They Danced On – Carre Armstrong Gardner – Tyndale – Published 1 July 2016
Nothing is more important to Jane Darling than her family. She’s dedicated her life to raising her children, and they all appear to be doing well. She can finally relax and enjoy life. But when her husband becomes seriously ill, Jane finds herself taking on the most difficult role of her life.
Laura Darling moved away to escape the expectations of her family. Ever since she went through rehab, they watch her like a hawk. Now she has a good job, new friends, and no one to criticize her or comment on everything she’s doing. But when everything begins to unravel, Laura’s heart turns toward home.
Follow the Darling family through triumph and tragedy as they struggle with an uncertain future.
They Danced On is a beautiful book, heartfelt and moving. It encompasses every facet of a busy, flawed and loving family. There is romance, weddings, first kisses and even proposals. There are serious illnesses and diseases, both ALS and alcoholism. There are calls from the school principal, family secrets, and wrestling with faith.
This book takes place six months after the end of the previous book in the Darling Family series. It covers a long period of time and, judging from the epilogue, it will be the last book in the series.
Leander has ALS and a large part of the book focuses on Leander and Jane, as they both deal with the changes in their lives and settling scores with the past. We also get glimpses of the rest of the Darling family. Sephy and Justice are about to get married, Laura is still struggling with her alcohol consumption and is not in contact with her family, David is settling into married life, Amy is biding her time until she can pursue a future with Mitch, and Ivy and Nick are still getting the hang of raising three rambunctious kids, with DeShaun about to graduate high school and start cullinary school. Alternating chapters from various characters give readers an insight into the whole family’s continuing stories.
Throughout the whole book there is the most wonderful mix of joy and sadness. It is horrible watching Jane work through her denial of the seriousness of Leander’s fight with ALS, and the way she treats him is at times heartbreaking, as is watching Leander’s diminishing strength. This is balanced with the joy of watching the Darling family grow and flourish.
If They Danced On is to be the last book in the series, it is the perfect conclusion and the perfect celebration of love and life. A highly recommended series for readers who love stories of family, romance and faith.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Family. Children. Love. Romance. ALS. Alcoholism. Marriage. Faith
Published: 1 July 2016 by Tyndale.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 400 pages.