14 July 2016

They Danced On by Carre Armstrong Gardner

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Nothing is more important to Jane Darling than her family. She’s dedicated her life to raising her children, and they all appear to be doing well. She can finally relax and enjoy life. But when her husband becomes seriously ill, Jane finds herself taking on the most difficult role of her life.

Laura Darling moved away to escape the expectations of her family. Ever since she went through rehab, they watch her like a hawk. Now she has a good job, new friends, and no one to criticize her or comment on everything she’s doing. But when everything begins to unravel, Laura’s heart turns toward home.

Follow the Darling family through triumph and tragedy as they struggle with an uncertain future.

They Danced On offers a bittersweet and beautifully satisfying conclusion to Carre Armstrong Gardner’s series about the Darling family. Gardner allows her readers to catch up with all the beloved members of the family, but focuses on Leander and Jane dealing with his illness and Laura her addiction and subsequent problems. An emotional story of family and faith, They Danced On will not disappoint readers who have become fans of this darling series. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend the entire series for those who enjoy contemporary inspirational family sagas.

Thanks to Tyndale BlogNetwork, I received a copy of They Danced On and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Q&A with the Author
Carre Armstrong Gardner is a former worker with children at risk in Russia. Now she lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and three teenagers, where she writes books and works as a nurse. Visit her at her website.

1. They Danced On is the final book in The Darling Family series. How have the Darlings changed throughout series?
The books each focus on different characters in the family, and of course the characters each change in some way. But the Darlings have changed as a family too. Grief is chiefly what has changed them: grief over one family member’s terminal disease, and another member’s addiction. In Book 3, they’ve also said good-bye to another daughter/sister who’s moved away to Africa. So lots of changes for this family. By the end of the final book, grief and good-byes have deepened and transformed them. In particular, the mother Jane grows in her faith in Book 3. She’s always believed that God operates on an input/output system: if we ask in faith, God will give us what we want. But now she has to face the reality—with all its accompanying pain and joy—that God is deeper and more mysterious than that. She has to grow up.

2. What led you to want to write a family drama series?
Roots are important to me. I think it’s because I’ve lived such a transient life: I’ve moved 14 times, and I live in a socially fluid part of the country: people come, and stay for a few years, and move on. It seems we’re always saying good-bye to friends. So I rely on the solidity of family relationships: they’re something you can count on, even when you don’t live near each other. There’s no fun like the fun you have with family, and no griefs affect you so deeply as those that touch this particular nerve. My very favorite times in life are family Christmases or birthdays, or picnics….any time we get together. Now that I’m grown up, my siblings and their spouses are also my friends. It’s wonderful to have people who know your history; people you don’t have to explain yourself to.

3. What is next for you, writing-wise?
I’m working on a young adult series. Sort of a futuristic mix of sci-fi and fantasy. Very different from the Darlings! I’d like it to be an allegory of the Gospel for people who would not read the Gospel otherwise. And I’m working on some short stories.

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