17619718Reviewed by Jennifer Jensen

When Laura was fifteen, her mother committed suicide. When Miguel was five, he lost his mother to an illness. Though they are from different parts of the world, the tragedies from their youth bind them together in more ways than either could imagine. Miguel is immediately taken with Laura when he meets her at a bus stop. They meet again at the school where Laura teaches, and where Miguel will teach Spanish once a week. Miguel, who is a lawyer, has come to Ireland to interview those who witnessed the bombing which took place just days before Laura’s mother ended her own life.

Knowing Miguel only intends to stay in Ireland for six months before he returns home to Colombia, Laura ignores his advances. There seems to be no room in her life for romance, especially since she has been taking care of her father for the last ten years. Ever since her mother’s death, Laura’s father has refused to leave their home. Miguel’s presence in Laura’s life awakens something inside of her, but his digging into her mother’s past and the bombing threatens to destroy the life they could have together.

In Dancing With Statues, Caroline Doherty de Novoa brings together people with different cultures who both know what it is like to lose someone they love at an impressionable age. I instantly liked Miguel, and the story of how he learned his mother had passed away was heartbreaking. I’ll never fully understand why his family robbed him of the opportunity to say a final good-bye, but I do believe it was done out of love for him so his memories of her would all be positive. Laura was a little bit more difficult to like; she was a bit abrasive toward Miguel, but eventually he was able to break through to her. Their romance was very sweet and innocent, and unfolded so perfectly. I could tell trouble was ahead for their relationship once Miguel began to piece together her mother’s presence at the bombing. I was absolutely terrified by how the book might end, but I loved the resolution.

Dancing With Statues drew me in right from the start, and I was intrigued to find out more about Laura’s mother and what drove her to take her own life. The inclusion of passages from her diaries was haunting, but it shed some light on a side of Diane that Laura had never seen before. My heart went out to Peter, Laura’s father, who had been holding Diane’s secrets in for so long, never sharing that burden with anyone until the moment he gave Laura the diaries.

Caroline Doherty de Novoa is a talented writer; I loved her writing style and found several passages throughout the book that I wanted to save and re-read at a later time. At times she can be a bit wordy, and the meaning of certain sentences became a bit confusing because of incorrect punctuation. Overall, though, the book’s editing was better than I had expected. If a skilled editor went through the book one more time to fix the punctuation and iron out some of the lengthier sentences, Dancing With Statues would be pretty much perfect.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided by Caroline Doherty de Novoa. Compensation was received but in no way influenced the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review.