When I saw Susan’s review of A Season to Dance by Patrica Beal, I wasn’t sure if I’d be interested in the story. But I was touched by the author’s testimony of how she became a Christian during the course of writing the book. So when I saw the ebook on sale for the Kindle app, I decided to give it a try.
In this novel, Ana Brassfield is a ballerina with dreams of dancing at the Met one day. She’s happy in her relationship with landscape architect Peter. But her old boyfriend, Claus, is in town to dance Romeo to her Juliet. Ana is conflicted because she never knew why Claus left ten years ago. And though she doesn’t want to be, she finds herself still attracted to Claus.
But a betrayal ends her relationship with Peter and sends her traveling to Germany. New challenges and relationships rise and fall. A chance meeting with another American and a tract lead to Ana reading the Bible, but she doesn’t understand most of it.
Many people live like Ana, pursuing dreams and relationships only to find that nothing satisfies. One of the things Ana pursues are men. In this book she is torn between two, but a side comment reveals “for years and years, I’d kept looking for that first-love magic. Forever looking—from bed to bed—but never finding it.” Since a lot of people do live this way, I didn’t have a problem with that part of Ana’s journey being mentioned. If someone’s main problem was theft, we’d see them stealing. Like the woman at the well in John 4, Ana’s main temptation was men. Still, I could have used less mention of it. Thankfully there were no explicit scenes. I don’t read many romances, so statements about how someone’s kisses taste and phrases like “nibbling my wet lips with a sigh” kind of make me cringe.
Aside from that aspect, though, I was touched by Ana’s journey. Patrica writes how she came to know the Lord while writing this book here. I appreciated that Ana’s spiritual experience was a gradual one, with understanding coming in bits, and willingness coming a little later. I think it’s that way for most people rather than one sudden flash. And I really liked that the author was clear about salvation. I know every Christian book doesn’t have to contain the plan of salvation, and there are times a more subtle message is appropriate. But sometimes when authors try hard not to spell out what salvation and conversion involve, they make it unclear and confusing.
Like Ana, the author danced ballet and lived in both Georgia and Germany, so her writing is enhanced by those experiences. I don’t know much about ballet, and I enjoyed a peek into that world. One aspect I particularly liked was that Ana’s fiance worked at Calloway Gardens in GA, one of my favorite places from the few short years we lived near Atlanta.
One of the characters contracts Huntington’s disease, and the author described the heartbreak of that illness and its effects in a realistic way.
If it weren’t for the heavy sexual aspect of this book, I’d have no problem recommending it. As I said, it’s not explicit, but it’s mentioned quite a bit. I think that part of Ana’s life could have been conveyed with a lot less information. But I loved Ana’s gradual transformation and growth.