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Dance Away with Me

A Novel
Narrated by: Nicole Poole
Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: Romance, Contemporary
4.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

At long last, the legendary New York Times best-selling 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?

©2020 Susan Elizabeth Phillips (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another hit for Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I’ve read all of her books and was so happy to have her publish another book. I’ve loved all her stories and trusted her talent to provide her readers with something well worth investing our time and money. Her characters are believable and sympathetic, her plotting impeccable. I hope there will be more from Susan in the near future.

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  • Karen K
  • 2020-06-10

Excellent performance reminds me of Anna Fields

I enjoyed this book. It is a typical Susan Elizabeth Phillips romance. I always enjoy SEP's witty snark, humor, and characters. There was only really one surprise in the book, but it wasn't a far leap of credulity.

A narrator, though, can make or break an audio book. Nicole Poole did a spectacular job in the flavor of the late Anna Fields (who narrated SEP's early novels). I have a feeling I will be looking to see what other audio books Ms. Poole has narrated....

17 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 2020-06-12

Great story!

Love Susan Elizabeth Phillips! Her story telling and humor are the best! Do yourself a favor and read all of her books!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-06-10

Thank you SEP!

Thank you for giving me the gift of another one of your stories! You never disappoint.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Karen
  • 2020-06-15

Disappointed by a great author

I have all her books and read them each at least four times. This was lame and the characters not that likable. Had to struggle to finish.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Betsy
  • 2020-06-15

Not for me

Poor attempt at making characters look like they love each other through Disrespectful behavior and past resentments

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2020-06-15

Loved this

I'm a big fan of SEP and this is such fun, a bit of a departure but filled with great characters, both main and minor. The reader added a lot.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ming
  • 2020-06-14

Timely

Great story and memorable characters. I'm from Maryville, TN and I've met some of the personalities in the story. With recent feminism news and concerns, Tess Hartsong is a relatable protagonist.

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  • Jeanette Finan
  • 2020-06-13

!

I have been a Susan Elizabeth Phillips fan sor a long, long time. Her books Have always been much anticipated and have been an automatic purchase on day of release since I picked up Nobody’s Baby but Mine on impulse when it was released.

Therefore I just could not believe it when I eagerly started reading Come Dance with Me and quickly discovered that there was not one single character except for the baby that I cared what happened to. The writing was as always excellent the characters that left me cold. It was just not my kind of book.. Sorry Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

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  • T. Whimp
  • 2020-06-10

Great novel <br />

Great novel by a wonderful author, the narrator is also very good, all and all 5 stars!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kimberly
  • 2020-06-17

Dance away without me...

I seem to be an outlier as far as the ratings and reviews go, most here and on Goodreads are 4 and 5 stars. I don’t know. I wonder how many readers/listeners gave extra stars because the author is likable and most of her books are so enjoyable. I know I was guilty of that for her last two books.

Setting: East Tennessee Contemporary
Genre: Romance
Tess Hartsong is still so grief stricken (and angry) 2 years after losing her husband, that she pulled up stakes on her home and career in Milwaukee to move into an old house she bought sight-unseen on Runaway Mountain, right outside Tempest, a small town (pop. 800+) in East Tennessee. She is grieving so much that she does stupid stuff like dance mostly naked in the rain — in February — to music loud enough to disturb her neighbor. Oh, and she gets a job at a coffee house in the town for minimum wage. Despite being a certified nurse midwife. (That basic description sort of reminds me of How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper, which is about a woman who high-tails it out of Mississippi to the tiny town of Grundy, Alaska where she gets a job in a local saloon. Despite being a CPA. Only it’s funny.). So right off I’m thinking, how is this going to be a romance? Is Tess going to wake up one day and decide that, boom! she’s all done grieving? At least done enough to get laid?
Ian North is the cranky neighbor. He lives up the hill in the renovated schoolhouse with the sweet and very pregnant Bianca. He is a world-famous street artist. He is cranky because he is tired of taking care of Bianca’s problems, plus he has whatever the painter’s equivalent of writer’s block is. Yes, he is a typical brooding artist. He left Manhattan to live on Runaway Mountain because everyone wanted a piece of him, or at least some of the fortune he had inherited from the man who had supposedly disinherited him.
Bianca is a very beautiful former model, presently a window dresser. She is also a bit of a flake. She is the “wood sprite” mentioned in the blurb. Besides the teenagers looking for answers their abstinence-only health class doesn’t provide, Bianca is the only likable character in the first half of the book. Also, she is apparently the only local friend Tess has.
Then Bianca leaves the story about 30% in, right after she has her baby (sorry, not giving out spoilers - yet). But before that, while in labor and hysterical, she extracted a promise from Tess to take care of the baby “because he won’t care”. So when baby Wren is discharged, Tess takes her home where she discovers that her furnace is deader than Elvis and it’s going to take weeks to get a new one. So Tess and Wren move in with Ian. For the next 45 minutes or so, Tess is trying to get Ian to participate in the baby’s care. It’s a little past this point that I DNF’d it. These people shouldn’t have been aiming for a happily ever after. Both of them should have been seeking serious mental health interventions.
The narration by Nicole Poole is good. Almost Anna Fields good

