The Dance by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley {Book Review}

The Dance by Dan WalshThe Dance by Dan Walsh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Overview

Twenty-seven years of marriage and Marilyn Anderson is walking out. Her husband is shocked while their three grown kids, in varying degrees, are anything but shocked. We see this happen in real life all around us and wonder how, why, and what on earth happened? The Dance brings real life events to the pages of a novel as the Walsh and Smalley work the characters through understanding why it happened and how to fix the problems that have built up over the years.

The Readability

All 325 pages of this first novel in The Restoration Series are easy reading. The story flows beautifully in the style I have come to enjoy from Dan Walsh. It only took about 4 hours to read it from start to finish and the plot itself is easy to follow.

The Highlights

The emotions that the characters express are easy to relate to and this story brings out the truth of the slow fade behind the scenes of so many “Christian” marriages. I enjoyed how the authors brought out the feelings of the grown children in this situation and not just the struggling husband and wife. The way they cast light onto the shallowness of how the church handled the issue was sadly real. I felt that it was easy to feel drawn into this story.

The Downside

While this story deals with the reality of what is taking place around so many of us- or even in some many reader’s lives – it did so in a shallow way. The story is built on twenty-seven years of brokenness but ends with a short and emotional conclusion that doesn’t reconcile all the baggage that was unpacked through the book. Seeing that this is the first in a series of four books I assume, and hope, that the authors will continue to deal with the problems in books two through four.

This is a novel so I do not expect that it give specific counsel in how to fix our problems, but I was disappointed in the way that it did not dig into how the main characters worked through their personal problems in a more helpful way. I believe many readers will identify to the husband or wife, but rather than being encouraged or equipped to tackle their own marriage issues, they will close the book longing for a romantic ending to their own mess. In short, it makes the process look much easier and simpler than it is in real life.

The Recommendation

I recommend this book for it’s clean entertainment value. However, I caution women in struggling marriages to read with caution and guard your own emotions as I believe it would be easy to take on Marilyn’s emotions as your own and/or cause your heart to long for the quick and romantic ending that is not as real as we would like to think.

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I received a copy of this book for review purposes, but the opinions I expressed are my own. This book is available April 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  (Some links in this post are affiliate links.)

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