Book Review: The Unexpected Waltz

Another day, another book where the husband is dead.  Such is my life.  As I love dancing, I was very excited to read this novel, but now that I’ve finished it, I can’t really say how this book left me feeling.  I wasn’t particularly drawn in by the protagonist (especially her presentation as a widow), nor did the sections explaining dance speak to me.  As a dancer, the backdrop of the strict dance studio and the world presented didn’t resonate with my own experience.  It’s not that my own dancing trumps anyone else’s, it’s just I think the sequences could be done better.  I’ve only tackled the act of ballroom dance in a few short stories, so I know it’s difficult to translate the passion, movement and tempo of what takes place on the dance floor to the page, but again, I felt that if a non-dancer was reading this they wouldn’t necessarily be taken away to the magical world that is ballroom.  To go on a bit of a tangent, treating dance as something only accessible by (expensive) private lessons seems a bit unfair.  If you possess any amount of rhythm, you should be able to go out to a club or event that caters to this sort of crowd and pick a lot of it up on your own.  Unless you were going to compete, social dancing is a fairly easy scene to get into.  (And for the record, it’s an activity that crosses religious and racial boundaries – salsa dancing in Qatar was about the only fun thing I did while there).

I digress…  Back to the book.

The good?  Excellent supporting cast.  And I’ll admit it, any dancing is better than no dancing.

The bad?  Meh lead character.  Literally no character development of the dead husband.  Numerous unresolved issues.  This felt more like a self-published book than it did a novel from one of the publishing houses.

The random?  I really liked the book club questions at the end of the book!  I might have to do something similar.

A look at Amazon reveals positive reviews (4 – this book came out recently) and as usual, Goodreads slightly lower (more realistic?).

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Decent, but a $5.99 price feels more appropriate (and $18.00 for the hardcover seems out of control).

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