dancing in the rain was an unexpected surprise. deeply emotional and sweet and so, so sad. drew sellers is reeling from his forced retirement from the world of nhl hockey. when a girl he barely remembers from college stops by to let him know that he has a twelve year old daughter and that she's dying, his first thought is that this is a scam. but when paternity tests confirm that sara watt is not lying he realizes that he needs to make changes in his life.
peyton watt, sara's sister, is trying to juggle it all. her sister's death. a busy and demanding career. her future guardianship of her niece. and now getting to know her sister's baby daddy. even worse, every time she sees drew she tingles with awareness. and it is simply the most inconvenient thing. everything in her life is a mess. drew is a mess. how can any of this work.
the romance is a slow burn, which makes sense because what is happening around them is so heavy and big. sara's death isn't dragged out, but if you've known anyone die too young from cancer and know about hospice and palliative care, it's incredibly hard to read about because it's definitely portrayed honestly and realistically. i cried for these characters but i also cried for people i have known and lost in this same manner. so it's great timing that things between drew and peyton heat up after sara's death. because you need a distraction from the sadness as much as they do.
dancing in the rain also does a wonderful job with chloe, drew and sara's daughter. the way the book allows her relationship with drew to develop is wonderful. and yet it doesn't shy away from showing her grief or her age-appropriate brattiness. all of the characters here are fully drawn, except maybe sara who seems to be the catalyst for so many events that occur in the novel, but always remains a cipher. you never really know what she is thinking or feeling. we don't spend time in her head, only in peyton and drew's so this makes sense. this is their story after all. but sara is an integral part of it, and i just find it interesting that in some ways she remains a mystery. i don't think it's a bad thing either. there's no reason to spend more time in sara's head. it's probably a sad and hard place to be. she dies. and it's unfair and it sucks and that's how life is.
we get to see peyton and drew and chloe work through their grief. sara's death affects them all in different ways, but how they come together and find love and acceptance with each other is really a beautiful thing. in the end, as sad as some moments of this book are, it's a book about hope and love and life, pretty much exactly what a romance novel should be.
**dancing in the rain will publish on april 11, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing group (loveswept) in exchange for my honest review.