Book Review - Dancing at Midnight: the Life of June Parker by Rebecca Yelland
Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Historical, Romance
Summary: After the death of her mother Carolyn Graves returns to her childhood home to deal with her mother’s estate. As she does so, she discovers hidden journals. The journals reveal more than just her mother’s harrowing childhood, they reveal the secret behind her parents’ relationship.
So, this book got me. When I first started reading it, I thought to myself, yeah, I’ll read a chapter or two before I go to sleep. Not a chance. I couldn’t put it down and by the end, I was sitting there sobbing my face off. What an emotional roller coaster. The story is told in two time-periods, Carolyn’s present day (the 1990’s) and in the 1940’s as June looks back at her life and writes down everything that happened.
The thing that got me the most about this book, is how in the midst of everything horrible that was happening to June there were still rays of light that peeked through. It was a brilliant combination of heart-warming and heart-breaking. Moreover, I found this book a wonderful testament to that moment when you realize that your parents had lives beyond you, and to the tense relationships that can exist between mothers and daughters.
Though some really horrible things happen to June throughout her life, Rebecca doesn’t exploit them for effect, rather, she focuses on the emotional aftermath and how June deals with it. This was one aspect that I thought was particularly well-done; that these events were implied and well-understood, but never used for shock value.
My one thought of something that could be improved, was that I found myself with very little interest in Carolyn’s end of the story, and far more focused on June. The frame story could have been strengthened a little and I think it would have packed even more an emotional punch (though I shudder to think what I might have been like after that).
All-in-all, this book is easy to read, filled with relatable and well-rounded characters and one that will almost definitely break your heart.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes women’s fiction, romance but not necessarily with a happy ending, or who just likes an emotional book that will tug at their hearts strings.
If you want to buy this book, it can be found here.
If you want to know more about Rebecca Yelland check out the link below: