I JUST CAME HERE TO DANCE
By Susan Mary Malone
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: White Bird Publications
Date of Publication: September 15, 2016
Number of Pages: 340
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Paula Anne Fairbanks understands all about the unexamined life. And she likes hers that way—until her world gets ripped smooth apart.
Running from reality, Paula falls under the mythological yarns being spun on Diana Maclean’s porch. Surely Paula’s own choices aren’t to blame for the summer of insanity she spends under the spells of Diana…who is, after all, known as the White Witch of Sociable, Texas.
I JUST CAME HERE TO DANCE, a modern allegory, waltzes atop the line between the creative and the crazy, the sacred and the maligned. Through myths it weaves together the multi-layers of personal Self with that of the collective whole. And finally, Paula Anne and the townsfolk learn the simplest of truths: that the fire’s ashes produce wisdom and courage, just as the stories say.
PRAISE FOR I JUST CAME HERE TO DANCE:
“Malone’s voice is one of the most charming I’ve read. It brings the story and her characters to life. I feel like I grew up with Paula right over the hill from the lively little town of Sociable, Texas.” –New York Times bestselling author M. Leighton
“Susan Mary Malone pens well-crafted characters that are so vivid you can picture them in an award winning movie or television series.” –New York Times bestselling author Mary Honey B Morrison
“. . . a magical story about love ripped apart, a life examined, and then healed. To be read slowly, to savor as one would a tall cool glass of lemonade, on a hot afternoon, watching the world become new.” –Ginnie Siena Bivona, author of Ida Mae Tutweiler and the Traveling Tea Party, made into a Hallmark TV film, Bound by a Secret
Malone has a very charismatic way of writing. I would consider it easy reading, with great flow and dialogue throughout the scenes. To be honest, I put the book down a few times in frustration and would revisit it later. It was easy to read it in sections and not be lost at all. The characters really leave an impression. I thought it interesting that characters in the book tell stories so you get this added story in a story ‘inception’.
What struck me most for this book was the pure Texan vibe I got from it. It really exuded Texas in such a way that I knew this place. I’ve seen those scenes described, experienced those people, heard that drawl. I felt like it perfectly captured what a Texan native grew up with and was literally nodding my head at points for things I strongly remember.
Of course, It also had those frustrating parts of this state as well. There’s a certain line of traditions and closed-mindedness. It was really frustrating to read through Paula’s actions, especially after the ‘not-so-shocking’ discovery of her husband. It felt very melancholy in the first half while she is trying to live her life day to day in an unhappy marriage and livelihood. It’s her love for her son that is her main motivation but it’s clear in the beginning that she’s beginning to spiral and make bad decisions. As well as choose to ignore events happening around her. Still, every book that encourages you to look deeper into society and makes you feel deep emotions is considered good in my opinion.
Paula learns to pick herself up, to speak her mind, and to break from what is expected. This book is about the grittier side of relationships and the end of them. The reality of heartbreak and expectation to tough things out when all you want to do is run away. Drama with a side of pure-Texan humor.
Texas native Susan Mary Malone has published two novels, co-authored four nonfiction books, and written many short stories. Her happiness is fiction, wine, and Labrador Retrievers, the latter of which she raises, trains, and shows. Literature is her love. In addition to writing, she edits; fifty-plus Malone-edited books have sold to traditional publishers, and one of them was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame film (while another is in production, set to be released in 2015). Her stories revolve around the passions and purpose, the myths and meaning of women’s lives. Which often involves wine. She does, however, try to keep the Labradors out of that.
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September 26 – October 5, 2016
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