"Our kids, my, my, Gracie, where did we go wrong? One marries God, another a Jew, and the last one, the devil!"Texas, 1951. The Wolanskys—Grace, Bud and their three grown children—are a close-knit clan, deeply rooted in their rural community and traditional faith. On their orderly farm, life seems good and tomorrow always holds promise.
But under the surface, it’s a different story. Grace is beset by dark memories and nameless fears that she keeps secret even from Bud. Their son Andy has said no to becoming a farmer like his dad and, worse, fallen in love with a big-city Jewish girl. Youngest child Regina is trapped in a loveless marriage to an abusive, alcoholic husband. Even “perfect” daughter Angela’s decision to become a nun takes an unforeseen turn.
And then Ceil Dollard breezes into town.
Ceil—wealthy, sophisticated, irrepressible—is like a visitor from Mars. She’s a modern woman. She drives a car and wears pants. She blows away tradition and certainty, forcing Grace to face her fears and brave a changing world. Through Ceil, Grace learns about courage and freedom—but at the risk of losing Bud.
Barbara Frances’ sparkling, richly human novel takes you back to a time when Ike was president and life was slower, but people were the same as now. You’ll encounter a cast of characters storm-tossed by change, held together by love. Written with compassion, humor and suspense, Like I Used to Dance will charm you, warm you and even squeeze a few tears, from it opening number to the last waltz.
Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2016
After only a few pages I was hooked by Like I Used to Dance and Barbara Frances' gifts as a storyteller. She creates multidimensional characters who are so real that I found myself thinking about them in between sessions with the book, and she weaves a plot that is by turns suspenseful, funny, touching and gripping. Set in a rural Texas community more than sixty years ago, the book explores social, racial and family themes -- many of which continue to resonate today. But above all, it's a great read! It will take you places where you've never been, from a KKK meeting that is both sinister and pathetic, to a heartbroken man's encounter with a mystical fox. Barbara Frances writes with insight, compassion, full knowledge of the human heart, and lots of twists, turns and surprises. Highly recommended.
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