molly Arnette, the secret and the lie have been a part of her far longer than the reality ever was. Since she was 18 years old, Molly has told the world her parents are dead and her extended family is not a factor to be considered in her life. Part of that is true.As an adult, Molly has had no reason to dredge up her past until she and her husband start the adoption process. Getting a child isn’t an easy process and there are a lot of questions to answer and research to be done. Molly’s past isn’t something she ever talks about and even her husband believes the lies she has told. As often happens, lies don’t stay buried forever and the deeper Molly and her husband get into the adoption process the more fiercely the past begins to put pressure on the present.As a child, Molly couldn’t imagine living anywhere other than Morrison Ridge, North Carolina. The land her family occupies has been a part of the family for more than a century and everyone she holds dear is within a few miles of her home. Of particular importance is her father, Graham, a child psychologist known for his “pretend therapy.” Graham epitomizes everything Molly wants to be, intelligent, funny, caring, and capable in the face of adversity. For most of her life, Molly’s dad has been wheelchair bound as a result of an aggressive form of MS and though he only has the use of his neck and head at this point, he doesn’t let his immobility keep him from pushing forward. To Molly, her father is everything and though she knows the MS will eventually win, she just can’t imagine her life without him. The summer of her fourteenth year is one of the most tumultuous of her young life and Molly finds herself constantly on the verge of boiling over. She is maturing, she has a newfound interest in boys, and, thanks to her friend, Stacey a newfound interest in experimentation and her family history. For the entirety of her life, Molly has turned to her father for everything so when she starts looking for answers about her own history, she logically turns to her father. Molly’s family believes in not keeping secrets so when she asks, her father answers every question she has with more than just a short and sweet answer. Molly’s history as well as her parent’s history is tangled and twisted with everyone having done the best they could in the face of many difficult situations. As the summer moves forward, Molly notices the changes in her father but refuses to believe what she is seeing. To be fair, Molly is just fourteen years old and as many teenagers are, she is preoccupied with her own life, wants, and desires. The summer is filled with fun, mischief, and plenty of family time, all of which Molly is perfectly happy with. As she is trying to live her young life, her family – both immediate and extended – are embroiled in a mess that Molly simply doesn’t understand. There is an anger and tension that is permeating her home life and those emotions seem to be impacting everyone but her father who, for the first time in a very long time seems lighter and freer. As the summer comes to an end, Molly’s life is turned upside down as the anger and tension are replaced with a profound sadness, loss, and intense anger that will drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves.The Bottom Line: Pretending to Dance is a profoundly sad read that is born out of secrets and misunderstandings that one woman has carried for the vast majority of her life. At just fourteen years old, Molly faced some of the most trying and monumental events of her young life and each changed her forever. Chamberlain splits the read between Molly’s past and present and for me, the far more interesting part of the read is Molly’s past. Molly past allowed Chamberlain to weave a tail of old hurts, loves, anger, friendship, and compassion that has consumed and shattered one family. Molly never intended to deal with her past but her current circumstances force the issue and she must face every detail that has haunted her for twenty years. Though I understand the need for the chapters related to Molly’s, they force the past to be dealt with, I found myself rushing through them in order to get back to the chapters related to Molly’s past. This read is full of individuals, both good and bad that are well developed and play such integral parts in the plot. No one and nothing is gratuitous in this read and I found myself completely incapable of putting this book down until I got to the last page. This isn’t a fun or easy (emotionally speaking) read but it is beautifully written and for those who are fans of the past meets the present and family sagas, I can safely and enthusiastically recommend Pretending to Dance.
  • (5/5)
    A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Love the cover...E X T R A O R D I N A R Y ! Diane Chamberlain once again delivers a bittersweet, and compelling suspense page-turner, PRETENDING TO DANCE, hooking you from page one to the end. Landing on my Top Booklist of 2015, a complex exploration of family, lies, and dark secrets. 5 Stars+ “Must Read” not to be missed! “Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here, Let’s Dance!” PRETENDING TO DANCE offers a mix of coming-of-age and humor of Judy Blume and Jennifer Weiner; the complexity and highly charged topics of Jodi Picoult and Amy Hatvany; the heartwarming emotions and social issues of Emilie Richards and Kristin Hannah; combined with Chamberlain’s own unique style and talent of creating mystery, intrigue, suspense, healing, and complex family relationships, written with compelling prose, which we have come to expect from the author’s older to her newer books--keeping fans engaged, returning, and anxiously awaiting her next. In the prequel, THE DANCE BEGINS, set in the mountains of North Carolina in 1982, outside Asheville in Morrison Ridge Swannanoa, a family owned idyllic compound –one hundred acres. We are introduced to the Arnette family. Graham- father, Nora-mother, and six –year- old daughter, Molly and their extended family.Graham, the father is a remarkable man, psychologist, and author, with MS- Multiple sclerosis. His wife, Nora is a successful pharmacist, and Molly is the light of her father’s eye. They all enjoy their life on their land, a haven; and a springhouse (a special hideaway playhouse) for Molly. In order to get to