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The Dance by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

This is the first book of The Restoration Series written by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley. I love how these two gifted writers have come together to pen a story that touches the heart and has the power to change the heart. Redemption comes to the heart that is humble. Restoration comes to those who believe. Redemption and restoration grow a deep faith in the characters of this beautifully written story.

First I must share the cover says so very much. We see a woman with her arms crossed. She wants to dance so badly. She wants to love deeply, but she's afraid of more hurt and disappointment. She has tried for years to reach her husband, but he is unable to hear her cry for more. This is Marilyn.

Marilyn and Jim have been married for twenty-seven years. Something is missing. Something so very important. They appear to have it all. They have three grown children. One married with family. One planning a wedding and one still at home. The empty nest is about ready to hit and hit hard. This couple faces issues that many couples face today. They are growing apart. The spark that first ignited their relationship is fading. They are no longer dating, but have become roommates and not good ones at that. It's as though they both have their own lives, their own activities and as a married couple they just go through the motions.

Jim and Marilyn have lost communication with one another. Jim is success minded and has allowed his family to take the backseat to his career and his status in the community. He has always felt he was an attentive husband and a great dad. He provided for his family and has kept them safe and secure. He has been able to supply their every need. Almost. Jim has a hard time listening. He has a difficult time opening up and just having a conversation with his family. I think they would choose having him over all the stuff he has provided.

I see Marilyn as just wanting to be loved. She is desiring attention and intimacy. She is missing their connection. If Jim could just hear what she is saying, but it's like they are speaking two different languages. Marilyn decides it is time to leave and Jim is thrown for a loop. He has no idea that Marilyn has been unhappy. He seriously doesn't have a clue as to why she left.

This story is woven in the reality of life. It gives us a clear picture of the hurt that Marilyn is going through. During this separation we see Marilyn discover pieces of herself that have been missing for years. Jim uncovers a gentleness and a warmth that is surprising to him. We see the struggles and the pain during this period of growth. We get to see them learn the love languages of one another.

What I found interesting is the fact that they placed their children in the middle. They confided things with their children that they hadn't shared with one another. We too see how the church reacts to their separation. What I love about this book is the fact that it's so real. This could be any family in our world today. We get so busy and caught up in what we desire that we forget about those we love to much. Just as in this family. Jim and Marilyn just get stuck in a rut and they began to take one another for granted. They forgot to love. They misplaced all that was important for what they thought would bring them happiness. They forgot to dance.

I wish I could tell you more, but I don't want to give away the best part. The dance. This book is filled with beauty and the discovery of how important relationships are to us. We see God move in big ways. He brings people into their lives who touch them in a powerful way. Through unexpected relationships they learn how to have a relationship with one another. This book is beyond beautiful. This is one that gets a five star from me.

What a dance this was!

This book was a gift from Revell for sharing my review.

Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of several books, including The Discovery and The Reunion. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Gary Smalley is one of the country's best known authors and speakers on family relationships. He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of 16 books, along with several popular films and videos. He has spent over 30 years learning, teaching, and counseling, speaking to over 2 million people in live conferences. Smalley has appeared on national television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Extra, The Today Show, and The Sally Jessy Raphael Show, as well as numerous national radio programs. Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 40 years and live in Branson, Missouri. They have three children and six grandchildren.

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