Suzie Carr's The Dance Is Breathtakingly Beautiful
A story of recovery from loss, nurtured by nature.
Suzie Carr (author of, amongst others, “The Muse” and “Sandcastles”), this time delivers a story of sudden loss and the slow process of recovery from that. Jacky runs a dog training school and is known locally as a dog whisperer. She lives with her teenage step-daughter, Sophie. Their relationship has become strained after harsh words said in anger on a fateful day have never been forgotten. Enter Brooke, a beekeeper and exponent of meditative podcasts, who has need of a dog trainer to help her tame the over-protective stray dog she took in. When Brooke and Jacky meet, it’s immediately apparent that there is a deep and loving connection possible between them, but Jacky’s guilt is standing in the way of them achieving that.
This book has some extraordinarily evocative passages in it. The character of Brooke believes profoundly in the healing power of nature, and that concept is explored by the author in the way Brooke nurtures Sophie and Jacky during their own journeys through grief, and their relationship with each other. That’s not to say that Brooke is only there to be a therapist to them—far from it. We learn about Brooke’s own fears and insecurities and we follow her path in learning to trust a potential partner again. The language Suzie Carr uses is at times gorgeous, flowing through the ideas of nature as nurturer, the life of a bee colony as a metaphor for a better human world, and having the faith to let go of the past without forgetting it and the people who played such a huge role in it. The knowledge of bees and their lifecycles, and their importance to the ecological balance of this planet and our lives, is presented throughout the book in a non-preaching but appropriately serious manner, and was fascinating to learn.
Whilst I found the start of the book a little confusing—lots of characters introduced very quickly in the first couple of chapters—and somehow not flowing too well to begin with, once we get into the meat of the story, it all clicks into place. The three main characters are very well written. Funnily enough, for me, the romance between Jacky and Brooke actually took second place to the story of Jacky and Sophie coming to terms with their new relationship. There were some very moving interactions between mother and step-daughter, and the pain and hurt each of them were experiencing was extremely well written, especially when more shocking truths are revealed in the last quarter of the book.
The romance between Jacky and Brooke is gentle, and therefore quite rightly gently explored—no scorching love scenes, and that’s absolutely perfect for this book. The pathway to love for these two women is strewn with obstacles of an emotional nature that can’t be trampled over with gratuitous sex scenes, and Suzie Carr pitches that just right. Although in some places the language of love came across as a little overblown, overall it’s a lovely book, and in places is breathtakingly beautiful in its composition.