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The Unexpected Waltz Hardcover – June 3, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It’s one year after the death of her husband and, despite the substantial wealth left to her, Kelly, 52, is feeling adrift. While out grocery shopping one day, she accidentally stumbles into a dance studio where she impulsively signs up for introductory ballroom-dancing lessons. As Kelly begins to take classes, she quickly becomes enthralled by the practice and is drawn to the studio’s colorful students and instructors. Among them is her strict Russian instructor, Nik. Living in America on a student visa that has long run out, he is carrying on a risky affair with a student. Meanwhile, through her volunteer work at the local hospice, Kelly strikes up a tender friendship with Carolina, a 34-year-old cancer patient who challenges Kelly to embrace her new experiences. As Kelly’s self-assurance grows and relationships old and new prosper, she slowly finds the strength to reexamine her life and finally confront the trauma of a former love. Wright’s second novel, after Love in Mid Air (2010), captures our fear of the unknown and the tender joys of coming into one’s own. --Leah Strauss

Review

"Kim Wright's charming novel chronicles one woman's second chance at happiness and an opportunity to find her authentic self. The writing is pitch perfect -- this is a winner!" (Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author of The Matchmaker)

“Wright…expertly guides us through a moving, layered, and lyrical exploration of transformation.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review, Pick of the Week))

"An insightful novel about the unexpected places where we stumble upon second chances. Kim Wright writes with wisdom and grace." (Sarah Pekkanen, bestselling author of THE BEST OF US)

"Wright’s second novel, after Love in Mid Air (2010), captures our fear of the unknown and the tender joys of coming into one’s own.” (Booklist)

The Unexpected Waltz is [as] inspiring as [it is] awakening of oneself. Additionally, it feels genuine, as new beginnings and second chances aren’t always prefect and fairy-tale like, even if outward appearances suggest otherwise. With strong characterization and a cast of intriguing secondary characters, the story dances its way through all the right steps as readers watch Kelly Wilder embrace waltzing through her new life,stumbles and all.” (Romantic Times)

“The novel has everything I look for in a good read: intrigue, interesting characters at a crossroads and a comfortable authority that allows me to surrender to whatever happens next. What's more, the novel is set in Charlotte.” (Charlotte Observer)

“From the author of the overlooked gem Love in Mid Air (check it out in paperback), a joyful novel about regaining your midlife groove through ballroom dancing.” (PEOPLE Magazine, "Great Summer Reads")

“I often read books that eventually pull me in, but it is an all-too-rare experience for me to browse the first page of a new book and become instantly hooked, as I was with THE UNEXPECTED WALTZ.” (BookReporter.com)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (June 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476754225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476754222
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. Branfield TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The Unexpected Waltz by Kim Wright is a captivating novel of healing and self discovery that is incredibly moving. This touching story is poignant but uplifting and I found myself utterly charmed by Kelly Wilder’s honest reflection of her past, her relationships and her enduring friendship with Elyse, the one person who has been by her side through all of her life’s various ups and downs.

“Nothing has to change.” A statement from one of Kelly’s lawyers as she is wrapping up the final details of her late husband’s estate that continues to reverberate in her mind and eventually becomes the catalyst for her to finally move forward. But it is Kelly’s inadvertent stop in a local ballroom dance studio that brings the biggest changes to her life. With her energies focused on her newfound passion, Kelly finds unexpected friendships with her fellow dancer enthusiasts and as she reflects on the mistakes of her past, she finds the courage to step out of her well-ordered life and fully embrace her future.

Kelly is a wonderfully flawed, imperfect character who has lived a safe, comfortable life. After an affair ends badly, Kelly indulges in string of casual encounters that eventually culminates in her marriage to a much older, wealthy man. She then turns her attentions to creating a beautiful home for her late husband and devotes her time to serving on various charities. Her beautiful tablescapes are a staple of the charitable dinners she attends, but she finds real fulfillment as a volunteer at a local hospice. Sitting by the bedside of the terminally ill, Kelly learns as much about life as she does death and her connection and friendship with cancer patient Carolina adds another dimension to this multi-faceted and likable character.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By sila2226 on June 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I read Wright's first novel, "Love in Mid Air" and enjoyed it immensely. When I saw a second novel to be published I wondered if she would fall into the sophomore book trap--good, but not as good as the first. We all know those. Actually, the opposite happened. This book is filled with wonderful characters trying to find a foot hold in the second phase of adult life. It's not easy, I can personally attest. The central character, Kelly, is so likeable that I immediately felt she was a friend--okay, a friend of a friend. Her self-exploration was very believable. As a side benefit, I got to learn about and appreciate ballroom dancing. I'm not out buying dancing shoes, mind you, but it was an interesting plot line. This book was a fun read, a page-turner, and I look forward to her next novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Olive'sMom on August 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
From the very first page of Kim Wright's novel, I was hooked. I first came to know Kelly Wilder in Wright's first novel, LOVE IN MID AIR, which I loved, so I was very excited to find out what sort of journey Kelly would find herself on in this novel. Just as she did in LOVE IN MID AIR, Wright presents real flesh-and-blood characters who are layered and entirely relatable. Her voice is so crisp, the writing so sharp and smart, it's impossible to put THE UNEXPECTED WALTZ down, and impossible not to care deeply for its characters who are as real as any I've encountered in recent memory. I missed them when I came to the end--which, for me, is the truest measure of a great book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Southern Bibliophile on June 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Kim's since reading the delightful Love in Mid Air a few years ago. I love her writing style and the way she paints a vivid picture without overdoing the description. It was a joy to read a book that focused on Kelly and I also loved seeing what Elyse and Tori were up to. I would recommend this book to fans of women's fiction. It was a truly engrossing read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Whatsername on July 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The first time opening a new book of fiction is always a little thrilling. There is the anticipation of wondering whether I'll be swept away into the author's make-believe world or be bored to the point of tossing it aside after a few chapters. Rare are the books that answer that question in the first chapter. But rarer still are the precious little jewels like this one that drew me in from the very first paragraph. I absolutely loved it, almost cried when it was finished because I wasn't ready to leave it yet.

The main character Kelly Wilder Madison, is an extremely likeable, funny, caring and compassionate widow who has led a pretty conventional life, mostly doing what is expected of her and with a tendency to rescue people who need her. Following her husband's death, she finds herself "accidentally" signing up for dance lessons and becoming unintentionally involved in the lives of some very unconventional characters. I adored her and found all the fringe characters to have at least some small redeeming quality that kept me hoping they would all be successful in their trials. I need to also mention that aside from the fictional story, I found in the pages of this book some very profound philosophy, so profound that while in a waiting room at a doctor appointment, a passage struck such a chord with me that I said aloud: "How extraordinary!"

At only 276 pages, it left me wanting more but even so, I did not feel it fell short in the slightest. The story was finished to my satisfaction and the plot lines all neatly tied together, but not too neatly. One thing the author did exactly right was that she did not try to bring all the characters to their own personal happily ever after just to create closure.
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