Title: They Danced On (The Darlings #3)
Author: Carrie Armstrong Gardner
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
The other two novels in the series are titled, All Right Here followed by Better All the Time by the same author. I didn’t read the other novels prior to reading They Danced On. However, for me, it was still a very potent story being told by the author. The Darling family has had its share of trials; the characters deal with life issues just like other families. The book in some ways was hard to read because I could identify strongly with the matriarch of the family named Jane who was wrestling with many trials one being her youngest moving out. Jane wasn’t ready for the empty nest period of her life, especially with her husband’s ALS struggles.
One of the Darlings daughters is named Laura and was struggling with alcohol while another daughter just got married and leaves to work as a missionary with her new husband. Jane begins to wrestle with what her future is going to be when all she has been identified with is being a mother, wife and taking care of the home. Now, as she looks down the road, she isn’t sure what she will be doing with her time or what is God’s purpose for her in this season and more.
I could identify with Jane as my family will be going through some good changes next year and I am thankful so far our health is good. Like Jane, I look to the Lord and believe He has a job for me to do and that my identity is in Him and not earthly titles. Other readers may understand some of the siblings’ issues or marital stuff that occurs. I loved how Jane and her husband, Leander, walked together through the tough season of his decline due to ALS. The author doesn’t spell out in detail what happens, but focuses the readers on the faith of the various family members as well as how strength from being a family unit helps as they walk through life experiences.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend reading this during the holidays if readers have suffered with someone who has ALS or a long term illness or a recent loved one passing. Whenever people choose to read this novel and perhaps the prior two, I believe they will come away as I did with hope. For with God we can walk through the various trials and come out with a closer relationship with Him.
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