Today’s post by Kim Wright | @Kim_Wright_W
We are delighted to introduce you to Kim Wright, author of THE UNEXPECTED WALTZ, and the first author in our Books of Summer Series. Not only do we have a copy of Kim’s novel up for grabs today, but the other four novels in our series as well. See the entry form below.
“Personally, I blame Cinderella,” Elyse says. “Or maybe Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Between those two, there isn’t a woman alive in America today who doesn’t believe her whole life would be transformed if she could just find the right pair of shoes.” — THE UNEXPECTED WALTZ
It seems like almost all women have some part of us that is in shadow – a girlhood dream deferred, a hobby we don’t have time to pursue, some bolder, brighter persona that we sense lies just beneath our everyday selves.
In THE UNEXPECTED WALTZ, Kelly Wilder is 52 and has been suddenly widowed. Her late husband has left her with plenty of money and a beautiful home, but Kelly has way too much time on her hands. Even though she tries to fill her days with good works, such as volunteering at the local hospice, she knows there has to be more to life.
One day Kelly accidentally steals an apple from the local grocery and while in the process of trying to return to pay for it – yep, she’s that much of a good girl – she stumbles into the dance studio beside the grocery. Here she finds everything that’s been missing from her life, such as music, new friends, joy, and self expression. To reap all the awards that ballroom dance can bring, she’s going to have to come out of her shell and take a few risks, including the risks that always come when you try something new. For a perfectionist and control freak like Kelly, just the notion of looking foolish is paralyzing.
But then… she gets a glimpse of the shoes. Those beautiful, impractical, glamorous ballroom dance shoes with their high heels, suede bottoms and jeweled toes. Somehow she knows that if she straps them on they will lead her, step by step, into a whole new life.
Along the way of her journey, Kelly finds lots of support: Nik, her young Russian instructor, who has a stern but sweet approach to their lessons, not to mention plenty of problems of his own. Elyse, her longtime best friend who knows all Kelly’s secrets, including the past heartbreak that’s still undermining her confidence. Carolina, a hospice patient who somehow finds a way to appreciate every moment of life and who challenges Kelly to do the same. And of course there are her wacky fellow dancers at the studio, who have all been led to the ballroom by their own needs and desires.
My favorite theme as a writer is midlife reinvention. I see magic in second chances, and my characters often find themselves having/getting to start over again, just when they thought their lives were set. I love the possibilities which arise when women are willing to step away from the safe and familiar and …it all starts with the shoes.
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Kelly Wilder becomes recently widowed from a much older wealthy man with whom she spent her married life doing charity work, building a lovely home, and, as she says, “pretending to be a whole lot more conservative and stupid and nicer than I really am.”
Now, with too much time and money on her hands, Kelly has absolutely no idea what happens next. So on a whim she signs up for a ballroom dancing class, and slowly, step by high-heeled step, begins to rebuild her life with the help of friends old and new: Nik, a young Russian dance teacher who sees the artistic potential she left behind; Carolina, a woman in hospice, anxious to experience a whole lifetime in a few months; and Elyse, Kelly’s girlhood best friend who knows all of her past secrets—including the truth about the man who long ago broke Kelly’s heart.
In the vein of Jennifer Weiner’s novels, Unexpected Waltz is a deeply felt story about moving on after loss and finding a new walk—or dance—of life through the power of second chances.
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