Just as headstrong, is Ian North, a difficult, gifted man with a tortured soul—a man who makes Tess question everything.
In running away to this new life, Tess wonders— Has she lost herself . . . or has she found her future?
Synopsis from Goodreads
I'm a big fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips's books, starting with the first one I picked up: What I Did For Love. I fell in love with her writing and immediately went to find all her other books. So I was thrilled when I found out that she had released a new book. Her contemporary romances are always filled with layered and complex characters while guaranteeing a happy ending.
A Book About Family
As a new mom, so many moments in this story made me pause and just stare gratefully at my baby. But even without all the additional hormones, I would definitely argue that this is a beautiful story about family and how love is just as important than blood. Seeing Tess taking care of Wren, the development of Wren's grandparents, and Ian's reluctant role in the family is so lovely. These are characters who have been thrust into a situation none of them expected and somehow figure out how to do what is best for Wren. Absolutely loved watching this story unfold.
So Many Contemporary Issues
Safe sex practices, consent, gender roles, and independence are just a few of the contemporary issues that Phillips tackles in this book. I absolutely love that Tess, although acknowledging that parents should be the first people asked, doesn't back down with providing teens with necessary information to make sure they are practicing safe sex. Phillips uses a deft hand to write rebuttals to beliefs like "abstinence is the only option" and show how knowledge is power. I also loved seeing secondary characters develop and find their own independence from their personal relationships. Lastly, Ian is amazing when talking to the teen boys about consent and acceptance. Everyone should hold the same beliefs as this character.
Little Time with Ian's POV
Although the book begins with Ian's perspective, we're given very few moments in the book that are actually in his voice. This felt like a loss because I would have loved to learn more about his art, his childhood, etc. The majority of what we learn is secondhand from what Tess has learned through biographies of him or gossip, so we don't really get a ton of what he actually thinks about his parents and his past. However, the moments that are in his perspective are wonderful to read, especially in getting to see his emotional growth.
Overall, this was a wonderful story and one that I know I'll be rereading. I was immediately emotionally invested in this story and loved seeing Phillips create such layered characters again. While I don't love the title of the book (it makes it sound way too "fluffy"), the story itself is perfect. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys authors like Nora Roberts or have enjoyed other Phillips novels, is looking for a good romance to read, or simply wants something light to enjoy while we continue to wait out this pandemic.
Let me know what you think of Dance Away With Me!
FINAL RATING: 5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
Follow Me on Instagram