Dancing with the Sun

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

I really enjoyed the book. I would give it 3.5 stars. The cover is beautiful. I really loved Sadie and how strong she was for her daughter and tried to keep Lauren safe. She flies across the US to visit her daughter and gets sucked into an impromptu hike that wasn't well thought out. I loved the beginning of the book, but towards the middle of the story my feelings changed. I will blame this on Lauren. For some reason, this character bothered me and I just didn't like her. From the start she did everything wrong. Who goes for a hike in Yosemite without telling anyone where she would be, doesn't bring water, proper hiking equipment, a sweater or a proper map?(the list goes on and on) Lauren just seemed like a moody teenager throwing a fit instead of an adult lost in the wilderness. 

I enjoyed the story, characters (mostly) and writing style. I really liked getting to know Sadie and the life she had with her children. She was actually stronger than she thought. She was still grieving for the the loss of her son and I think talking about him, especially with Lauren, helped her. The misadventure Sadie and Lauren had in Yosemite actually helped their relationship, even though it wasn't an ideal situation. The book definitely held my attention from the first page and I needed to know how Lauren and Sadie would survive. Sadie actually handled being lost in the wilderness pretty well. I would have been scared to death and would have worried about snakes, mountain lions and killers (I blame that one on the books I read). I loved the owl and believe he was watching out for them. 

I definitely recommend the book. I look forward to reading more books by the author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
This is a wonderful story of a mother and her college age daughter surviving an ordeal in Yellowstone National Park.  Sadie has built a wall around herself when her son, Jacob died when he was 11 years old.  It's been a long time and her daughter Lauren has suffered the consequences.  Lauren decided it's easier to go along with her mother's edicts than to assert her own wishes.  She hopes this visit from her mom will be the beginning of a new understanding.  When they end up lost and unprepared they learn to work together and talk about the future.  Sadie learns that life has continued without her and she must decide to divorce her husband and be alone or talk about the guilt and sorrow they both feel.  Kay Bratt has written numerous novels but this is the first of her books I've read and I'm glad I picked it up.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Dancing With the Sun…Dancing with Emotions!! Wow! This is my 2nd book By Kay Bratt and it will not be my last. Dancing with the Sun drew me in and pulled on my emotions on so many different levels. It was hard to put down. Such a beautifully written story about Sadie a mother who is going through a midlife crisis, suffering from empty nest syndrome, the unresolved grief over the loss of her young son Jacob and the lack of communication with her husband Tom. Sadie lives a very controlled, routine driven life with her emotions safely in check. After discovering Tom has missing articles of clothing including his favourite slippers she comes to the conclusion that he is having an affair. Sadie decides she must leave him and make an impulsive decision to visit her daughter Lauren at college. A decision that will change her life forever. On their way from the airport Lauren asks Sadie to take a short trek into Yosemite and Sadie reluctantly agrees. They take a wrong turn and end up very lost for three days. Sadie has to face her biggest fears and kick into protective mama bear mode to get them safely through this harrowing experience relying on inner strength she did not know was there.
“She just could not do it again. Could not lay awake all night, guarding her daughter from bears, mountain lions, and the pits of despairs. But she supposed if she had to, she would. Because that was what mothers did. They kept going even when they felt like dropping or hiding or just fading away into oblivion. Motherhood wasn’t for sissies; Sadie knew that for sure.”
Thank you Net Galley and Lake Union for the advanced copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Sadie, who is in the throes of a serious case of empty-nest depression, haunted by events of the past, realising her husband is slipping away from her, decides on the spur of the moment to fly across the country to surprise her college going daughter working in Yosemite.
Lauren, her daughter, decides to take her mom on a short walk in the park to see Tenaya Lake.
Without warning, they find themselves in the middle of a thunderstorm and when it stops they are completely lost.
Forced into survival mode, Sadie finds herself totally out of her comfort zone; confronted by various realities and she has to dig deep into herself to save her child, to save herself, to review her memories of Jacob, the child she could not save.
Getting lost ultimately turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to Sadie.
This book explores a couple of topics - the death of a child and its impact on each parent; their marriage and subsequent children. It also touches on the challenges of international adoptions and building that relationship. It also explores the personal struggles of someone who feels lost and isolated in her family and needs to be in control of everything and everyone in her world but ends up in a situation she can't control.
I didn't think I'd enjoy this book, but by the end it had moved me to tears and left me with a lot to mull over and contemplate. I didn't really enjoy the ending that much - it felt a bit rushed and flat to me. But other than that, it was a beautiful read.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me the chance to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
LOST & FOUND!

