I enjoyed Making Marion by Beth Moran when I read it last year. It was witty, charming, and touching. Her characters seemed real and I both fought tears and enjoyed laughter as I read the book. So I was very excited to read Beth's second book, I Hope You Dance. Although it is set in the same basic Nottingham area in England, you don't run into the same people you grew to love in Making Marion.
I Hope You Dance grabs your attention immediately as you are thrust into the middle of Ruth Henderson's emotional breakdown as she copes with her partner's death, a mountain of debt, financial struggles, and a lecherous boss. You are immediately cheering for her as she stands up and starts making decisions for herself and her fourteen year old daughter. She may feel as if she's going backwards by returning home to Southwell, but even that is progress.
It isn't easy. She's thrust into her parents marital problems while still trying to regain her own courage, heal her relationship with her daughter, and try to overcome the pain of her own adolescence. She's avoided church since she left home for university, and especially since her unwed pregnancy, yet she finds herself thrust into the heart of Oak Hill Church.
What Ruth wasn't expecting was to make friends, regain confidence in herself, find healing with her parents and her daughter, and even re-establish her friendship with the one man she's always loved - the boy next door. Ruth doesn't just survive. She thrives and heals and realizes that Southwell is once again home.
I didn't find as much humor in I Hope You Dance. It wasn't as fun as Making Marion, but it was definitely just as touching and charming. I loved seeing the friendships that Ruth made grow and develop and watching healing come to Ruth and Maggie. I definitely will be watching for Beth Moran's next book. She's on my list of "authors to read".