Friday, October 22, 2021


"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.

  ... is especially well written and the character development is excellent. This is a family saga situated in the ...

Verified Purchase
This book is especially well written and the character development is excellent. This is a family saga situated in the 1950's. I do not want to give the whole story away but one example is it is fascinating to see is a mother and grandmother come really alive for the first time in her life. When the author writes her face lit up, you can almost see it. In addition, the author did an excellent job of tying everything together and gave us a happy ending. I read this book as a book club choice and am so glad I did.

Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2020
It is easy to see how Like I Used To Dance by Barbara Frances won awards. It is a novel that should easily find its way into classic literature. It is not just the story of the Wolanskys, who live in a small farming town in the nineteen-fifty’s, but the story of life, and how even generations of family issues can affect each new generation unless something happens to break the cycle.
Ms. Frances paints a picture of each character, their weaknesses, as well as the strength in their character. From Grace, and Bud, their three grown children, to neighbors, and friends, each is drawn with a fine pencil, fully formed, and genuine, some are people you wish you knew, and others you would like to string up. Yet, each is so well crafted as to be able to see them in your life, or town.
Whether she is painting the generous nature of Bud, to the horror of Billy Ray, Ms. Frances brings us a full picture of life as it was, and life as it still is. Many things may have changed in our world, underneath there is still an underbelly of both the beauty and ugliness of human nature.
Like I Used To Dance was not a book that I could easily put down, but sat up till the wee hours of the morning reading.

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