The Books of Summer: Week One

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.

The Books of Summer Collage

“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

Kim Wright

Kim Wright

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.

photo (12)

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.

* * *

unexpected waltz coverFrom the author of the critically acclaimed debut Love in Mid Air comes this moving novel about a middle-aged widow who finds her feet by embracing a new hobby: ballroom dancing.

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.

* * *

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

114 Responses to The Books of Summer: Week One

  1. Bonnie K. June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I love the Books of Summer giveaways. I love watching ballroom dancing; so, I know I will enjoy reading about learning the moves.

  2. Elisabeth June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    This looks like the perfect summer read! Excellent choice. I have read all of Sarah Jio’s novels and love them!

  3. Laurie I June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    The theme of “Midlife Reinvention” sounds interesting to me. It’s always nice to read about how people make choices later in life that redefine themselves, especially after devastating tragedy. Sounds like a great book.

  4. Laurie I June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Oh, I forgot. No…I haven’t read a Sarah Jio book as of yet, but want to read Goodnight June.

  5. Daniela June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I’ve loved all of Jio’s books, I believe my favorite would be Morning Glory, but Bungalow runs a very close race. Gee, I love them all and get completely engrossed in the characters lives.

  6. Katie @ Doing Dewey June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I’ve only read The Last Camelia, but I’d like to read more of her books :)

  7. Becky June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Would love to have the chance to own these books- thank you!

  8. Becky June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Sorry made a mistake on my email!

  9. BermudaOnion(Kathy) June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I’ve read one of Jio’s novels – Blackberry Winter.

  10. Ann Bresnan June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds great!

  11. Becca B June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    So far Blackberry Winter is my fave Sarah Jio book, but she makes it hard to pick!

  12. Renee June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Can’t wait to read these summer picks!

  13. Jeanne S. June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I haven’t read any of her books yet–looking forward to my first!

  14. Kim Wright June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Hi everyone, it’s Kim, the author of THE UNEXPECTED WALTZ checking in. I am so thrilled to be part of the She Reads “books of summer” selections! Thanks so Marybeth and Ariel and also thanks to you guys for giving me the chance to talk about my passion for ballroom dancing. It’s always so great when you can find something new in life that allows you to express all those hidden parts of your personality.

  15. Paula Dolin June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    This book sounds wonderful – I’d love to win!

  16. Brooke June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Bring on the summer and 5 books I can’t wait to read! Thank you She Reads!!!!

  17. Jamie June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I’m excited to read these 5 books! I’ve read Goodnight June, and have The Violets of March on my to-read list!

  18. Janet Kemper June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I’ve read all of Sarah Jio’s books. Recently finished Goodnight June and I loved it!

  19. Judie McDonald June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like some good summer stories.

  20. Lanalana June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Midlife reinvention touches us all!

  21. Tricia June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have not read any from these authors before so I am looking forward to discovering a new favorite. She Reads has such great suggestions.

  22. Susan Ashton June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I would love to read this book. It speaks to me at a recent widow in my 50’s looking for second chances.

  23. Emma @ Words And Peace June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have not. thanks for the giveaway and opportunity to read these books

  24. Malina June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Looks like a great list for summer.

  25. Tracy D. June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have not read a Sarah Jio book, yet, but I have several on my “to read” list.

  26. Beth Gillihan June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have not read any of her books. I will have to read one this summer.

  27. Donna Ingalls June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Blackberry Winter was my very favorite book

  28. Sally June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have started reading Goodnight June and it is great so far! I would love to win these books from some authors that are new to me!

  29. Donna Ingalls June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Summer reading list besides the Unespected Waltz?
    The Hurricane Sisters-Dorothea Benton Franks
    Save the Date- Mary Kay Andrews
    Frog Music-Emma Donoghue
    The Summer Wind- Mary Alice Monroe

  30. Jennifer Huelsebusch June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Next up for me is Emily Giffin’s The One & Only. I also have Karen White’s new book and I love to find “new to me” authors!

  31. Rhonda June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    A few on my list Casebook Mona Simpson China dolls lisa See secret life of Violet Grant.

  32. Dani June 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    All of these books look great. I hope to get around to reading all of them!! But first, I CAN’T WAIT to sink my teeth into Steven King’ s “Mr. Mercedes!!”

  33. Susan Gruener June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Ah…another great book! Thanks She Reads!

  34. Lisa Whitney June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like a new author on my TBR list!

  35. Leslie June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I’ve already started my summer reading. First up is Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews.

  36. Debbie D June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Would love to have all these books on my summer reading list! Love In Mid Air is in my TBR so maybe I will start by reading that.

