How do I love thee, SEP? Let me count the ways.
If we’re talking her books, there are 23 big reasons – each and every one of her titles.
I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite. I love them all. Yes, some more than others, but as I’ve said to many a reader, SEP’s worst book is still generally head and shoulders above most other writers’ best book.
Who can ever forget Molly & Kevin? Or Gracie & Bobby Tom? Or Kenny and Lady Emma? Or…? Or…? Or…?
Yeah, I’m a fan. A superfan.
I’m very happy to say her recent release, DANCE AWAY WITH ME, doesn’t disappoint.
Heartsick and tired, midwife Tess Hartsong runs away to a small cabin in the mountains of Tennessee, outside the tiny town of Runaway Mountain. Determined to keep to herself, she finds her plans foiled when a young, gorgeous, pregnant neighbor is equally determined to befriend her, much to the annoyance of Ian North, the famous street artist who lives with her.
Unfortunately for Tess, she can’t seem to help weaving herself into the fabric of the town. She becomes the go-to barista; the unofficial sex ed teacher for the town’s curious teens; and the de facto mother to an orphaned baby.
As her life becomes more and more entwined with the town, the baby, and Ian North, Tess realizes her heart is at risk for being wounded even more than it was by the grief that sent her to Tennessee.
In DANCE AWAY WITH ME, SEP does what she does best. She introduces us to a character who’s at a dark point in life, and lets us watch as she rediscovers her true self and, through courage and authenticity reimagines herself into a new life filled with everything she ever wanted, whether she knew it or not.
In a sea of great characters from SEP, Tess is a special one. I love her sassiness, her near-inability to speak her mind. I love how she stands up for women – even for ones who don’t appreciate her at all.
I love how fierce she is for the people she loves, and how that group expands more and more. I love how she starts out heart-broken and wounded, not sure where she she’s going to go, but returns to her passions—women’s health, sexual health and education—and drives the town to her point of view.
Along the way, she finds love with a man who doesn’t believe he’s capable of it, and she fights for the right to truly be the mother of a baby who needed one.
SEP is always worth a read (and generally a reread, every-so-often). This one will have a special place on my shelf. It’s a lovely book with (no surprise!) a great cast of characters.
If you haven’t read it yet, you really, really should! xo
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)