Book Recommendation ~ A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal

Book Description:

Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.

Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.

Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I absolutely loved reading A Season to Dance. I read the book within twenty-four hours, during the time I should have been using to write my own book, because I just couldn’t put it down. I needed a bunch of tissues to mop up my tears toward the end of the story and my family had a late dinner because I lost track of the time.

It was a powerful story and an emotional read, but before I go into more detail there’s something I’ll share with you first. This wasn’t the first time I’d started reading this book.

Patricia’s debut novel released in early May and I’d planned to read and review it for my May posting date on Inspy Romance. I’ve known Patricia online for a few years through the group blog, International Christian Fiction Writers, and I was thrilled to see her debut book release. A Season to Dance had great endorsements and early reviews, and I’d set aside time after the release date to read the Kindle version.

There was only one problem. I read Chapter One and the ending chapter hook triggered a deep fear I’d been grappling with for eight months. The fear of losing my husband to a life threatening health issue. I read Chapter Two but it became too hard to continue reading. The characters were too real, the writing too vivid, the story too good and too painful to read at that point in time.

For Inspy Romance in May, I used this reading experience to springboard my ideas for the post I wrote on Hot Button Issues and Trigger Warnings in Christian Romance. And I prayed. A Season To Dance had revealed to me an issue in my life that I needed to work through and hand over in prayer. I made the decision to put the book aside and read it in His timing. At the same time I won a print copy from Patricia’s giveaway on the International Christian Fiction Writers blog. The print book sat at the bottom of a pile of books on my bedside table, waiting for its turn to be read.

Ana is a girl from small town Georgia who has big dreams of an international ballet career. Her goal is to dance at the Met in NYC.

Ana isn’t a Christian at the start of the story. This means she doesn’t hold Christian values and doesn’t follow Biblical principles regarding morality. She’s real and she makes mistakes. Her life is complicated and messy as she lives out the consequences of her unwise decisions. The bedroom door is closed but the reader is aware of the physical nature of Ana’s romantic relationships in the story.

A love triangle plays out between Peter, the landscape architect from back home and Claus, a successful German dancer who travels the world. I’m not usually a fan of the love triangle romance trope, but the unique twist it adds to the plot is brilliant.

We journey with Ana to Germany and Prague and also experience the angst in her complex journey to faith. The setting in Europe and Georgia is stunning. I enjoyed travelling with Ana and gaining an insight into the world of ballet.

The opening chapter doesn’t reveal the identity of her husband and it may seem odd to jump ahead in time at the start. In the second half of the book the importance of the placement of Chapter One makes sense and adds to the building tension in the story.

I loved the ending and closed the book with a smile on my face. The gospel message in the story is clear and powerful. The author’s note at the end of the book explains how the author herself became a Christian while writing the book.

A Season to Dance is contemporary romance I’d recommend to Christians and seekers who are exploring Christianity. It addresses the hard issues in life and how our inherent selfishness will hurt others, including the people we love.

Many thanks to Patricia for blessing me with a print copy. It’s now on my keeper shelf.

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com