I recently read Ka Hancock's debut novel: Dancing on Broken Glass after noting it in the new book section of our local library. I was intrigued by the title of the book and it's beautiful cover.
And I couldn't agree more with the quote also included on the front cover: The best kind of love follows its own rules....So very true.
But when I actually got around to reading this book I wasn't sure if it was one I'd finish after I had read the first couple of chapters. I'm not a fan of any story that entails a lot of illness, medical interventions...but this author had such an engaging style of writing, I kept on reading.
Author, Ka Hancock has an extensive professional medical background including two nursing degrees and specialized work with psychiatric and substance-abuse patients. From this perspective, she has crafted a story about two people Lucy Houston, a cancer-survivor and Mickey Chandler who struggles with bi-polar disorder. Against the odds and the better judgement of themselves and their families Lucy and Mickey fall in love and eventually marry.
In spite of my misgivings about some of the subject matter in this book, I found myself continuing to turn page after page, wanting to know how the story would unfold. Ka Hancock has a real gift when it comes to bringing characters to life. I was swept into the love story of Lucy and Mickey and the lives of their families and friends.
A very sad story in many ways and the many tears I cried reading this book were a surprise to me. I'm not one to cry while reading or watching a movie...it takes a compelling story to get me to feel that emotional about any work of fiction. But cry I did, buckets actually. I put a couple of other projects on hold too, during the couple of days that it took me to finish this book.
I won't spoil the plot by going into details about the story but suffice to say it is: touching, heart-warming and heart-wrenching too. I thoroughly enjoyed Dancing on Broken Glass, in spite of some of the negative reviews I had read online about this book, including this comment over at: Kirkus Reviews.
From Kirkus Reviews re: Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock: A tidily crafted but treacly excavation of misery in the name of higher sentiments
Yes, it is a sentimental book but isn't that what true love is all about? I did not find it sugar-coated or "treacly" though. It is a story that touched my heart. With memorable characters and a rather unique plot about two people trying to make a go of a marriage while facing a number of life challenges that most of us can be happy to say that we are not burdened with, in addition to those of an everyday "normal" existence.
What I didn't like about this book was the ending. I thought it took away from the story overall and for me, did not ring true. I was a surprised by this conclusion to a story that had thoroughly held my attention, up to that point. In spite of this, I'm still glad I read this book and I look forward to more books by Ka Hancock in the future.
If you have read this book or do so in the future, I'd love to hear your opinion of the story and in particular what you thought of the ending.
Overall rating for this book: Good. 3 out of 5.