AWARD-WINNING NOVEL 'LIKE I USED TO DANCE' IS A TALE FOR ALL TIMES - ONE TO BE SAVORED, AND REREAD OVER THE YEARS - BY BARBARA FRANCES!
"Our kids, my, my, Gracie, where did we go wrong? One marries God, another a Jew, and the last one, the devil!"
Texas, 1951. The Wolanskys—Grace, Bud and their three grown children—are a close-knit clan, deeply rooted in their rural community and traditional faith. On their orderly farm, life seems good and tomorrow always holds promise.
But under the surface, it’s a different story. Grace is beset by dark memories and nameless fears that she keeps secret even from Bud. Their son Andy has said no to becoming a farmer like his dad and, worse, fallen in love with a big-city Jewish girl. Youngest child Regina is trapped in a loveless marriage to an abusive, alcoholic husband. Even “perfect” daughter Angela’s decision to become a nun takes an unforeseen turn.
And then Ceil Dollard breezes into town.
Ceil—wealthy, sophisticated, irrepressible—is like a visitor from Mars. She’s a modern woman. She drives a car and wears pants. She blows away tradition and certainty, forcing Grace to face her fears and brave a changing world. Through Ceil, Grace learns about courage and freedom—but at the risk of losing Bud.
Barbara Frances’ sparkling, richly human novel takes you back to a time when Ike was president and life was slower, but people were the same as now. You’ll encounter a cast of characters storm-tossed by change, held together by love. Written with compassion, humor and suspense, Like I Used to Dance will charm you, warm you and even squeeze a few tears, from it opening number to the last waltz.
C M Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars The best storytelling to date. Completely worthwhile.
Barbara Frances is more magical than "a storyteller". She has the true gift of writing clear and concise stories full of everything but the pots and pans. She makes suspense a major part of her stories: so much in fact, it could make your heart skip a few beats (ok, maybe more). The intrigue is killer; and you can't predetermine what is going to happen next, or down the road. That, folks, is pure magical storytelling. But the best part of it all is that you cannot put the story down. There is always something right around the corner, with characters you love, and those you would love to hate.
This marvelous book has it all: weddings, divorces (well maybe), Ku Klux Klan, rape, disgustingly drunk snot rags, evil people, good people and the words that spell a story so good you can't just lay it down and get back to it whenever. You need to get back to it right away! It is about a very good Catholic story and all that they endure from the 1940's to about the 1960's, although time means little in this book. It is the numerous happenings that one attaches themselves to. You can't pass this one up. It is one of the best books to date.
M. M. Bishop Award-winning author and poet
5.0 out of 5 stars WILL SURELY BECOME ONE OF THE CLASSICS IN LITERATURE
It is easy to see how Like I Used To Dance by Barbara Frances won awards. It is a novel that should easily find its way into classic literature. It is not just the story of the Wolanskys, who live in a small farming town in the nineteen-fifty’s, but the story of life, and how even generations of family issues can affect each new generation unless something happens to break the cycle.
Ms. Frances paints a picture of each character, their weaknesses, as well as the strength in their character. From Grace, and Bud, their three grown children, to neighbors, and friends, each is drawn with a fine pencil, fully formed, and genuine, some are people you wish you knew, and others you would like to string up. Yet, each is so well crafted as to be able to see them in your life, or town.
Whether she is painting the generous nature of Bud, to the horror of Billy Ray, Ms. Frances brings us a full picture of life as it was, and life as it still is. Many things may have changed in our world, underneath there is still an underbelly of both the beauty and ugliness of human nature.
Like I Used To Dance was not a book that I could easily put down, but sat up till the wee hours of the morning reading.
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