Sadie Harlan is stuck in a rut of isolation. She is alive but only going through the motions since she’s never come to grips with the grief of losing her young son several years ago. Sadie has a beautiful college-aged daughter, Lauren, who has a summer internship at Yosemite National Park. Sadie is going through a particularly dark time and decides to surprise her daughter Lauren with a visit. Lauren is quite shocked to see her Mom as Sadie never does anything spontaneous. Lauren decides to continue on with her plans for a short hike in Yosemite and begs for Sadie to join her. 

Their hike begins normally but before too long a storm comes up and in their haste to escape it and find some type of cover, they get horribly lost. Lauren has survival skills but she’s injured. Sadie has no survival skills but she has something even more important going for her - the fierceness of a Mother protecting her young. What transpires during their time of being lost is a time of being found - a mother finding a way to a new relationship with her long awaited for  adopted daughter; a daughter finding a way to break down the walls of isolation and finally establishing the relationship she’s always longed for; a mother finding the way to allow her heart to mend and see all the wonderful possibilities in her future; a daughter finding her way to assure her Mother that she will always be there for her; and the two of them finding a way out of the forest in spite of Mother Nature, wildlife, no food or water.

I was provided an ARC of this book by Lake Union Publishers. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
Was this review helpful?
I am a big fan of Bratt. She writes such beautiful stories and such heart-rending characters. This novel us no different. Several topics, grief and adoption are prominent, weave through the adventure of a mother and daughter lost in the woods of Yosemite.  Really enjoyable read.
Was this review helpful?
Rated 4.5 Stars!!

I have heard of Kay Bratt for quite sometime, but I've never had an opportunity to read anything she's written. When I saw Dancing with the Sun available on NetGalley, I headed over to the internet to check out what people had to say about the book 

Sadie Harlan has spent many years of her life grieving the loss of a child. She keeps herself away from getting close to the people in her life as well.  Sadie's daughter, Lauren is an intern at Yosemite National Park, and she thinks Sadie always seems sad.

Sadie decides to take a break from her grief and visits with Lauren i California very spontaneously.  Sadie and Lauren pair up and decide to go hiking in the wilderness of Yosemite, but unfortunately, they do not go prepared.  They both struggle with their individual and mutual issues at the same time they are trying to deal with the wilderness around them. As Sadie and Lauren move on, they learn that they must trust and lean on each other so they can make it out of the wild and move forward with healing. Over the course of their adventure they both come to see the other in a different light. 

This story was very captivating and it kept me locked in from cover to cover. I almost felt like I was in the wild with them, afraid and lost.  Dancing with the Sun provides readers with a very beautiful story of heartache and healing, along with a mother’s selfless love. I can't wait to add anything else written by Ms. Bratt to my TBR stack!

I  was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Do we ever get over grief? Do we feel guilty due to that grief? This is an enthralling story of grief, loneliness, and survival (both emotionally and physically). Excellent writing with fascinating characters that you can sink your teeth into. Fear, shame, guilt, stubbornness, loneliness.............You pick which adjective describes this family and the consequences of it. Dance like no one is watching!!!! Enjoy! 📚
Was this review helpful?
This is the first of Kay Bratt's books that I have read, and I can honestly say that I will be reading more! 

We follow the story of Sadie, a wife and mother, who lost her son in an awful accident as a child. She filled her life with being a mother to her adopted daughter Lauren, pushing aside the grief that was building up, allowing it to infiltrate all her relationships in a way she wasn't aware of.
A surprise trip to see her daughter, that culminates in a horrifying hike that goes terribly wrong, gives her a chance to finally break down, and build herself up.

It did take me a little while to get into the swing of the story, but once there, I was swept up by the emotions.
I loved how we were given hints about her loss, but no real detail until the end, and the story of her daughter's adoption. I could sense the turning point in the two character's relationship too.

Many thanks to the author, NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing me with an arc for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a favorite author of mine that I discovered through Lake Union on Net Galley.  I enjoy all her writing and this book was simply perfectly written.  Thank you for the ARC that does not influence my review.. 

