Publication year: 2008
This new book starts with Angelica, a professional dancer, who returns to her home town to give ballroom classes. Then we get to know the people attending those classes.
The first couple is Katie and Ross Parkinson. They are married couple who have two children, four-year-old Hannah, and two-year-old Jack. What is peculiar about this married couple is that Katie is the breadwinner and Ross is a stay-at-home dad. They decided that since Katie earned much more than he did that he would be the one to look after the children. The arrangement has not been successful as the couple is having problems and are even visiting a marriage counsellor. Katie complains that her husband doesn’t make her work easier as when she returns home, she finds the house untidy and the children still up. She even admits to herself that she doesn’t feel attracted to her husband any longer as she feels her manliness has gone. Ross simply complains that she invests too much effort and time in her job, and doesn’t spend enough time with him and the children. I have to say that I find Katie so unlikable. She is always complaining and is mean to Ross continuously. She is such a sourpuss and is always worried about money. I understand that money is important when you have a family, but I have the impression that she doesn’t share those worries with Ross, or maybe he is happy to let her shoulder those responsibilities.
Katie has a friend Jo, who she met in antenatal classes. Jo also has two children of similar ages to Hannah’s and Jack’s, but Katie is jealous of how Jo’s family dynamics is so different to her own. Jo is a stay-at-home mum while her husband Greg brings the dough home. I don’t like how Katie admires Greg’s physique and ambition while in her mind she disparages her husband so much. I have a feeling that Katie wouldn’t like to be at home with her children alll the time, and if that were the situation, she would also complain. SHe is also jealous because Ross seems to get on with Jo better as they see each other more when taking and collecting the children from school. The problem is that Katie is not jealous of the attention her husband pays Jo, but of the attention Jo pays her husband instead of her. I am afraid that this is getting dangerous, especially as Katie has already given up on her marriage and doesn’t make much of an effort to appreciate the good things in her husband. I hope that this couple sort out things even if I don’t like Katie at all.
The ballroom classes are the hobby the counsellor told them to start doing together so that they can share something other than the children. The problem is that Katie is too competitive and thinks that she needs to be perfect. She is even sour when Angelica points out her mistakes. What she hasn’t grasped yet is that she is there to have fun, and not to win a prize. The other problem is that she has invited Greg and Jo to join them, and I think that is a mistake, which will create problems, I’m sure.
The other people in the group are Lauren and her fiancé Chris, and her mother Bridget and her father Frank. Lauren is now preparing her wedding, and the problem is that she is letting her future mother-in-law decide some of things. Lauren is getting carried away by Irene’s enthusiasm and crazy ideas. The problem is that Irene is a widow; her husband died just a couple of years ago, and she has no problems in bringing up her widowhood, which makes Lauren pity her. Bridget is outraged by the ideas that her daughter has for her wedding; Lauren and Irene have been talking about a wedding theme, and they are deciding between Cinderella or Snow White, and what that involves is really extravagant and over the top. This is what Bridget thinks, especially as she and her husband are paying for the wedding. Bridget is torn. She wants Lauren to have her dream wedding, but at the same time she wants her to realise that the vows are more important than all the frills that she wants to add.
In the ballroom classes Bridget, who has always been a bit clumsy, realises that her fiancé is even worse, and they are by far the worst dancing couple there. Frank and Bridget are enjoying the time there, and Frank seems to be a natural.
I am already enjoying the book. I love stories about families and problems, and even though I love a good tragedy, I like it too when the tone is kinder and lighter.