Pretending to Dance

  • by Diane Chamberlain
  • Narrated by Susan Bennett
  • 12 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She and her husband live in San Diego, where they hope to soon adopt a baby. But the process terrifies her.
As the questions and background checks come one after another, Molly worries that the truth she's kept hidden about her North Carolina childhood will rise to the surface and destroy not only her chance at adoption but her marriage as well. She ran away from her family 20 years ago after a shocking event left her devastated and distrustful of those she loved: Her mother, the woman who raised her and who Molly says is dead but is very much alive; her birth mother, whose mysterious presence raised so many issues; and the father she adored, whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison Ridge.
Now, as she tries to find a way to make peace with her past and embrace a future filled with promise, she discovers that even she doesn't know the truth of what happened in her family of pretenders.
Told with Diane Chamberlain's compelling prose and gift for deft exploration of the human heart, Pretending to Dance is an exploration of family, lies, and the complexities of both.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Enjoyable .... 2 minor issues

Overall I thought the book was enjoyable BUT the main character came across as incredibly selfish for a large part of the novel. Which is fine you don't have to love the characters but it amazed me that none of her family said "grow up everything isn't about you". Only other thing was the narrator doing the male voice was annoying at times.
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- Janet Field

SPOILERS!!! Was Very Disappointed!

What disappointed you about Pretending to Dance?

It had such high ratings, I was expecting more. The book description eludes to a lot of mystery. A mysterious death (I'm thinking a terrible murder, yes!). A dead mother (another yes! How'd she die?). A birth mother's mysterious presence? (Ooo, is she stalking the family? Does she want the child she gave up back?). All of this sounds so good! Molly ran away 20 years ago. For these reasons, I'm thinking awesome! The makings of an amazing story! I was ready to dive in! It revolved around a 14 year girl who was "coming of age". She was unsure of herself and naive. She is surrounded by family on family land (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmother, parents) on a mountain ridge in NC. Her father has extremely advanced multiple sclerosis and is confined to wheelchair, paralysed from the neck down. She was adopted by her stepmother but her biological mother lives within walking distance. She has a friend who is the total opposite of her, Stacey. Stacey is lacking parental supervision, does drugs, drinks and has a 17 year old boyfriend. She immediately introduces these things to Molly. She falls hard for the older boy who uses her and breaks her heart. I was fine with all of this. Like I said it part of it was a coming of age story. (This sounds awful and I hate to even say it, considering I'm the mother of 3 daughters, but the teen sex "coming of age" part of the book was the most interesting and realistic part of the book.) This book was terribly slow. It flips between 14 year old Molly in NC to 38 year old Molly in San Diego. I don't know who is more annoying, the 14 year old or the 38 year old. On a plus note, while most of the characters in "Pretending to Dance" were very annoying/boring, there were a few who were really great, stand out characters. Russell, (Molly's father's aid) was my favorite. He was loving, kind, and very good to Molly and her family. Danielle was an amazing cousin, Molly was just too blind to see it. Nora and Amalea (Molly's adopted and birth mother) were both wonderful, once again, Molly was too blind and unforgiving to see it.


What do you think your next listen will be?

I'll probably stick with Joshilyn Jackson. Or any book that has characters with actual personalities. Molly, her husband Aiden and Sienna, the girl they want an open adoption with, all have the personalities of sticks or pine combs.


How could the performance have been better?

I'm sure Susan Bennett did the best she could with what she had to work with. That being said, her voice was way to old for a 14 year girl.


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Annoyance, I wanted to slap Molly.


Any additional comments?

This book is boring, falls short on all expectations. It just drones on and on and on. I stopped listening several times and only finished because I was on a long trip and had nothing else loaded on my iPhone. Molly is selfish, annoying, unforgiving and wastes 20 years of her life having no family, not because she doesn't have family, but because she cut them from her life. Also like I mentioned already, the overview eludes to a murder, a dead mother, the mysterious presence of Molly's birth mother. Wrong, wrong, wrong. If only ANY of this plot line would have existed, the book may have been good. There was no murder (simply a requested mercy death), no dead mother (Molly just told everyone her everyone she was dead) and lastly, "mysterious presence"? Oh we could only wish...instead, both Molly's birth mother and her adoptive mother coexist quite peacefully next door to each other. Boring.

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- Katpearl

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-06-2015
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio