Today I have a review of Waltz in Swing Time by Jill Caugherty. A big thank you to the author for the gifted copy.
Pictured are floating camellias from my yard. My maternal grandmother would float one or more of these from her camellia bush each day when they were blooming. They were the same color, too, which makes me so happy.
Irene grows up in Utah playing the piano during the Great Depression. Her family is strict, and unfortunately, endures a tragedy. Irene never loses sight of her musical dreams.
Later on, Irene’s brother’s wife begins musically coaching her, all the way to leading roles. Irene’s mother is not a fan and thinks she should settle down and get married.
Irene performs at Zion National Park (a place I would love to see!) and meets Spike who might be her way out of Utah, but then she must leave her family behind.
The story is told in two timelines: the 1930s and much later when Irene is living in a nursing home.
From the beginning, everything about this story felt true and genuine. I learned later that it was inspired by the author’s grandmother, and it made me love this story even more. Irene is such a strong character, so inspiring. This is also a beautiful story of mothers and daughters and finding one’s own way.
Jill Caugherty reached out to me and let me know she’s a North Carolina author. I am so grateful she did because I never would have wanted to miss this story. The writing is smooth and reads like a dream. Irene’s character is so engaging, you fall right into her life right alongside her. If you enjoy historical fiction and/or coming-of-age stories full of heart, you will definitely want to have Waltz in Swing Time on your TBR.
I received a gifted copy.
About the Book:
Growing up in a strict Utah farm family during the Great Depression, Irene Larsen copes with her family’s hardship by playing piano. Even after an unthinkable tragedy strikes, Irene clings to her dream of becoming a musician. When a neighbor’s farm is foreclosed, Irene’s brother marries the neighbor’s daughter, who moves in with the Larsens and coaches Irene into winning leading roles in musicals. Clashing with her mother, who dismisses her ambition as a waste of time and urges her to become a farmer’s wife, Irene leaves home.
During a summer gig at Zion National Park, where Irene sings in a variety show for Depression-weary tourists, she meets professional dancer Spike, a maverick who might be her ticket to a musical career. But ultimately she must decide whether pursuing her dream justifies its steep price: losing her home and family.
Alternating between Irene’s ninetieth year in 2006 at an assisted living home and her coming-of-age in the thirties, Waltz in Swing Time is a poignant tale of mother-daughter relationships, finding hope amidst loss, and forging an independent path, against all odds.