by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Published by William Morrow on June 9, 2020
Format: ARC, Print
Source: Read Books VB
Buy: Amazon, B&N
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I received an advance copy of this book from Read Books VB.
Run, run, as fast as you can!
When life throws her one setback too many, midwife and young widow Tess Hartsong takes off for Runaway Mountain. In this small town high in the Tennessee mountains, surrounded by nature, she hopes to outrun her heartbreak and find the solace she needs to heal.
But instead of peace and quiet, she encounters an enigmatic artist with a craving for solitude, a fairy-tale sprite with too many secrets, a helpless infant, a passel of curious teens, and a town suspicious of outsiders, especially one as headstrong as Tess. Just as headstrong, is Ian North, a difficult, gifted man with a tortured soul—a man who makes Tess question everything.
In running away to this new life, Tess wonders— Has she lost herself . . . or has she found her future?
As a romance reader, I’ve heard rave reviews for Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ books in the past, but hadn’t read anything by her until Dance Away with Me. I can tell you that the raves are well deserved! This story has so many unexpected layers and deeply moving moments. I was a bit nervous going in because of how much tragedy is built into the story, but fear not–this is a true romance.
Widowed in her 30s, midwife Tess Hartsong retreats to the small town of Runaway Mountain. Haunted by memories of her late husband, she seeks the solitude and simplicity of the east Tennessee town. What she doesn’t expect is to come face to face with an angry, magnetic mountain man.
World-renowned artist Ian North has come to the mountains looking for escape of his own. Troubled by memories of his violent upbringing and a family legacy that he can’t escape, he’s blocked creatively when he stumbles across Tess dancing in the rain.
Add to this a pregnant woman, Bianca, who insists she’s Ian’s wife; suspicious adults; far-too-curious teens; and a whole host of additional, quirky characters…and life in Runaway Mountain just became a lot more complicated for both Tess and Ian.
There’s quite a bit going on here, plot-wise, but somehow the author makes it work. As I said, I was concerned initially because of a tragic event that occurs early on in the story (scroll to the end for my content warnings). It’s a long road to this HEA, but it definitely feels worth it.
Some of the supporting characters come across as parodies or caricatures at times, and the resolution is a bit too tidy for me. However, this is a quick read and ultimately a feel-good story, despite the initial sorrow that most of the characters face. Grab this if you’re in the mood for all the feels with a guaranteed HEA.
Rating: 4 stars
Content warnings: child abuse, descriptive childbirth resulting in death of the mother