Dancing with the Sun

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

DANCING WITH THE SUN by Kay Bratt explores grief, survival, faith, renewal, and love in an exciting adventure at Yosemite National Park.

Sadie’s husband is once again off camping, leaving her home alone. Not that she minds being alone. She seems to just exist these days, especially since her adopted daughter Lauren is away at college.

But this is the celebration of the day they brought Lauren home from China. Tom seems to be even more distant and she has no idea where he’s at. Plus, his favorite slippers and more than a normal amount of his clothes are gone. Has he moved out and on to someone else?

Sadie spontaneously books a flight to go see her daughter, who is interning in California at Yosemite National Park during college. She surprises her with a request to pick her up at the airport, not even considering that her daughter might have other plans. Will Lauren remember this is her special day?

Tom and Sadie were so in love when they started the adoption proceedings for Lauren. They knew instantly she was meant to be their daughter and would make them a happy family of four. During the long process of the adoption, they tragically lose their eleven-year-old son, Jacob, in a camping accident.

Sadie secretly blames Tom for their son’s death, almost as much as she blames herself. Tom urges her to seek counseling, but Sadie lives on in her grief, filling the years caring for their daughter.

When Sadie arrives in California, Lauren surprises her with a stop at Yosemite for a hike she insists they take. She has news for her mom and wants to tell her when they reach their destination. Sadie just wants her hotel and a shower to ease the aches of travel from her Fibromyalgia. Besides, she has avoided the outdoors since Jacob’s death.

Sadie begs Lauren to reconsider but she’s determined. She wants to share her news with her mom here. Sadie has news, too, but she’s sure Lauren isn’t going to like it. What child at any age appreciates hearing their parents are splitting up?

Lauren wins the argument and grabs her backpack, insisting they don’t need much for this short walk. Sadie grabs a bottle of water, her mace, and some gum. Little do they know that this little walk will change their lives forever.

Sadie holds on to her grief like armor. Although she loves her daughter and tried to make her life perfect, she never takes true joy from anything. Lauren grew up experiencing the outdoors with her dad. She loves both her parents but doesn’t really know her mom.

This little walk in the woods will test their endurance and their faith. In each other, as much as in God. As the two women try to survive an accident, they realize how much they have to live for – if only they can find their way out of the wilderness.

My thoughts and ramblings…

Last year was a tough year for me and books like this one got me through it. Unfortunately, my creative voice was held captive, struggling to remember what I read and then, what to say about it. I take my review promises seriously. I love the privilege of reading books prior to publication in order to spread the word to other readers. It’s my passion.

But sometimes life throws you lemons and you just have to figure out the easiest way to make lemonade. That was me last year as I struggled with chronic pancreatitis, enduring five trips to the emergency room. I had no idea what I was suffering from – it was diagnosed as food allergies, but the allergist couldn’t figure it out. Finally, I discovered it was margarine – something many restaurants use in their cooking.

I use butter or sunflower oil at home, sparingly, because I faced one acute episode of pancreatitis years ago, when a doctor overdosed me on calcium and I almost died. Unknowingly, I had an underlying illness called hyperparathyroidism that caused my calcium depletion the doctor tried to fix. Exploratory surgery healed me, but I’m still careful. Who knew that a pancreas could be enraged by margarine, or that restaurants use this processed food nightmare? I do now!

So, it was during one of these many episodes that I read this book the first time, and then promptly forgot to write any notes, or my final thoughts in order to write the review. I knew I loved it, but what to say? Which is why I read it again. And I loved it just as much, even though I knew how it would end.

The characters’ tension in dealing with being lost in the wilderness is some of the best part of the book. That says a lot that I enjoyed reading it again, when I knew all their answers to their problems. It was still exciting reliving it with them.

I’m rating this book as high as I can because there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like. It’s wilderness survival – my favorite theme. It has good emotion, even if it’s not a romance in the strictest terms. It is about relationships – Lauren’s mom and dad’s rocky marriage, as well as Lauren’s growing relationship with her boyfriend. But that’s not the focus. The mother/daughter growth was the highlight. Overcoming grief was a huge part of this book, so if you’re recovering yourself, tread lightly. It’s positive in the end, but it’s also heartrending.

The second time I read this, I realized how much I had in common with the characters. Like Lauren’s mom, I have Fibromyalgia. Like Lauren and Tom, I love the outdoors, plus hiking and camping. Sadie knows how her illness messes with activities like hiking, and I do, too. Although I haven’t let it stop me from doing everything I love, it does limit me from realizing my dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail.

I understand the pain Sadie feels and how she overcomes it to save herself and her daughter. I think it’s that same endurance and hope that has brought me through my health issues. Let alone the strength I’ve needed facing my husband’s stage four cancer diagnosis. We’re finally both headed to recovery, thank God!

Thanks to Barbara Claypole White for reviewing this book first, and putting this pretty cover in my face, so I’d pay attention. I get so many great book suggestions from Barbara, who also writes great books!

Kay Bratt writes stories that delve deep into her characters’ heart and soul. She made me cry both times I read this book, but it was a cathartic cry. Her special talent of taking what I think and feel, then putting it on paper, brings me great joy. I can feel the wilderness around me as if I’m there. That’s such a great gift to someone who has always dreamed of thru-hiking, knowing my body will never survive it.

So, write-on Kay Bratt – I’ll keep dreaming of adventures through your books. DANCING WITH THE SUN is a beautiful journey through what makes us human. All our fears and emotion make us who we are, but we have to remember to dance with the sun. Maybe that’s why sunflowers are my favorite, and Kay Bratt is a new favorite new-to-me author.

Review by Dorine, courtesy of TheZestQuest.com. For another great book by Kay Bratt, read WISH ME HOME.
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This was a quick but very engaging read!  Great for a summer afternoon or a beach read!  This is a story about a mother, Sadie and her daughter, Lauren.  They go on a hike and suddenly are lost off the path.  This story takes you through the emotions and you can feel what Sadie and Lauren are feeling.  A great story about overcoming obstacles.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Dancing with the Sun is a beautiful poignant novel of loss, bewilderment, soul-searching, fear, victories, love and family. How do you handle grief?  Do you shut out those around pretending everything is fine or do you just find ways to keep moving forward?  This story is full over adventure and wonder. 

Kay Bratt has you running the gamut of emotions while reading this book. It’s beautiful and sad, wonderful and a bit scary. The incredible words and that give you visuals so you actually feel as you are part of the story is incredible. 

I personally loved this book. From the imagery to the immense feelings this is truly a book that needs to and should be read. I highly recommend this book to everyone!

Thank #netgalley and #lakeunionpublishing for allowing me to read this book for a fair and honest review.
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I really enjoyed this book. It was a great story with lovable characters. This was the first time I read a book by Kay Bratt and I look forward to others. I will recommend this book to a friend.
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Dancing with the Sun is beautiful, a mother-daughter story of amazing survival,  second chances, and forgiveness. I was enthralled from the first few pages and read it late into the night. I can't recommend it enough.  Emotional, heart pumping at times to transformative and full of love.  I loved it!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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! 📚
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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.
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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.
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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!!
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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