This is the story of a Mother and daughter camping trip in  that goes awry but turns out to be the turning point of their relationship as they depend on each other for survival.  The Mother is grieving the loss of her other child and unable to connect with her family for years. She decides to visit her daughter and they embark on a camping trip to revitalize and save their relationship.  Little do they know they will soon find their way back to each other and be a family again. 

This is heartwarming and compassionate story of surviving grief with the allegoric story of surviving in the woods. I enjoyed the strong charcters as is a trademark of the author and how she writes so beautifully of the location. A very enjoyable read that touched my heart . I look forward to further work ,by this wonderful author.
Was this review helpful?
Authentic and uplifting!
This beautiful story is strikingly authentic, overflowing with love, and very uplifting!  I loved it!!  The timing of my reading of “Dancing with the Sun” coincided very closely to the timing of my daughter moving out of our home and into her own place, so that made it all the more poignant to me.  Even without that coincidence, though, I know the story still would have resonated with me on many levels – as a mother, a wife and a woman – because it portrays many aspects of motherhood (not only the empty nest aspect) and of a long-standing marriage.  Kay Bratt incorporates so much into this book, including loss of a child, adoption, survival, uncertainty, sacrifice, self-judgement, overcoming, forgiveness, and reconnecting. The significance of the title itself is amazing and was something that will stay with me for life!  (I strive to and hope to always dance with the sun!)  Also, the settings within the book are breath-taking.  So much so that I think it would make a great movie, and am sure, if it was one, there would not be a dry eye in the theater!  This probably goes without saying considering all that I’ve written in my review, but I’ll say it anyway:  I highly recommend reading this book!!
Was this review helpful?
This novel is a story of love, loss, survival, and the coming together again,  This book touched my emotions on many levels.  I was able to identify with Sadie Harlan as a mother and a wife.  The self-isolating struggle of coming to terms with the loss of a child; the struggle to form a strong and loving bond with her daughter while protecting her from the world; and coming to grips with the strain on her marriage all came together to create a captivating story. 

The underlying issue is a strong force in the story. The way the story unfolds in the form of the struggle between mother and daughter to survive a nature hike gone awry is rich in emotion and love.

I highly recommend this book, as it is a truly remarkable story.  It is very well written with incredible characters. 


Thank you #KayBratt for writing this amazing book.  Thank you #Netgalley and #LakeUnionPublishing for approving my request.  The opinions  expressed in this review are solely my own.
Was this review helpful?
This is the first book by Kay Bratt that I have read and one that I very much enjoyed. When what was supposed to be a quick, fun afternoon hike takes a turn for the worse, Sadie and her daughter Lauren find themselves lost and are forced to depend on each other to survive. This is not only a book about survival while lost in the wilderness, it also is about a mother and daughter bonding through this unexpected frightening incident, about forgiveness, dealing with grief, and letting go of the past in a positive way in order to move forward and live again without guilt. This was a quick and intense read. It reminded me of the importance of telling people where you're headed if you plan a hike, no matter the distance, and to always have plenty of water, food and supplies with you because you just never know what will happen. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the advance reader's copy.
Was this review helpful?
This book was very suspenseful, but not in an action way.
Sadie, Lauren's Mom decides on a whim to fly out to see her daughter where she is studying in California, when Lauren picks her up at the airport, she tells her mom she wants to take her somewhere very special. The special place is Yosemite National Park, where Lauren wants them to take a short hike to a beautiful lake. Sadie is tired from the flight and not really equipped to go on a hike, but Lauren convinces her to go as it is only a mile hike from where they parked, and she has something she wants to tell her mom. 
Sadie had not left a note telling her husband where she had gone as they have been a bit estranged and Lauren had not told anyone either of her plans.
And so begins this story of trust, faith, love, grieving and overcoming obstacles out of their control as these two get lost on their hike. 
I love stories that delve into the psyche of a person and this one does not disappoint. The mother is suffering still from the lose of one child and trying to hold on to her daughter as she is becoming a woman and wanting to come into her own. This experience that they go through lets the two of them reconnect in a way that lets each see and respect the others points of view. 
This book is full of emotions and fears both present and past. A really great read.
This author has been a favorite of mine.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the ARC of this book
Was this review helpful?
Very intriguing story.  Raw and so full of emotion.  Thank you Kay Bratt for this book.  I was intrigued from the beginning and had a very hard time putting it down.
Was this review helpful?
This is such an emotion filled book that I felt like I had to slowly emerge from it as I finished the epilogue. To close the covers and quickly reenter real life would have been jarring and unsettling. Sadie's story plumbs the depths of emotion from intense love to the deepest grief, from self- recrimination to self-sacrifice to self-preservation, from the dark of night to dawn to dancing with the sun. Kay Bratt skillfully knits together several weighty themes in Dancing With the Sun: dealing with the death of a child, creating a family bond with an adopted child, forgiving oneself, holding a family together while navigating life-altering events, letting go of the past without losing the special memories, and holding on to gratitude when being thankful seems almost impossible.

