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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunted by your past....who do you blame??
Gwynne Forster has written a true to life story of your past being a step into your future and present. Sometimes your parents make a mistake in your upbringing, but one lesson that Jolene learns is at some point and time in your life you have to become responsible for what happens in your life. Just because someone doesn't teach you something, doesn't mean that you...
Published on October 23, 2006 by Jackie M

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3.0 out of 5 stars The people of the story live in a vacuum
I had forgotten until I got this book, how this author writes. This book exasperated me. The main character was a ridiculous 30 something woman, totally readable, and so was every character in the book. No depth, no angles. A boarding house where the owner treated all of her boarders like children, regardless of their age or station in life. Diplomats, police...
Published 10 months ago by Roxms2003


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunted by your past....who do you blame??, October 23, 2006
By 
Jackie M "jaibeem" (Jacksonville, Florida) - See all my reviews
Gwynne Forster has written a true to life story of your past being a step into your future and present. Sometimes your parents make a mistake in your upbringing, but one lesson that Jolene learns is at some point and time in your life you have to become responsible for what happens in your life. Just because someone doesn't teach you something, doesn't mean that you don't find an alternative to learn. Life sometimes can be a harsh teacher, but Jolene learns that she has to live to learn and that she does. The boarding house is a family knit home and as the residents bond you learn that you don't have to be raised together or belong to the same family blood line to love and respect others as a family. Sometimes your friends become closer than a brother/sister. Rev.Coles has learned also that keeping your mouth shut and doing nothing, can and will backfire on you. Richard is a self made success and has to learn that just being down to earth and real with others will gain him so much more than money and a career can buy. Judd is a realist and has the wisdom that people only dream about. When you step out and take a good look at yourself, you will see things that you don't like and that need to be changed. You learn that real friends don't pacify you by always agreeing with you, and at the same time they don't criticize and deliberately try to make you feel bad. Friends are there through thick and thin and guide you and commend you when appropriate. You actually get a vivid view in the lives of the boarders of Thank The Lord boarding house. A steady pace and you will not know where the story is going and where it will end up. Go get it today and enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars About a 3 and 1/2, September 22, 2008
By 
the lady poet "msshay" (Detroit, MI United States) - See all my reviews
Gwynne is my fav author. I have met her and she is sweet and down to earth.

I was slightly disappointed with the book and I LOVE her books. There was a BIG mistake made on in the book and I think the editor's missed it. I was not convinced either that Jolene was that out of touch with life.

I liked all the characters and the storyline. I just felt if Jolene was younger I would have been convinced of her naivete.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about redemption throughout!, September 11, 2007
By 
Mikeisha Best (Mitchellville, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
I enjoyed every aspect of "When You Dance with the Devil." The storyline exhibited innovation and a good measure of originality, the characters were real, but chief among my reasons for enjoying this story? The way Gwynne Forster writes. Her writing style is inexplicable. Simply put, she has a way with words and she knows how to tell a story.

"When You Dance with the Devil" brings us into the lives of the residents of Thank the Lord Boarding House. The newest residents are Jolene and Richard. As the novel begins, Jolene's acrimonious mother dies after she gave Jolene a lifetime full of heartache and sadness. She had taken care of her mother for several years all by herself. Jolene never received a thank you or any other form of appreciation from her mother. Before she died, her mother instilled into her mind that men were unscrupulous, malicious individuals. After her mother dies, those thoughts remained in Jolene's mind; she began dating for the first time after her mother died and treats men unfairly, even the men who are gentlemanly toward her. After using a considerable amount of men, she receives a dose of her own medicine and soon realizes her wrongdoings. The reader is able to see some character growth in Jolene, but not an overwhelming amount. Jolene's mother truly damaged her because she never told her who her paternal father was. She never takes any steps to try and find him, but there is an interesting sequence as it relates to that situation. After a hellish saga, Jolene receives some light (although some darkness remained) at the end of the tunnel.

