Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
Dance with your heart, and love will follow.
Kindergarten teacher Spenser Harris has carved a quiet, stable future out of his tumultuous past, but his world turns upside down the night a homeless teen appears on his doorstep—a boy whose story mirrors the one Spenser has worked so hard to overcome. The decision to shelter Duon is easy. What’s tricky is juggling the network of caregivers in Duon’s life, especially Tomás Jimenez.
Tomás wouldn’t have hesitated to take Duon in, but his plate is already full working three jobs to support his family. Though Spenser’s carefully constructed walls are clearly designed to keep the world at bay, Tomás pushes past Spenser’s defenses, determined to ensure the man is worthy of his charge. As the two of them grow closer, Tomás dares to dream of a life beyond his responsibilities, and Spenser begins to believe he might finally find a home of his own after all.
But Spenser and Tomás’s world is poised to crash around their ears. Duon’s grandmother isn’t sure she wants him to be raised by a gay man and challenges Spenser’s custody. Tomás’s undocumented parents could be deported at any time, and all the while the state of Minnesota votes on a constitutional amendment against marriage equality and the US Supreme Court debates whether or not Spenser and Tomás get a happily ever after. All they can do is hold tight to their love, hope for a better future…and remind each other to enjoy the dance.
The second volume of the Dancing series by Heidi Cullinan instantly connect where the last book ends. The reappearance of Laurie and Ed was pleasant and it felt like coming home.
The focus of the book was of course on Spenser and Tomás, two guy who are very uncommon in their own ways. Where Spenser is a kindergarden teacher in a private, religious school, Tomás is a dance teacher, and employed by Laurie.
Another important character in the story is the black teenager Duon who is neglected by his family. When he is beaten up and going though a rough time, it’s Spenser who helped the young. Feeling a bit excluded it’s Tomás need to help Duon as well. Even if it means he have to burden another weight on his shoulders.
It very impressive how many different things both men have to endure yet they share similar strengh to be there for the people they love.
Where the first book was dealing with the physical diablity Ed had to suffer with, this book is all about family and family issues. The problem in this book on Tomás side is the danger to being send back to the country they left years ago. Spenser’s own problem is the fail to trust other people who offer help.
Spenser didn’t mean to be unsociable. […] Panic attacks had once been a regular part of his daily life, but years of therapy and stress management had made them by and large a thing of his past.
This quote sums up very well how Spenser mostly behave towards others; it’s Tomás who cracked the shell.
His words touched not only Spenser’s heart:
“You don’t have to ride in on a horse to be a hero. You don’t have to stand in the spotlight to be a star.”
With this touching, bolstering words it is also a reminder for the reader not to expect to be perfect. 🙂
We see Spenser struggle several times in the book but so Tomás also. It’s heart clenching how sacrificing Tomás is, how deep his love for his family goes and what it means for his own happiness to be there for his parents as well as his sister’s children.
But even if Tomás have a family by blood which is connected, it is also about families in general and what do you value as one:
“The family we make is as valid as the family we’re born to. Sometimes it’s a thousand times better.”
The book is about self-acceptance, of loss and fear, of hope and joy.
And even if parts of a life are struggeling, it has to lead into a decision:
It was his turn to talk now. His turn in the dance.
5 out of 5 stars ❤
This book touched my heart as well as the other but on a different way. The constant fear with the character is a up and down ride of emotions.
But at the end the advise is not only fitting for Spenser or Tomás, it is fitting for yourself too:
All you have to do is open your heart and let yourself enjoy the dance.
Have a look at the great cover of the book:
RELEASE DATE: October 11, 2016
Format: Novel • Genre: Contemporary • Length: 80,000 words
Publisher: Heidi Cullinan
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
eBook ISBN: 978-0-9961203-6-4
Print ISBN: 978-0-9961203-7-1
Characters: Spenser Harris, Tomás Jimenez, Ed Maurer, Laurie Parker, Duon Graves
Also read the excerpt for a greater insight.
For those who have spotify and love playlists, have a look at this.
Information About the Book
Why I Wrote Enjoy the Dance
When I revisited Dance With Me to release the second edition, I was stunned to see how much the world had changed in the three years since it was first published. Particularly in regards to marriage equality, the story I wrote had become a historical, a novel written for another time. I wanted to explore what it had been like for the characters to live through that crazy transition, to show how much would have changed for the characters in novel in the space between then and now. I also wanted to answer a question readers asked me a lot over the years: “What happened to Duon?”
History of the Dancing Series
Dance With Me for years was a standalone title. First published with Loose Id in 2011, it was re-released as a self-published title in fall of 2015. I’d originally intended to follow it up with a short story a few months later, but that short story became this novel, Enjoy the Dance.
Future Plans for the Series
There will be at least one more novel in the Dancing series, likely released in late 2017 or early 2018. Burn the Floor will be Duon’s story.
Several other books/series I’ve written tie in directly or tangentially into this story.
- Marcus, Ed and Laurie’s lawyer friend who helps Tomás and his family, finds his own HEA in Let It Snow, book one of the Minnesota Christmas series
- Arthur and Paul, Marcus’s friends from Logan who show up at the Duluth car wrapping, find their true loves in Sleigh Ride and Winter Wonderland, books two and three of the Minnesota Christmas series.
- Ed and Laurie appear in Lonely Hearts, book three of the Love Lessons series.
And have a look at these teaser pictures for more quotes:
Source of all materials: http://www.heidicullinan.com/
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