The Dance Begins by Diane Chamberlain


Publishing year: 2015



This is a short prequel to the novel I am going to start today “Pretending to Dance”. I think that this is an introduction to the characters in the novel. It is set in Morrison Ridge, North Carolina, in 1982. The main character in this novella is Graham, who is a psychologist with multiple sclerosis, which means he has to move around on a scooter. Graham is married to Nora, who is a pharmacist, and they have a six-year-old daughter, Molly, who is very much her daddy’s girl.

The family live on a property in which members of Graham’s family live. There is his brother Trevor and his wife Toni, his sister Claudia and her husband Jim, his mother, and apart from them, there is Amalia, who lives in another house. I am not sure who Amalia is, but we later learn that when they were younger, she and Graham had a relationship, and it is clear that Graham still feels attracted to her. Amalia seems to be some kind of cleaner and she works for the whole family except for Graham and Nora.

The novel starts with Graham’s dream in which he and Molly dance together, something which he can’t do. That day Graham is taking Molly to the springhouse, which he and the others are turning into a playhouse. Graham goes on his scooter and Molly takes her bike. In the springhouse Trevor, Amalia and Jim are already there, and they have managed to install a sink and platforms for two twin beds. When Trevor and Jim go, Amalia tells Graham she is going to teach Molly to use her bike without stabilisers, and she does. Graham is proud and tells Molly to be careful and never try to ride her bike down the Hill of Hell. When Amalia goes, Graham keeps painting some of the windows while Molly rides her bike. Then to his horror he hears her scream, and when he finally gets to her, she is fallen on the ground when she tried to do what her father had advised against her. Graham calls an ambulance and the little girl is taken to the hospital where Nora, who Graham had also called is there. Molly has a broken arm. Graham fears that Nora must be angry because she was reluctant to take off Molly’s stabilisers, but Nora is okay, worried, but she knows that she can’t keep Molly wrapped in cotton wool.

A few days later Trevor calls on Graham when he and Molly are playing draughts. He tells him that he wants to show him something, so he takes him and Molly in his car. They stop next to the zip line that there is on the property. This is something that Graham has always loved, but since his disease hit him, he hasn’t been able to do it. Now Trevor tells him that he has altered the zip line with a hoist so Graham can go on it. Graham is excited and nervous, but then he has an idea. He wants to take Molly with him, and Trevor ties them together, and in the end they are pushed into the air, and it is like dancing… like in his dream.

Lovely little story. I am curious to see more about these characters and their relationships.


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