Ana Brassfield knows she’ll never be a prima ballerina. Instead, she focuses on goals within her reach, like dancing at the Metropolitan Opera House and her pending wedding to landscape architect, Peter Engberg. When renowned German dancer Claus Gert, the man who shattered her heart years earlier, arrives in Georgia determined to win her back, her carefully laid-out plans crumble. Especially after Peter, witnesses a kiss between Ana and Claus.
Her engagement now broken, Ana moves to Germany to live with Claus and hopefully salvage her remaining dream — dancing at the Met. Burdened by the memory of Claus’ late wife, her still burning feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company could prove to be Ana’s undoing as she begins to discover that achieving everything she dreamed of might not provide the happiness she longs for.
In A Season to Dance, Patricia Beal pens a story of forgiveness and second chances that left me extremely conflicted. The author possesses a unique and captivating voice that keeps the reader flipping pages. Beal brings the ballet scenes to life in an exquisite manner that has everyone who ever dreamed of being a ballerina living vicariously through Ana. The vivid setting, which isn’t limited to one city or continent, comes to life like a colorful set that invites the reader to step in and experience it for him/herself. I just wish I could have liked the characters.
Ana comes across as selfish and wishy-washy. The way she flitted back and forth between Peter and Claus had me questioning the sincerity of her feelings. She would drop one and pick up the other within 24 hours, making it look more like fear of being alone than real love. Sadly, the men weren’t any better. While Peter’s decision to break off the engagement after observing the kiss between his fiancée and Claus made sense, his consequent actions should have been a major red flag for Ana. Marriage to a man who responds the way he did to being hurt, is only going to bring more pain and trouble in the long run. As far as Claus, I don’t want to give away spoilers, but he proved equally disappointing. This novel is one of those rare times I would have preferred no romantic pairing in the end. Ana needed to find herself first — without a man.
The faith thread also lacked strength. It felt like something Ana picked up simply because it fell in her lap multiple times rather than a sincere interest and belief. Even by the end, her faith only appeared when convenient around her busy life and not as a priority. This being said, I liked the conversation between Ana and a woman on a bench because the author didn’t shrink from asking some tough questions — ones that many, if not all of us, have struggled with at one point or another.
Ultimately, if you love ballet and want a read that offers memorable settings and a fresh voice, A Season to Dance could be just the ticket. However, if you’re looking for an inspiring romance, I wouldn’t recommend this book.
Review copy provided by the author. Thanks!