  37. Janet R June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Just finished “The Deposit Slip” – it should be a movie! Looking through my Kindle downloads for the next one…

  38. Becky in Georgia June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Great review! I just picked up Bridget Jones Diary for a book club read and Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Deli sky. Just finished Apart at the Seams by Marie Bostwick

  39. Annette Herbst June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I have 119 books on my wishlist I am going to buy 25 of those today so please no visitors as I will be reading

  40. Lori Gardiner June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    On my list are any books by Karen White, Lee Child and The Book Thief.

  41. Raelynn June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I would like to read this book!

  42. Andrea Z. June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I just started That Summer by Lauren Willig and will be added all the books in the post to my list!

  43. Kimberly V June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Lauren Willig’s That Summer, Beatriz Williams’ The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Jane Green’s Tempting Fate, Emily Giffin’s One and Only to start…

  44. Carl June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Shockingly, I haven’t yet had a chance to read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. This summer will be the time. Thanks

  45. Carmen June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I devoured Kim Wright’s LOVE IN MID AIR so I cannot wait to read this one! Very generous giveaway. I already had three of these titles on my summer reading list. Happy to add more!

  46. GinaD June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I’m anxiously waiting for Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon, which will be out June 10th!

  47. Gwyn June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Wow, these are some great ideas for some books, thanks.

  48. Britney Adams June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I have so many wonderful books on my summer reading list! In addition to the She Reads selections, a few other books I am looking forward to are: A Woman of Fortune by Kellie Coates Gilbert, The Hatmaker’s Heart by Carla Stewart, and The Midwife by Jolina Petersheim.

  49. Kathy June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I am currently reading a novel by Karen Kingsbury but would enjoy the type of work by Kim Wright and her newest novel, The Unexpected Waltz. I love to read about how a person can make discoveries through a craft or in this case, a dance studio, that enhances their perspective and changes attitudes.

  50. Virginia Winfield June 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have so many. A few are woman of courage, a long time gone, mark of distinction, and sidetracked . That is only a small few. Would love to win these.

  51. JJT June 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks for the giveaway. I am so busy, I can rarely find time to re-read books.

  52. Susan Schleicher June 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Oh my gosh – so many. I need to read Catherine McKenzie, Sarah Jio. Bette Lee Crosby, Deanna Lynn Sletten, Stephen King, and on and on. So many wonderful books to get thru this summer. Thanks for the chance to add even more to my TBR list!

  53. Alice Simpson June 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    As a tango aficionado, I look forward to reading Kim Wright’s THE UNEXPECTED WALTZ.

  54. Kim Wright June 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Tango is my favorite also, Alice! Waltz just worked better in the story line. I hope you enjoy the book!

  55. Christine June 6, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Thank you so much for letting us know about these books. I LOVE TO READ ALL YEAR LONG! RI got now I’m reading THE DINNER – Hreman Koch. I can’t wait to start UNEXPECTED WALTZ. Thanks again.
    Christine

  56. Kim Wright June 6, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I hope you enjoy it, Chrustine!

  57. Nicole June 6, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This group of books would be an awesome start to my reading list! Also, Mary Alice Monroe’s new one.

  58. Nia June 7, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I left the comment in the wrong post!

    “I have plans to read about running this summer (Born to run, Eat and Run, and Thrive: Vegan Nutrition… ) However, if I win these books I’ll change my reading plans!”

  59. Michelle June 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I always the enjoy the books in the summer giveaway! This one looks great!

  60. Kerry June 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Looking forward to The Unexpected Waltz, a Long Time Gone, and Skin Game by Jim Butcher

  61. Kim Wright June 8, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks, Kerry! I hope you enjoy THE UNEXPECTED WALTZ!

  62. Renee June 8, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like the perfect book to kick-off summer!

  63. Kate I. June 10, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have far too many books on my summer reading list: Mr. Mercedes, The One & Only, The Book of Life, Written in My Heart’s Own Blood, I Am Pilgrim, and The Vacationers.

  64. Suzanne June 11, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Just finished The One and Only. Reading Blogger Girl now, and following that will be: Your Perfect Life, The Never Never Sisters, Catching Air, On Grace, Cure for the Common Breakup, and The Glass Kitchen!

  65. DinT June 11, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Graceful, Letting Go of Your Try-hard Life

  66. Sheri June 12, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I just finished Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers and it was fantastic!! I would love to read some of the ones on the Books of Summer list too!!

  67. Barb M June 12, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks so much for the chance to win all of these great books!

  68. Kandra June 12, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I would love to read some of the new books out there…Steven James’ latest and some more Camy Tang.

  69. lana June 16, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Love the books of summer give- away!

  70. Debra Woloson June 17, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    My TBR list is so long and out of control. I see something new & have to think do I have this already. The last three books from Sally Goldenbaum are next on my list. Thank you for the review and giveaway.

  71. susan June 18, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I loved The Silent Wife. Great read and very well written.

