mercoledì 6 aprile 2016

Review & Giveaway: Like I Used To Dance by Barbara Frances

Like I Used To Dance
by Barbara Frances


GENRE: Fiction



“Oh, Grace, our kids,” laughed Bud. “Where did we go wrong? One marries God, another a Jew and the last one, the devil!”

Texas, 1951. The Wolanskis—Grace, Bud and their three grown children—are a close-knit clan, deeply rooted in their rural community and traditional faith. On their orderly farm, life seems good and tomorrow always holds promise.

But under the surface, it’s a different story. Grace is beset by dark memories and nameless fears that she keeps secret even from Bud. Their son Andy has said no to becoming a farmer like his dad and, worse, fallen in love with a big-city Jewish girl. Youngest child Regina is trapped in a loveless marriage to an abusive, alcoholic husband. Even “perfect” daughter Angela’s decision to become a nun takes an unforeseen turn.

And then Ceil Dollard breezes into town.

Ceil—wealthy, sophisticated, irrepressible—is like a visitor from Mars. She’s a modern woman. She drives a car and wears pants. She blows away tradition and certainty, forcing Grace to face her fears and brave a changing world. Through Ceil, Grace learns about courage and freedom—but at the risk of losing Bud.

Barbara Frances’ sparkling, richly human novel takes you back to a time when Ike was president and life was slower, but people were the same as now. You’ll encounter a cast of characters storm-tossed by change, held together by love. Written with compassion, humor and suspense, Like I Used to Dance will charm you, warm you and even squeeze a few tears, from its opening number to the last waltz.


My Review:

It 's a very interesting book, a brilliant  family saga rich of emotions set in Texas in the 1950's.
Grace and Bud have a happy marriage and two wonderful daughters and an amazing son, a simple life in a small rural town. As children get older, life becomes more complicated and not always the parents share their choices. A daughter wants to become a nun and her sister would like to divorce an abusive husband (but she is grew up in a Catholic family). The son is about to marry a Jewish girl. When in town comes Ceil, their life is completely changed. She is an independent woman, modern and Grace is dragging with her and away from Bud.
This was a wonderfully written romance which I enjoyed very much. It was really enjoyable to discover the traditions, the culture, the life of every day in a quiet Texas town in those years. The descriptions are so bright, vivid that it seems to be really there, warmed by the hot Texas sun. The style is simple, very engaging, often rich of humor. The plot is well developed, the stories of the various characters are perfectly woven. A real treat.
I recommend it to those who love romance and family sagas



Cecelia had hopped the freight train in the middle of the night with the intention of riding all the way to California, a place too far to be found. It stopped in San Antonio so that the car she was in could be loaded with baled cotton. When the door rolled open two men in dirty railroad clothes tried to grab her. “You good-for-nothin’ little bitch, wait till we get hold of you.”

She dodged one, then the other and leapt off. They chased after her a hundred yards or so. Her long legs soon left them far behind. Once she stopped to catch her breath, she didn’t know what to do next.  She was no more than a hundred miles from where she’d started, the place she refused to call home. She’d die before going back. Her only option was to wait and hop another train the following night. With only the nine dollars and thirty-seven cents she’d stolen from her mother’s purse, she was aware she might starve to death before getting out of Texas.

The eastern horizon blushed in pink just as Nelda walked towards her apartment after the night shift at the hospital. Grieving over her husband’s death due to influenza, she wasn’t paying attention to the morning sky or the sidewalk around her. Cecelia was dozing in a darkened doorway. A heel jabbed into her left calf.  Terrified that the men had found her, she jerked back her legs and hopped up, ready to run or defend herself. She saw a woman as tall as she, only older, staring back at her in confusion. Finally in a soft voice, the woman said,

“I’m sorry.  Did I hurt you?” These words, spoken so kindly and with so much concern, cracked a shield within Cecelia. A long wailing cry that she could no longer muffle came out in breaking staccatos. A far-off train whistle mimicked the desperate sounds.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Barbara Frances has plenty of stories and a life spent acquiring them. Growing up Catholic on a small Texas farm, her childhood ambition was to become a nun. In ninth grade she entered a boarding school in Our Lady of the Lake Convent as an aspirant, the first of several steps before taking vows. The Sisters were disappointed, however, when she passed up the habit for the University of North Texas, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and Theater Arts.

Her professors were similarly disappointed when she passed up a postgraduate degree to become a stewardess for American Airlines. Barbara, however, never looked back. “In the Sixties, a stewardess was a glamorous occupation.” Some highlights include an evening on the town with Chuck Berry and “opening the bar” for a planeload of young privates on their way to Vietnam.

Barbara eventually returned to Texas and settled down. Marriage, children, school teaching and divorce distracted her from storytelling, but one summer she and a friend coauthored a screenplay. “I never had such fun! I come from a family of storytellers. Relatives would come over and after dinner everyone would tell tales. Sometimes they were even true.”

The next summer Barbara wrote a screenplay on her own. Others followed, including Two Women, a finalist in the 1990 Austin Screenwriters Festival. Three more were optioned: Silent Crossing, The Anniversary and Sojourner Truth. Barbara left teaching and continued to work on her screenplays. In 1992, exhausted by endless rewrites she did something many screenwriters threaten but few carry out. She turned down an option renewal, done forever with writing—or so she thought.

It was not to be. One day a friend’s child found and read Lottie’s Adventure, her script for a children’s movie. At her young fan’s urging, Barbara turned it into a book, published by Positive Imaging, LLC, her husband Bill’s press. For Like I Used to Dance Barbara drew upon childhood memories and “front porch stories.” Her next novel, Shadow’s Way, is a “Southern Gothic tale” about  a woman caught in the struggle to keep her beloved plantation home from a scheming archbishop.

Barbara and her husband Bill Benitez live in Austin, Texas. She can be reached at:

Blog and purchase link:


Barbara Frances will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

9 commenti:

  1. Really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

  2. Intriguing cover. Did you get to pick it?

  3. This sounds absolutely amazing, I can't wait to read it! Thanks for sharing and introducing me to an author :)

  4. I liked the excerpt, thank you.

  5. Great excerpt and review quit interesting thank you...

  6. Interesting book. Nice Review.

  7. Sounds like a great read, thank you for sharing!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...