BOOK REVIEW⎜Dance Away With Me by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

RATING

I absolutely loved Dance Away With Me, you’ll have to excuse me for remaining vague but you want to dive in this one spoiler free! Susan Elizabeth Phillips offers here what every romance reader want: Laughter, tears and love… only a little backward. 😉

Book Infos

At long last, the legendary New York Times bestselling author returns with a heartfelt novel of womanhood, a wild heart, and the healing power of love.

Run, run, as fast as you can!

When life throws her one setback too many, midwife and young widow Tess Hartsong takes off for Runaway Mountain. In this small town high in the Tennessee mountains, surrounded by nature, she hopes to outrun her heartbreak and find the solace she needs to heal.

But instead of peace and quiet, she encounters an enigmatic artist with a craving for solitude, a fairy-tale sprite with too many secrets, a helpless infant, a passel of curious teens, and a town suspicious of outsiders, especially one as headstrong as Tess. Just as headstrong, is Ian North, a difficult, gifted man with a tortured soul—a man who makes Tess question everything.

In running away to this new life, Tess wonders— Has she lost herself . . . or has she found her future?

Author : Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Title : Dance Away Wtih Me
Series : –

Number of pages : 400
Publisher : William Morrow
Release Date :  June 9th, 2020
Genre : Contemporary Romance

My Review

There are a few things I’ve come to expect when I crack open a SEP book.
A gruff hero, a spirited heroine, humor and enough conflict to build some angst—usually brought by the hero acting like a total jerk, all of it packaged in a heartwarming romance.

Dance Away With Me offers all of the above and more, however it was positively different from what I’m used to from this author. For instance, I didn’t expect the story to hit me in the feels and make me cry ugly tears 15% in. It’s a definite somber take, some could even describe one particular scene gruesome, especially coming from SEP. It’s downright tragic, but trust Susan Elizabeth Phillips to balance heartbreak with heartfelt and heartwarming feels. She does it brilliantly.

(I can’t help but feel some readers would need a content warning, so I’ll drop a spoiler at the end of this review, be aware that this is also a huge spoiler for the rest of the story.)

I’m sure some reviews will let you in about what links the character together, but my advice is that you’re better off discovering this for yourself. It’s a real challenge not to tell about it in this review, considering how such a MAJOR factor it plays in the book. Please forgive me for this vague review but I don’t want to spoil the book!

Let me tell you a little bit more about the characters then!

You like your heroes toeing the line of assholes? You’ll be in fine company with Ian North. It took me a good quart of the book to determine if he was worth redeeming, fortunately he does. The jerk. Still, I was now counting on some major growth of character from him, hoping for a nice good grovel even—which he kinda delivers. His level of irascibility was intense, he sure owned his role of tortured hero!

“You don’t strike me as a callous heartbreaker. You’re fairly decent. when you’re not being a jerk.”

Tess made the book for me. She’s a lot to take in, presented as a broken woman, a widow, I wasn’t expecting her to be the image of fierceness and resilience. She has the distinct trademark personality all SEP heroines share: temper, snark, stubborness and a little bit of crazy. Tess Hartsong was fanciful alright!

“-Do you have any personality—other than the dark and mysterious part?
-I have lots of personality.
-Aloof? Foreboding?”

Along the way, Tess uplifting snark helping, SEP guides us into more familiar territory, humor and banter break through, the grouchy hero reveals cracks in his armor and all pieces of this incredible puzzle SEP has laid out for us start to come together. The somber feels from the beginning recedes only to let room for the most excruciating slow burn between Tess and Ian.
Or should I say Tess, Ian… and the rest of the town.

I love a small town setting so I wasn’t disappointed by all the side characters popping in here and there but I would have loved to see more development in the romance between Tess and Ian. ALONE. It needs acknowledging that this wasn’t a lovestory about two characters. The whole town is in on it!
The many intrusions from side characters played a good part in the almost intolerable tension growing between Tess and Ian, so when they finally get TOGETHER… the sense of gratification and the feeling of urgency that comes alive on the pages is reward enough.

I adored seeing the teens dropping by the house for their sex-ed talks with Tess, Ian in the background trying not to laugh. I loved how Tess, retired midwife was such a disturbance in this secluded small town, especially at her job at the Broken Chimney, serving coffees, ice cream, pies, refusing to sell cigarettes but advocating for condoms on the counter to the folklore of people of Tempest, Tennessee.

I absolutely loved Dance Away With Me, Susan Elizabeth Phillips offers here what every romance reader want: Laughter, tears and love… only a little backward. 😉

“Tess Hartsong was a woman who offered her heart too freely. The worst thing she could do would be to give it away to a man who couldn’t treasure it.
He intended to make sure that didn’t happen.”


Content Warning
grief, death, childbirth death.

Author Bio & Links

Susan Elizabeth Phillips is the creator of the sports romance, beginning with her 1989 bestseller, FANCY PANTS. An internationally acclaimed author, her books have been published in over 30 languages. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award, and a recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Susan’s newest book, DANCE AWAY WITH ME, will be published in hardcover in June 2020. She is also the highly acclaimed author of both the CHICAGO STARS football series and the Wynette, Texas books.

In addition to being a New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestseller, she is a hiker, lazy gardener, horrible singer, passable cook, passionate reader, wife, mother of two grown sons, and grandmother.

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