  72. Seaside Book Nook June 19, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have so many books on my list. I would love to put it in order of purchase date and make myself start with the oldest! I think that would be Hollys in box. Thanks for the giveaway.

  73. Amanda Beachum June 19, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have so much on my summer reading list! Let’s see, there’s Janet Evanovich, Written in my Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon, You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, the new one by Karen White, Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons, and a bunch of other stuff. So many books, so little time!

  74. Kathy Last June 19, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This is exciting! Some new authors to discover. I can’t wait to read these books!

  75. Christina Wedding June 20, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I hope to read I am Pilgrim this summer.

  76. Melinda June 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I’m looking forward to getting into the Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani. I know it has been out for a while, but I have yet to read it.

  77. Carol June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I love to read… any time
    Love to have new books to receive

  78. Karen June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I love Mary Beth Whalen’s books.

  79. triann June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I have a few books my daughter has enjoyed and is begging me to read…we’ll see how many I can get to! =)

  80. Theresa June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I WOULD LOVE TO WIN A COPY OF ANY /ALL OF THESE BOOKS!!!!

  81. michelle h June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    so much summer reading to do!

  82. marian June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Definitely planning to get this book. One way or another. LOL

  83. Debbie June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Hello! I absolutely love to receive She Reads, so I can find out what books are coming out…I would love to Win, The Bridge Tender, in addition to all the others! Thank you for the great reads!

  84. Joyce Elling June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This sounds like a great Summer read. I look forward to immersing myself in a great bok

  85. Carol June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    One of my greatest joys-a good book!

  86. Darlene June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Looks like an amazing selection of books. LOVE Mary Beth’s books.

  87. Wanda June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Waiting to read The BridgeTender and lots more New books coming out this summer.

  88. brooke June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    My to read list is ever growing as I can’t seem to get anything done… I just finished Sovereign Ground and am wanting to move to lighter reading for the next book. Thanks for the giveaway!
    !

  89. Brenda Klaassen June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Thank you for offering all five books as a give away! Your blog inspired me!

  90. Susan G. June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I can’t wait to read them all! I love to hop in bed at night and grab my book and read, and read, and read…
    Thanks She Reads!

  91. Linda Kish June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I don’t have a reading list. I read whatever looks good after I finish my current book.

  92. Velma Hunsucker June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I am a teacher, so I am on summer break. My TBR stack is huge. I have too many to list, but two of Denise Hildreth’s books are next in line. I have already read several books already.

  93. Lisa S June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I have 3 on my TBR list and am planning on reading The Glass Kitchen soon! These are great books that will definitely make the summer a better one!

  94. randi June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Wendy wax’s new one, The Hurricane Sisters, several Jojo Moyes, actually there are so many that I can’t think of them all!

  95. Susan C. June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    The Vacationer by E. Straub and A Long Time Gone by K. White + many, many more!

  96. Kathy June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I would enjoy reading The Last Waltz, as it sounds like a novel to stimulate me to try new hobbies and enjoy interacting with people. I love the relationship aspect that novel offers in showing a widow how to expand her horizons and embrace life fully.

  97. Betty Apsley June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    The Last Waltz sound really good. Am putting it on my to read list. Hope I win!

  98. Roxanne June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    These all look really good!

  99. Melanie June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Would love to read these books!

  100. Leica McGill June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Summer reads are the greatest. These all look good!

  101. Michelle Walsh June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This looks like o great book to read! It will definitely make my reading list!

  102. Beth June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Would love to win this book!

  103. Georgia Herod June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Each of these titles and summaries draw me to them. They are on my “to read” list.

  104. Kathy June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I love summer time so that I can have extra time to read. As a teacher, my time throughout the year is so full with lessons, grading, family, etc. I would love this collection of books to curl up and read!

  105. Linda June 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I would love to read your books. Thank you.

  106. Andea June 26, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I look forward to reading these books! Especially Bridge Tender.

  107. Andea June 26, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have two books so far on my reading list for this summer: Someone Else’s Love Story, by Joshilyn Jackson, and the Great Gatsby.

  108. Joy June 26, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    The Bridge Tender is definitely on my list of books to read this summer!

  109. Connie Saunders June 26, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    These books in this giveaway are going on my list and I am also looking forward to reading The Midwife. Thanks for this fantastic giveaway!

  110. Christine Clark June 26, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Wow a very nice giveaway. I would be so appreciative to win this!

  111. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories June 26, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This sounds like a book I would love. I am finishing up the Harry Potter series for our IRL book club with moms and kids. Then I hope to dive into The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress!

  112. Mary Hall June 26, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I always need new good books to read, would love to win.

  113. Renee Bastian June 28, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have new books by Mary Alice Monroe, Karen White and Pat Callahan Henry to read this summer I just need to find the time to get through them all. I look forward to adding the ones you have picked out. Thank you for all you do to provide us with great stories to read.

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