In this captivating novel, we are also introduced to Richard. Richard surrendered his once lavish lifestyle of career success, the finer material things, and so many women he is unable to recollect them all. He moves into Thank the Lord Boarding House and meets his first true friend, Judd. While there, he comes to the realization that the things he had prior to moving into the boarding house pale in comparison to the simple things in life such as love and camaraderie. He meets and falls in love with a police officer, Francine. Francine is very strong throughout the novel, something Richard had to get used to because she was not going to change and she let him know that.

This book had somewhat of a Hollywood ending, but don't misinterpret that because things weren't perfect in the end. I recommend this book to mature readers. Not because of the content of the book, but because the style of writing and storyline seem to be suitable to a mature individual. Personally, I was very impressed with this read. Superb!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "This is a poignant novel that will encourage deep reflection.", December 20, 2006
"When You Dance With The Devil is a great story with wonderful life lessons readers can gain knowledge from."

"This compelling story is centered on the Thank The Lord Boarding House, which houses several people from different backgrounds and lifestyles."

"Two of the main characters are Sarah Jolene Tilman and Richard Peterson. Jolene has been the sole caretaker for her mother and grandmother, enduring verbal abuse all of her life. She doesn't understand why her mother hates her or why she refuses to tell her who her father is."

"After the death of her mother and grandmother she decides to move to the Thank The Lord Boarding House. It is here that Jolene befriends individuals that make a significant change in the direction of her life."

"Richard Peterson is a former international diplomat who gives up his career and moves to the same boarding house. His decision to move was based on him discovering that the woman he loved married someone else. Richard tries to overcome his previous lifestyle of being involved with numerous women. Some of which he can't even remember. He wants to make a change in his life and gives up his prestigious title and material possessions for a life of simplicity."

"Individuals come into Jolene and Richard's life that will challenge them to transform and let people into the secluded lives they have led."

"This is a poignant novel that will encourage deep reflection."
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3.0 out of 5 stars The people of the story live in a vacuum, September 16, 2013
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I had forgotten until I got this book, how this author writes. This book exasperated me. The main character was a ridiculous 30 something woman, totally readable, and so was every character in the book. No depth, no angles. A boarding house where the owner treated all of her boarders like children, regardless of their age or station in life. Diplomats, police investigators, better not miss dinner or they would be thoroughly scolded by the owner; and they adhered to that! I listened to it through to the end, reminding myself not to buy another book from this author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When you dance with the devil, March 21, 2013
Excellent book had lot of lessons to learn about oneself and how to forgive. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very well-written; storyline not believeable!, September 13, 2009
By 
Reader2008 (United States) - See all my reviews
This is a story abouta woman who was raised by a single mother who lacked social skills and had few friends and no family. When Sara Jolene's mother dies when she is 35, she finally has a chance to live a life of her own--outside of her overbearing mother. Sara Jolene moves into a boarding house, which serves as a pseudo family and meets a bus driver that ends up loving her.

This was a storyline not explored by other authors, but the way the writer executed the storyline is not believeable. Sara had not dated her whole life and devoted her whole life to her mother; it is just not believeable that she would be able to get past those circumstances without therapy or something. Instead, this character comes out of her shell and is able to find a husband relatively easily.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Coming of age, February 10, 2007
By 
The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers (RAWSISTAZ.com and BlackBookReviews.net) - See all my reviews
WHEN YOU DANCE WITH THE DEVIL focuses primarily on two emotionally deplete individuals who have traveled completely opposite roads. But, who for a moment will share the same stoplight, a quaint, almost surreal boarding house near Ocean City, Maryland.

Sara Jolene Tillman's thirty-five years have given her an elemental existence. Mentally tortured by her mother, she grew up answering to abusive demands and hearing spews of hatred for men and herself. Her world is secluded, empty and lonely. Immediately after the death of her mother she flees the house that imprisoned her. Jolene, in search of herself, has to learn how to feel human and how to be a woman. What she experiences in Maryland could be a disastrous eye-opener.

Forty-four-year-old, Richard Peterson has lived a magnanimous life; a prestigious career in international government at one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the world. He was selfish, ruthless and dogmatic with his career and with women. But for all his accomplishments, Richard is as alone and emotionally naive as Jolene. He resigns his positions in search of a softer more human existence. Life at the boarding house is foreign to him.

