Thursday 24 March 2016

Book Review: I Hope You Dance by Beth Moran

By Iola Goulton

Ruth Henderson has failed in life. Bad enough that she got accidentally pregnant at eighteen to someone who wasn’t the love of her life, but now Fraser has died and she’s had to sell their house and return to her small Nottinghamshire home town, and live with her parents. And she’s got a rebellious teenage daughter, Maggie, a mountain of debt, and a fifteen-year-old rift with her father.

Despite her low opinion of herself, Ruth is clever—a maths prodigy who grew up in a family of champion ballroom dancers, and who never felt accepted by anyone except next-door-neighbour David. Her only other childhood friend was Lois, who was even more of a social misfit than Ruth. So I Hope You Dance is the story of Ruth finding love and acceptance from family, from friends, and from herself.

I Hope You Dance is written in first person point of view, so we spend the whole novel inside Ruth’s head, which gives it more of a YA or British Chick-Lit feel rather than the traditional Christian romance some readers might be expecting. The Britishness also comes through in the Christian elements—lightweight and more told through the subtext than in-your-face preachy (an unfortunate tendency of some US Christian novels).

It’s definitely more women’s fiction than romance, as the focus of the novel is on Beth’s personal growth (in an understated British way) than on the romance. Although there is a little romance . . . although that goes very wrong before it goes right, and adds an unexpected element of suspense to the novel.

I Hope You Dance is Beth Moran’s second novel. I thought her first, Making Marion, was excellent and I Hope You Dance is at least as good. Possibly better. Recommended.

You can find out more about Beth Moran at her website (, and you can read the beginning of I Hope You Dance here:

Thanks to Lion Fiction and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Iola Goulton

I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction, and you can find out more about my services at my website (, or follow me on Facebook (, Twitter (@IolaGoulton) or Pinterest (


  1. I just finished the first one. I liked it but as you said, 'nice' but I wouldn't call it 'Christian' - only about 2 mentions of church. Positive mentions but nothing beyond that

    1. I've seen Lion Hudson (the publisher) say their British readers aren't interested in reading overt Christian novels with conversion scenes, so their books aren't going to appeal to everyone.

      It's always worth reading books from a publisher you might be interested in publishing with, to see what kind of books they (and their readers) are interested in.


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