Official Review: Dancing at Midnight by Rebecca Yelland

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TeaAndSpooks
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Official Review: Dancing at Midnight by Rebecca Yelland

Post by TeaAndSpooks » 04 Mar 2016, 19:43

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Dancing at Midnight" by Rebecca Yelland.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Dancing at Midnight: The Life of June Parker is a beautifully written novel by Rebecca Yelland. Without hesitation, I give it 4 out of 4 stars. I could find no flaws in the writing, and the story itself is gripping and immersive. I was sucked in completely and lost myself in the memories of June's life as she recounts her memories as a child and adult during the Great Depression. Yelland has incredibly vivid powers of description. The setting is split between two stories, the first following Carolyn Graves in the ‘present day’, which is in the 1990’s, and the second is the journals of her mother, June Parker, which were written in the 1940’s.

This book will break your heart. Honestly, (and I am not one to readily admit such things) I cried like a small child several times and certain scenes made me grin like an idiot. I became so emotionally invested in the characters that I genuinely felt pain when they felt suffered, and I became giddy when they were happy. It is very rare for me to make such a connection to characters in a book. This can only attest to the author’s masterful skills as a writer. I am a rape survivor and have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Chronic Depression, so when reading June’s descent into insanity as she lost herself in her grief, I knew only too well how she felt. I think this enhanced my experience, and tethered me to the events taking place. Yelland managed to tap into that well of emotional trauma that all humans at some point in their lives, on some level, have experienced.

The main character is June, who is a sweet, caring and innocent girl that suffers greatly throughout the course of the novel. Carolyn is her estranged daughter, who has returned to her childhood home to put her recently deceased mother’s affairs in order. She finds June’s journals and discovers many shocking and horrific things about her mother’s past, and Carolyn ultimately finds peace and reconciliation by the end of the book. Each character in this story is very unique. Alice, June’s best friend, and is selfless, independent, and cunning. June’s childhood sweetheart, Jimmy, is loyal, protective and loving. Alice’s fiancé, Tom, is a generous, polite and caring man. June and Alice are both the victims of abuse, and in June’s case, rape. Carolyn has an anxiety disorder. These deeper aspects of the characters give them an extremely human quality, making it easier to relate and connect with them.

The fact that the author covers such heart-wrenching subjects such as death, depression, grief, rape, abuse, hope, adoption, reconciliation, and healing just goes to show how fearless and determined she is in weaving a realistic and very human story. The ending is bittersweet, and left me with a profound feeling of awe at the journey Yelland allowed me to experience through June and Carolyn. It was so real! The characters were so believable, their stories so haunting that I could not help but feel as if the events actually happened. It was incredible. I really loved the realism and the characters. I tried very hard to find something I disliked about this book, but I can honestly say that I found nothing. I love everything about it.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, romance, and ‘slice of life’ genres. If you are sensitive to dark subjects such as abuse and rape, I advise you to tread carefully. However, I will say that the author does not go into extensive details during these scenes, so for those of us who have suffered from similar traumas, it is less agonizing than if she had been graphic. For that, I am very grateful, and it helped me to enjoy the book more. Dancing at Midnight is truly an amazing book, and the author should be nothing but proud of such a beautiful masterpiece.

******
Dancing at Midnight
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Post by chytach18- » 06 Mar 2016, 06:41

What a wonderful review, TeaAndSpooks! How brave of you it is to connect this book to your own experiences. Well done for both of you!
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Post by ryelland » 06 Mar 2016, 14:27

Thank you for your gracious review. You have validated the emotions I wanted to express in June's story.

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Post by CCtheBrave » 08 Mar 2016, 00:16

great review, it must have been a really great (and emotional read). I like the cover, too.
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Post by kimmyschemy06 » 10 Mar 2016, 23:37

Sounds like a very interesting book with endearing and admirable characters. I agree with chytach18- that you are so brave 'to connect this book to your own experiences'. Great job on the review. Congratulations to Rebecca Yelland for such a well written book.

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Post by Scott » 14 Mar 2016, 11:46

Dancing at Midnight is today's Discount Book of the Day! :D

Congrats @ryelland :D

And great review @TeaAndSpooks :D
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Post by sadya » 15 Mar 2016, 05:05

Tea and Spooks, I think you are courageous for writing this review (and for other reasons too). Thank you for sharing both the review and why this book had an extra meaning for you. The story sounds interesting. And difficult pages could even be skipped in any book without missing too much of the plot. I love books where a mystery is unravelled, secrets of the past are discovered.

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Post by gali » 15 Mar 2016, 05:36

Great review! Thank you for sharing, and you are indeed brave. :tiphat:
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Post by bookowlie » 24 Mar 2016, 09:39

Wonderful, insightful review. You really highlighted the things that made the book special. Thanks for sharing your own story and why the book was so meaningful to you.
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Post by bluemel4 » 24 Mar 2016, 11:05

Beautifully written review. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal part of you and highlighting the books impact. Well done! I also love the colorful hair in your avatar.
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Post by TeaAndSpooks » 03 Aug 2016, 21:22

Wow, thank you guys so much for the positive response! :) And even the author commented, wow! I am truly honored!
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