Grace A. Johnson
Review: A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano
#1 This is a long review, so pull up a chair and grab a bowl of popcorn. You’ll be here awhile. #2 When I read a review, I want substantial information. So I will not skimp on the details. Which may mean some spoilers, so watch out.
You know how there are some books that, when you turn the final page and walk away, you leave a piece of you behind? You know how there are some stories that become so vivid that you feel as though you yourself are entangled in the words? You know how there are some characters who are so alive and vibrant that you could almost touch them? You know how there are some romances so beautiful that you wish you could claim them as your own? You know how there are some sentences that weave together so seamlessly, in a dance so intricate and lovely, that you feel your heart soar? You know how there are some heroes so imperfectly perfect in every way that you wish to God that you could marry them? That was this book. This story. These characters. This romance. Those sentences. And, Lord have mercy, my Jack. *sighs* I suppose I should write a full review. I should probably tell you about how lovely and melodic, how lyrical and alive Politano’s prose is. I should probably tell you about how well thought-out and paced her plots are. I should probably tell you about how unique, mysterious, and engaging her story is. I should probably tell you how vibrant and intriguing the characters are. I should probably tell you how intricately and beautifully she weaves in spiritual truths and messages to her novels.
Or...I could just continue to melt. You could join me. All you have to do...is read.
Seriously, y’all. When Politano began the story with the most enchanting pas de deux, I knew my heart was lost to me forever. You see, I have long loved all things ballet. I am by no means an expert nor an accomplished dancer (although I did take for a couple years); however, a part of me belongs to the barre...a part of me rises on releve...a part of me soars in a jete...a part of me pirouettes to the gentle refrains of classical music and sighs on a cloud of artistic euphoria.
(Please don’t ask me what any of that meant. I just went poetically wild for a moment there. Bear with me.)
Politano took that part by the hand and led it in the most beautiful, most exquisite dance ever.
Her descriptions of dance...augh, they were like kisses. Ballet...ah, yes, I now know why they called it sensual, for when you simply read the words Politano penned to evoke those images, those sounds, those emotions...you come alive.
Nothing...nothing, I tell you, has ever melted me as this novel did. True, I have melted before...but not...not in this way. Not like with Jack and Ella...mainly Jack. No, definitely, completely, wholly, fully, utterly, and irrevocably Jack.
Y’all, he was like perfection bottled into one man in tights and oil paint. (Never thought I’d find perfection in that form...but, hey, first time for everything, am I right?) I’ll be entirely honest and say I was as fooled as Ella that whole dad-blamed time, which was the point, wasn’t it? I tried so hard to save my heart for Phillippe (or, um, save Ella’s heart, I guess) and not fall for Jack. At all costs. (Considering the last time I fell for a Jack, he died and the girl ended up with some other guy that I just didn’t love as much as my man Jack and so yes me and Jacks have had some seriously rough relationships hence why I was hesitant to love on Jack Dorian but here we are and I have already claimed this sexy ballet-dancing blond from the circus as my husband. So, no, you can’t have him. Sorry, not sorry.)
And I just realized that probably constitutes as a spoiler. Oh well.
The point is that Jack was perfect. Ella was actually a heroine I more than tolerated—I may have even loved her. The way her focus always came back to God...and how she wanted Him more than anything else...and how she found a way to honor Him through dance...y’all. That was probably one of the most beautiful themes I’ve ever read. Not only because it was so unique and different from the typical themes of trust and forgiveness...but also because it was so very applicable and relatable.
Not to mention, Ella stuck to her convictions. She wasn’t just a “church-going girl”; she was a Christian and she walked (or, rather, danced) like it. Even though she was surrounded by immorality and temptation, she clung to her faith and her values, something that I truly appreciated from a reader’s perspective and also from the perspective of someone trying to do the exact same thing in our messed-up world.
That said, I would’ve liked more Jack. I would’ve loved to have seen more of his spiritual transformation...but, then again, this was technically Ella’s story.
I mean, Jack totally took it over, but it’s still Ella’s.
And...that’s basically it. I probably could’ve summed this review up in two sentences: Jack was so dad-blamed perfect and beautiful and I’m so marrying him. And if you haven’t read this book, you haven’t lived (or flown either, for that matter).
If you do nothing else, read this book for Jack.
ALSO. While I’m thinking about it...they’re from 130 years in the future, but “Come Fly With Me” and “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra just fit this story so well. Wonder why? Read the blessed book! I cannot stress how important that is to your well-being. You. Must. Read. This Book. Like, yesterday.
Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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About the Author
Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.
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