STOP!
There are spoilers in the rest of this review. Some would call it nitpicking. Maybe so, but they’re spoiler-y nits.

1. The schoolhouse and a derelict church even further away is up the side of the mountain. Above the town. Why? Even if people historically lived up in the hollows, sites used by the community at large would more likely be in the valley below. Think about Cades Cove, which is a preserved settlement from before the Smoky Mountains National Park was established. The schoolhouse and church in this book would be more likely to be in the valley.
2. I have a problem with the whole baby delivery thing.. Tess diagnoses Bianca with amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) and says she wouldn’t survive without surgery. Well, the only “surgery” required in this case would be a tracheotomy to treat the anaphylactic reaction, which Tess could have done. All other treatment for AFE is supportive. Bianca died, not because she couldn’t get some major surgery, but because Tess didn’t have the drugs necessary to stop the bleeding, support the blood pressure, and deal with the allergic reaction.
3. And the premature baby. For hours between her birth and when the National Guard arrived on the mountain in the helicopter (where did it land?) to take her to the hospital, the only treatment the baby got was skin-to-skin (kangaroo care). No fluids, no oxygen. At the hospital she weighed 4lb 3oz. That is one teeny tiny baby! (I wonder what her APGAR score was. Seems like Tess would have thought to do that.) My son weighed 4lb 12oz and he was quite tiny. Anyway, after a week on IV fluids and oxygen, the baby (whom Tess named Wren) was discharged. WHAT!?! She should have been there for at least 2 weeks, and more should have happened besides Tess providing Kangaroo Care
4. Tess’ trauma. Delivering Bianca’s baby was apparently soooo traumatic that Tess has decided that she will never work with another pregnant woman again. Really? I don’t remember if the book mentioned how long she had been a nurse midwife, but she would have started her career as a regular registered nurse. I was trying to think of an area of nursing where you would never run into some sort of emergency. Nope. Unless you’re working with an insurance company or lawyer reading charts... in fact, it’s easier to think of where in nursing you would likely see tragic outcomes. The area of nursing most likely to have tragedies would have to be obstetrics. There is no chance Tess has not seen a high risk pregnancy at some point.
5. The furnace. Okay, SEP needed to do something to push Tess and Wren into Ian’s house, but she sure picked a far fetched way to do it. I could see having to wait weeks for a *part* for the furnace. But a whole heater? Puh-leeez. Ever had a furnace replaced? I ordered an entire HVAC one day and it was installed the next. And who the heck was Ian that he took it upon himself to order a major improvement for her home? And why did she not object? Where was her backbone?
6. Tess walks the edge of being verbally abusive. At one point she calls Wren “a little shit”, and she tells Ian that she hates her — while she’s holding her. I know, the kid isn’t going to understand at that age, but it puts a negative light on Tess’ character.
7. Both the h/H are seriously angry. Maybe therapy comes up at some point (you know, after I DNF’d it), but they needed it throughout.
As an aside, I have a hard time believing SEP has spent any time in East Tennessee.

2 people found this helpful