The Dance
by Staci Layne Wilson, contemporary (2000)
Xlibris, $18.69, ISBN 0-7388-2656-1

If I am to give a one-word summary of The Dance, Staci Layne Wilson's debut inspirational contemporary romance (I know, what a mouthful), I'll say "charming". Of course, it doesn't sway from the Christian heroine teaching the strayed hero to believe and love again plot, but it is... well, charming.

Tamara Woods is a nice lady who could be the next The Horse Whisperer, being very good with horses that she is, but her philosophy of life is simple - take one day at a time and live according to her faith. Blake Jefferson is the bitter, jaded one. He lost his wife, blames God, and becomes the modern Ebenezer Scrooge. He works his horses into a frenzy to make more money for himself, and one day, when his horse experiences job burnout, he brings the horse to Tammy for therapy. He asks for her phone number, and from there onwards, love is in the air.

No, there's no high-flying horse-fixing crime ring to bust or murdered bookies to solve in The Dance. It's a simple, utterly, er, charming tale of people falling in love and overcoming the obstacles in the way of the happy ever after. Best of all, Tammy doesn't grate - she's not exactly one of those chirpy, irritatingly perky and guileless Pollyannas. Instead, she is a wonderfully kind and generous soul who clearly deserves her happy ending. Blake starts out a little bit wooden, but hey, he gets into the act soon enough.

And it's romantic. Right down to the simple but apt last sentence, The Dance manages to capture the mood of a courtship between two people made for each other just right.

Of course, I can pick on the slow pace or the plot (which isn't anything new), but I'm just too busy grinning to care. I'm charmed. This book is charming. And even that horse is charming.

Rating: 74

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