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?
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Bling! Romance (LPC)
RELEASE DATE: May 9, 2017
“…behind God’s every no there is a bigger yes.”
A Season to Dance has been on my radar for a while now but my TBR pile is, as you know, out of control so sometimes it takes me a while to get to all the books on my ‘must read now’ list. But now I’ve read it and I see why my friends have been gushing about its artistry and beauty and emotion.
First – the artistry and beauty. Beal’s experience as a ballerina graces Ana’s character as well as the ballet scenes. The dance movements come alive under Beal’s exquisite pen, and readers will feel like they are in the front row of the performances and classes. At the same time, she avoids making it too clinical. Non-dancers may not understand all of the terms and nuances but the overall beauty is vividly captured and keeps readers riveted breathlessly to the page. Especially when Ana is dancing with Claus (still fanning).
Speaking of Claus… I really thought I didn’t particularly like either of Ana’s loves. Peter or Claus. Can I pick #teamguyyettobeseen? I actually had a whole different paragraph written here and then opened this post back up and changed my mind. Because I thought more about both guys and I do have a preference. But you’re going to have to read the book and see if you figure out what it is 😉 (I know. I’m terrible.)
Here, Zuzu would like me to mention that she is #teamBarysh
And speaking of Barysh – the emotion. Keep several boxes of tissue handy for this read! Just like the sweeping emotions found in a ballet (exquisite highs and agonizing lows), Ana’s story is wrapped in ups and downs. Grief hits you in the gut from the first chapter, and you find yourself holding your breath for the rest of the book. Waiting to revisit that tragic moment, but this time with all of the backstory in hand. A backstory with its own measure of grief. There are sweet moments on these pages, too. Moments of delight. Moments of triumph. Moments of joy. Moments of grace.
Because, you see, Ana is on a journey toward a personal relationship with Jesus and the emphasis here is on the word journey. Her sense of morality is different from mine at first- probably different from yours, too. As such, her behavior for most of the book is not something to be applauded. But please let me beg of you not to go clutching your pearls just yet (in case you were tempted lol).
He tenderly puts people and circumstances into Ana’s path as He continues to pursue her. Because He loves her. More than Peter ever could. More than Claus ever could. He loves her in her brokenness… just like He loves me in mine. And you in yours. Our brokenness may take different forms than Ana’s but it’s brokenness all the same. And in that brokenness, He finds beauty. And so does Patricia Beal.
Bottom Line: A Season to Dance is a beautiful debut novel, capturing the ins and outs of ballet life as well as the tenderness of a heart moving toward Jesus. Vivid imagery, layered characters, and breathtaking emotion keep readers engaged from page one until the end. Some of the pacing could be a bit more structured, and some of the character motivations could stand a bit more dimension. BUT overall, this is a top-notch debut novel and I look forward to watching this author continue to grow. If her debut is this beautiful, with only a few minor issues, I can’t wait to see what her next novel will be like! Brava!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Emotional and layered
KissingBook Level: 3 / those dancing scenes, that balcony kiss… wowza!
Patricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She is represented by Les Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency, and A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and has worked for the U.S. Army as a writer and editor for many years. Patricia writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and two children. You can find more info about Patricia on her website here.
(2) Prizes up for grabs! (US Addresses Only)
#TeamPeter Country Christmas Basket:
Blake Shelton Christmas CD, Hallmark movie A Nutcracker Christmas, Country Cookin’ – Recipes from Callaway Gardens, A Season to Dance, country chocolates, and a country ornament.
#TeamClaus German Christmas Basket:
German Christmas Songs CD, Baryshnikov movie White Nights (with Helen Mirren), Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss, A Season to Dance, German chocolates, and an ornament.
What about you? Do you have a favorite ballet?