Monday, April 1, 2013

The Dance by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

Marilyn had had enough. She and Jim had been married for twenty seven
years. Painful years for her. But Jim didn't have a clue about her pain. He was too busy being an important man at church, the church he picked out because of the possible business contacts. He was too taken by his real estate holdings to take her in his arms.
So she left one day while Jim was at his office. She left him a note, letting him know she just needed some time. She tried to tell him how she felt. She wondered if he would even begin to understand. His heart was no longer with her or their children.

With Marilyn moving out, Jim slowing begins to face who he has become. It takes him a long time and it is not easy. Admitting you have mistreated those you are to love is hard.

The novel revolved around dance. Jim had refused to do the bride and groom dance at their wedding. Marilyn had been crushed. What had followed was a Christian home filled with legalism and harshness, including a couple whose hearts had drifted apart.
But throughout the novel we see that God has a plan to restore the couple, through dance.

Jim pays attention to his uncle's wise words. “Words don't do it for a woman whose heart's grown cold. … You've 'em.”

OK, men, this is a novel for you! If there was ever a “romance” novel for Christian husbands to read, this is it. If you want a penetrating look into how you may be treating your wife and children, dare read this book. But have a tissue ready as you near the end. Men do cry, don't they?

On another level, it was a bit strange for me to read about dance in a Christian setting. When I was a teen, dancing was forbidden in our church and family. It was viewed as too tempting for young people. It was interesting to read of Marilyn's struggles with some temptation as she takes dancing lessons from a handsome Latin fellow. It was just a bit strange to have dance be such an integral part of a Christian couple's restoration. Old prejudices die hard.

The only aspect of this novel that was less than perfect was the tearful and quick ending. However, the story of Marilyn and Jim is not over. This is the first in a new series of books from Walsh and Smalley dealing with restoration. I look forward to the next in the series of the Jim and Marilyn Anderson family.

There are discussion questions at the end of this book so it would make a good choice for reading groups.
Also, just a note that many of the healing steps in this novel come from Smalley's book, The DNA of Relationships.

Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of several novels. Dan served as a
pastor for twenty five years and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. He lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area. You can find out more at and

Gary Smalley is one of the country's best known authors and speakers on family relationships. He is the author or co-author of sixteen bestselling and award-winning books. He has spent over thirty years learning, teaching, counseling and speaking in conferences. He and his wife have been married for forty years and live in Branson, Missouri. They have three children and six grandchildren.

Revell, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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