WHEN YOU DANCE WITH THE DEVIL takes readers into the hearts of an eclectic cast of characters. Their placement in the story adds a subtle clarity to the message, my only adjustment was to the story's setting; I found it a little obscure. But the depth of the story lies in the austerity of the characters and their issues. Ms. Forster has given more than a story of redemption; it is a story that encompasses the growth of the inner-self, the cleansing of souls, and an exposure to a time that is strikingly old-fashioned. This story should appeal to the innocence in readers.

Reviewed by aNN

of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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4.0 out of 5 stars Finding Your True Self, January 8, 2007
When You Dance with the Devil by Gwynne Forster is a good read. The two main characters are Sara Jolene Tilman and Richard Peterson. The two storylines come together at the Thank the Lord Boarding House, located by the Atlantic Ocean in Maryland. The boarding house, owned and managed by Fannie Johnson, houses eleven other tenants who treat each other like family. This is the perfect location for one to be able to reflect on the life they have lived and where they would like to go.

Sara Jolene Tilman is a 35 year-old virgin from a small town, Hagerstown, Maryland. Her life had been smothered by her bitter and demanding mother. She has spent the last eleven years enduring mental torture caring for her bedridden grandmother and mother until their deaths. For the first time she is alone in the world and she is not aware of any other living relatives. She is ready for a fresh start. Jolene is the name she prefers after freeing herself from the pain and isolation of her former life. At the advice of Rev Phillip Coles, she heads for his sister's boarding house. Here she is "forced to face how socially awkward and achingly lonely she really is." This novel describes her struggles as a woman with low-self esteem searching for love and belonging. She attempts to change her life by getting a job, dating, and finding a female friend. Jolene looks for love in five different casual affairs that unfortunately turn disastrous. Will she ever find true love?

Richard Peterson is a 45 year-old handsome and polished gentleman who has reached the peak in his high-powered international career. Richard has stepped on others' backs on his climb to the top. He was also known as a ladies man and used women for his own pleasure. After his heart is broken by a beautiful woman, he stops to evaluate his life and he does not like the direction it has been going. On the advice of a friend, he too registers at Thank the Lord Boarding House. He is also ready for a fresh start. Richard works on overcoming his better than thou demeanor by volunteering and funding local community improvement initiatives. He also pledges abstinence as a way to right his wrong treatment of women. Will he ever love again?

With the help of one other character, Judd, the two were able to find themselves and peace. They were allowed to start fresh new lives, however never forgetting the past. There are some unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader searching for what will happen next. I thought the author was a little repetitive and I would like to have seen more character development. The title is appropriate for both main characters. Overall I would recommend this book.

Reviewed by Carolyn Cornelius

APOOO BookClub
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read, July 30, 2006
I won't lie; I am not done with this book, but I truly felt for Sarah Jolene here; I really did; made me want to cry at seeing how a child can be messed up if not raised in a healthy environment; Jolene grew up devoid of love, yet she took care of her grandmother, then her mother(without a word of thanks from either or them) until they died; once they passed, she sells the house at the recommendation of her minister, and he tells her to go for a new beginning by his sister at her boarding house aptly called "Thank the Lord" boarding house not from the beach on the Eastern shore in Maryland; There she meets an assorted group of people who after her initial trepidation, warms up to and helps her(or hinders)on her journey; On the other hand is a retired diplomat, Richard, who tired of the shallow life he's leading plus finding out that a lost love gets married, gets recommended to the same boarding house, where he learns a few things, helps himself and the community by having computer classes(and getting some extra attention)by the various women in the town, comes to find out that life is not all self absorbent; along the way, he meets someone and things heat up. Although I like the book, it can be misleading; first off, you are lead to feel that Jolene and Richard hooks up, but as you go along you tend to understand that that isn't the case until you keep going; Very interesting and engrossing novel; Recommended read.
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When You Dance With The Devil (Dafina Contemporary Romance)
When You Dance With The Devil (Dafina Contemporary Romance) by Gwynne Forster (Mass Market Paperback - September 1, 2011)
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