22 October 2015

Dance With Me by Heidi Cullinan

Hey everyone,

Firstly can we talk about the beautiful new cover for Dance With Me by Heidi Cullinan? It is absolutely gorgeous! Secondly I loved the new introduction Heidi Cullinan has given this novel as it put Dance With Me in a historical context. Highlighting how much as changed for the LGBT+ community in the last few years! Still a long way to go but progress is progress.

The book:

Sometimes life requires a partner.

Ed Maurer has bounced back, more or less, from the neck injury that permanently benched his semipro football career. He hates his soul-killing office job, but he loves volunteering at a local community center. The only fly in his ointment is the dance instructor, Laurie Parker, who can’t seem to stay out of his way.

Laurie was once one of the most celebrated ballet dancers in the world, but now he volunteers at Halcyon Center to avoid his society mother’s machinations. It would be a perfect escape, except for the oaf of a football player cutting him glares from across the room.

When Laurie has a ballroom dancing emergency and Ed stands in as his partner, their perceptions of each other turn upside down. Dancing leads to friendship, being friends leads to becoming lovers, but most important of all, their partnership shows them how to heal the pain of their pasts. Because with every turn across the floor, Ed and Laurie realize the only escape from their personal demons is to keep dancing—together. 

My thoughts:

Dance With Me is about two broken people finding each other and learning to dance to the rhythm of life. Well wasn’t that a corny way to start a review? But it is true. Laurie is mentally and emotionally closed of from life. Scared to dance in public. Scared to move on. Scared to live his life for fear of what other people will say and think. Yet dancing is part of who he is.

You don't just feel the rhythm," he'd told him. "You must feel the soul, both of the dance and of your partner. The tango isn't something you dance. It's a story you create with another.

Similarly Ed is suffering a severe injury that left him unable to continue his semi-professional football career. I felt this was a story of self-discovery and expression. Both Laurie and Ed are having to learn how express themselves and find passion again. This was a slow romance with Laurie and Ed starting out on less than friendly terms. Yet through dancing they learn to trust one another. Sure they come from different worlds and lead different lives but they understand one another.

“That night Laurie slept naked in Ed’s arms, and he dreamed they danced across the clouds, dressed in glittering suits that glinted as they spun across the heavens, and as they passed by, all the angels clapped and cried out in joy.”

I loved the vulnerabilities Heidi Cullinan gave both Ed and Laurie. They don’t have a smooth road to happiness not because they don’t love each other but because they do. Ed, particularly in the second half of the book, has to face the reality of his new life. He's moody, disheartened and borderline depressed. Understandably this puts a strain on their relationship, but they’re able to work through it. Laurie shows Ed that their is hope. He gives him new goals to work towards.

“Why do you stay with me?” Laurie touched Ed’s face. “Because I don’t want to dance by myself.” 

Now your possibly wondering why Ive given this four instead of five stars. This is because at times I found the pace a little slow, also it would have been nice to see a few more fluffy or happy scenes between Ed and Laurie. It felt like they were always having to overcome one small obstacle after the other. Be it Laurie’s insecurities, Ed’s disability and so on. Also I found one sexual scene at Laurie’s godfathers house unnecessary and a little disturbing. In my opinion it didn’t add to the plot and it didn’t seem in keeping with Laurie and Ed’s relationship.

My rating:
Happy reading and see you next time!