Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain
Published by Pan
8th October 2015
I have been a fan of Diane Chamberlain’s books ever since reading The Lost Daughter in 2009 and was so pleased to be invited to take part in this blog tour. Pretending to Dance was published yesterday. I know I am shown on the tour banner as posting a review but I don’t yet have a copy to read so in the meantime I have a guest post by Diane which I hope you enjoy. I am looking forward to reading this and will post a review later on.
The Juiciest Part of a Story
No, I’m not talking about sex.
I’m talking about that moment in any novel when everything changes and you can’t possibly close the book. You have to know what happens. It’s that ‘but when’ moment. Everything is going smoothly in the character’s life, but when X happens, all bets are off.
And it better happen quickly before the reader falls asleep!
I believe that a good story should have several but whens in it. As a matter of fact, nearly every chapter should have at least a small one to keep the reader excited about what’s going to happen next.
Although Pretending to Dance is narrated by only one character, Molly Arnette, we hear from her during two different periods of her life. First, we meet her as a thirty-eight-year old married attorney in San Diego and then as a fourteen-year-old girl living with her parents on one hundred acres of family land outside Asheville, North Carolina.
In the first chapter of Pretending to Dance, the adult Molly is happily married to her husband Aidan and they are hoping to adopt a baby. But when the social worker arrives to conduct the home study for the adoption, the truth Molly’s hidden from Aidan about the family she grew up in threatens to emerge. Suddenly she regrets the lies she’s told her husband about her past. There is little she can do about them now except hope the home study doesn’t uncover the truth and cost her not only the adoption but her marriage as well. Here is what Molly is most afraid of revealing:
At times I feel guilty for keeping so much about my past from Aidan, but I’m honestly not sure he would want to know. I try to imagine telling him: ‘My mother murdered my father’. I’d said those words once and they had cost me. I will never say them out loud again.
Needless to say, Molly has much to hide!
Then we go back to 1990 when Molly was fourteen. We see her happy, almost idyllic, life unfolding as she enjoys her innocent fantasizing about The New Kids on the Block and Johnny Depp.
I was into dancing and music and fantasizing about the boys who made it. Oh, and Johnny Depp. I’d lie awake at night, trying to come up with a way to meet him. In that fantasy I wore contacts instead of glasses and somehow miraculously had great hair instead of my shoulder-length flyaway brown frizz. We would fall in love and get married and have a family. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make that happen, but it was my favorite thing to think about.
But when Stacy, a more worldly and wild girlfriend, enters Molly’s life, her security is threatened.
I was late getting out of the house that night because I was talking to Stacy on the phone.
“Bryan has this friend, Chris Turner,” Stacy said. “Bryan showed him your picture in the yearbook and Chris thinks you’re really cute and wants to meet you!”
Her words excited me. “My parents won’t let me go out with a seventeen-year-old, though,” I said.
“They never have to know,” she said.
I had that feeling I always got when I spoke to Stacy. That strange, enticed, and a little bit jealous feeling. She lived in a different sort of world than I did. A freer world. I knew right then that I wanted some of that freedom.
The but whens in a story are fun to dream up, fun to write and even more fun to read. I hope I can keep you surprised and hungry for more as I reveal each of them in Pretending to Dance.
When the pretending ends, the lying begins . . .
It’s the summer of 1990 and fourteen-year-old Molly Arnette lives with her extended family on one hundred acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The summer seems idyllic at first. The mountains are Molly’s playground and she’s well loved by her father, a therapist famous for books he’s written about a method called ‘Pretend Therapy’; her adoptive mother, who has raised Molly as her own; and Amalia, her birth mother who also lives on the family land. The adults in Molly’s life have created a safe and secure world for her to grow up in. But Molly’s security begins to crumble as she becomes aware of a plan taking shape in her extended family – a plan she can’t stop and that threatens to turn her idyllic summer into a nightmare.