the Springhouse, they have to go up the Hill from Hell, a steep incline--and Graham’s aid, Russell a God-sent, always there to help out the family with their daily lives.Even with his disabilities, Graham has a wonderful outlook on life. He believes in Pretend Therapy visualizing; Comfort found from the joy of literature, art, dancing, or singing, to get through any of life’s struggles. As close as he comes now to dancing is the zip line they rigged up for him- as he will never fly through the air or will never dance again. Molly loves her dad and lives to make his life as comfortable as possible--she is her father’s princess. She cannot imagine her life without him. He could lift her spirits, change the mood of a room, ease sorrow, erase fear, diffuse anger, and at times she thought of him as a magician. In PRETENDING TO DANCE, we jump ahead to San Diego, CA where the story is focused on Molly, an attorney, (family law) where she is now a grown woman in her late thirties, married to Aidan— they are trying to adopt a baby, unable to have one of their own. When the intense family history questions arise, and background checks, Molly withholds the truth about her past, and fears they will surface; they could destroy not only her marriage, but her chance at adoption. Throughout the interviewing process, she struggles with deciding between open and closed adoption –can she handle the biological mother’s involvement? Molly has left her past behind. It is a mystery. Her husband knows nothing about her past or any of her family. She pretends they are all dead. She has secrets. She has had no communication with her family since she was eighteen, over twenty years ago, when leaving NC in her rear view mirror. She still has anger and rage thinking of her past. Will her past affect her decisions for the future? She is not forthcoming in her interviewing process about her family’s history. Yet she prides herself on honesty and communication skills. Slowly, chapter by chapter, Chamberlain skillfully weaves her magic; peeling back the layers, as we flash back and forth, from Molly in NC living at home as a teen, at age fourteen in 1990, to the present day in San Diego. Her life is a mystery and at the opening of the book-- readers have no clue what happened back in NC to drive her away, and close the doors to the childhood she loved and cherished. (You will be glued to the pages dying to find out what happened). No spoilers here. Molly will have to face her past and make peace in order to move on and embrace her future as a wife and mother, and the only remaining link is her cousin. Dani. With decisions to make in the present day, as she meets with the adoptive mother, the past and the present connect for an explosive discovery. Fun, Fun! Readers get to experience an overly protective native young girl embarking on an adult world, from Judy Blume’s books (hilarious), loved reference to Forever ... a 1975 novel by Blume dealing with teenage sexuality (this age range will have some good laughs, reminded of those tumultuous teen years.) From teen crushes, sneaking out, friends, fears, hair, clothes, makeup, image, peer pressure, concerts, pot, sex, boys, being caught in a trap, between childhood and adulthood, and an unconventional family--- all the while struggling with her father’s illness and taking the burden upon herself to protect him, pretending-- to ensure his happiness.However, her family may be protecting her, with secrets of their own. A facade to mask what lies beneath in order to protect one another? Loved the Highland Hospital Asheville NC (psychiatric facility/Zelda Fitzgerald) connection. Enjoyed Amalia’s bohemian free-spirted character; very different than Nora. As a NC native, always enjoy the settings, especially the mountain areas. Molly has a strong connection with her father, more so than her mother. She assists him with typing, and accompanies him on his book tours - they share a special bond with books and music. She loves her father more than anything in the world; however, typical of any teen, she struggles with her own identity, desires freedom, and rebels against her parents’ strict rules. From her free spirited friend, Stacy (funny), to her hormones, with fantasies of Johnny Depp and New Kids on the Block, her life is a roller coaster. From teen to adult to motherhood, from blame, secrets, lies, guilt, grief, denial; struggles, disabilities and betrayal; a painful past--the ties which bind and make a dysfunctional family real, raw, and emotional love “unalterably unique” -- with complications, tragedies, loss, and love --setting the stage in preparation for new beginnings! Wow, this is a compelling "meant-to-be-read" in one sitting kinda book. I was busy with work, and had to steal precious moments; finding myself drawn, dying to get back to this suspenseful saga, and at the same time it is one you want to savor, like a piece of rich dark sweet chocolate. Crossing several genres from contemporary, coming-of-age, humor, young adult, suspense, mystery, family drama---from the young, middle age, to the older crowd – men and women, alike will devour this one! Father-daughter fans will treasure the strong bond between these two, and the heartfelt letter you will laugh and cry at the same time. Keep the Kleenex handy. A long-time devoted fan, having read all Diane’s books, and one of my favorite authors---each book is special and unique. Not one of them is like the other. An impossible task choosing a favorite. A powerful journey, and an inspiring story. Fans will love the well-developed characters for a book you must read. My prediction – this one will hit the NY Times Bestseller List and I see a “movie”, based on this extraordinary story, only master storyteller Diane can tell. I enjoyed the inspiration behind the book, and the connection with the author’s own family. As mentioned previously, influenced by the author’s former career as a social worker and psychotherapist, she has keen insights reflective throughout the pages of her writing, with suspenseful stories that will touch your heart and mind. Buy both they will change you, with unique characters which linger, long after the book ends.“It’s hard to move on if you don’t forgive. It’s like trying to dance with a lead weight on your shoulders. The anger can weigh you down forever.“