     It is difficult for a review to do this book justice. A synopsis of the story seems so shallow when the reviewer knows the depth that is awaiting future readers of this book, and truly the same could be said of every book that I have read by Kay Bratt. If you are looking for a lighthearted, feel-good read, this book is not for you. If you are looking for a meaty book that gives you much to think about, welcome to Dancing With the Sun.

     I thank NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to write a positive review and received no monetary compensation.
Was this review helpful?
Kay Bratt has written another amazing book with Dancing With the Sun.  It brings out all the feels - sadness, anxiety, hope, relief.  This novel is a real page turner - I read it in one sitting.  It was so easy for me to picture myself lost in the wilds of Yosemite.  I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.
Was this review helpful?
This was a beautiful, heart-breaking, and hopeful story that evoked all the emotions in me.  Sadie lost herself many years ago, but trudged on, trying to create the perfect life for her daughter. She takes a last minute trip to see her daughter, who convinces her to take a short hike into Yosemite. They set out on what is supposed to be a short trail hike, unprepared for more than a walk around the block. Their quick hike to check out the scenery takes a turn when they get lost.  The situation quickly becomes one of survival, and Sadie has to find the strength and the courage to do whatever it takes to make sure her daughter gets home alive.  While fighting for their lives, Sadie and her daughter have some intensely emotional and truthful conversations forcing Sadie to confront what her life has become and realize what she has been missing.
This was an amazingly well-written novel that resonated on so many levels. It will make the reader think of how they would react in the same situations, and not just if it is life or death. This is a new author for me and I was impressed with the way she crafted this wonderful novel.
#DancingwiththeSun #LakeUnionPublishers #KayBratt
Was this review helpful?
Dancing With the Sun is the story of Sadie and Lauren. Sadie has never recovered from her son's death at a young age and with Lauren away at college, she has started to reevaluate her life. Her marriage is on the rocks; Sadie and her husband have never moved past losing their son. Sadie makes a spur of the moment trip to visit Lauren and tell her the news that her parents are separating. Before Sadie can deliver her news, Lauren suggests a hike in Yosemite. After taking a wrong turn, mother and daughter are hopelessly lost in the wilderness. While battling the elements, they are forced to confront the feelings of loss and grief. I thoroughly enjoyed this heartwarming story. Losing a child is a horror that I hope to never experience but I remember feeling lost when my daughter moved away to college. Kay Bratt has penned an emotional, fast paced tale of a journey through grief and finding a new normal all while battling the wilderness.
Was this review helpful?
Kay Bratt is an author who creates wonderfully rich, well-developed characters, and who has the ability to transport us mentally and emotionally wherever she wishes us to be.

In Dancing with the Sun Bratt tells the story of the Harlan family, Sadie, Tom, their adopted daughter Lauren, and Jacob, the son they lost when he was eleven. Sadie has been solemnly walking through life, mired in grief, since the death of her son decades ago. She feels that to move on is akin to forgetting him, and she can't bear the thought of that. Her stance has cost her dearly though - she and her husband seem to be leading separate lives and she is ready to ask him for a divorce. As the anniversary of her son's death approaches, Sadie decides to spend the day with their daughter, who, following her first year of college, is interning in Yosemite National Park. 

When Sadie arrives, Lauren talks her into going for a short walk in the park so she can show her mother a beautiful lake. Though another hiker warns them of an unexpected change in the weather, Lauren is confident that they'll be able to walk to the lake and back before the storm comes. If only that were the case! Instead, the two women find themselves lost, in a drenching storm, with no food or water, and few supplies. Night is upon them before they know it. 

Fighting the elements, injuries, illness, and encounters with wild animals, they must rely on each other, using everything they know and all the strength they have to survive. Their dire situation also forces them to come to terms with each other, the death of Jacob, and other events in the past where they have felt apart from each other. 

Dancing with the Sun is a book about strength, resilience and the power of love. A very good read indeed, and one I highly recommend.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?