#Book Review # Shall We Dance? by Shelley Sheppard Gray

Book synopsis:

At twenty-seven, Shannon Murphy has just discovered that she has two sisters she never knew. Now, through Shannon’s loving persistence, the three of them are moving in together above her dance studio in Bridgeport. Shannon is excited to make a home with her sisters and to grow her budding business. Then she meets her newest client–he has all the right muscles, a perfect smile, and a lot of attitude. Will Shannon be able to keep things professional with this charming stranger?

Dylan Lange has a lot on his mind. He’s just been assigned a new partner at his job with the Bridgeport Police, and while he’s busy striving to protect and serve his town, he’s also trying to keep his baby sister out of harm’s way while she heals from her own trauma. And on top of everything else, he’s gone and lost a bet with his buddies, forcing him to take dance lessons. But when he walks into the dance studio to meet his instructor, a young and beautiful brunette with a sweet southern drawl is the last person he expected to find.

Get ready to fall in love again as Shelley Shepard Gray takes us back to Bridgeport, Ohio, where nobody gets left behind and a powerful community helps ordinary men and women to find extraordinary strength inside themselves.

My thoughts:

This is my first book by Shelley Sheppard Gray, but I do love reading series set in small towns and it appears that Bridgeport, Ohio, has already got a fair number of fans. No wonder! Its inhabitants appear to be friendly, sympathetic, honest and hard-working. They also have a fantastic bookstore whose owner can make a mean cup of tea? Tempted to visit it? I know I am.

You dance love, and you dance joy, and you dance dreams.

Gene Kelly


The premise of the book is unusual and moving. Shannon Murphy, an accomplished ballroom dancer from Spartan, West Virginia, and an only child of loving parents who made a lot of sacrifices to help her make her dancing dream come true, discovers that not only was she adopted at an early age, but she also has two sisters. Shannon has a wonderful idea of bringing them all together for a year to live in Bridgeport and share a home together. Traci, a police officer, gets a transfer, while gorgeous Kimber, despite being a New York City girl and a successful model, doesn’t mind moving to a small town in Ohio, if it means the three sisters can get to know each other better. I really enjoy reading books centred around loving families and these girls’ mutual support and understanding was really touching. Not that they didn’t have quite a lot to discover about each other – their common stubbornness to begin with as well as a shocking lack of cooking skills!

Shannon opens her own professional dance studio, which she is determined to make a success with her hard work and passion. When a local police officer becomes her newest client, she wants to convey her serious attitude to dancing lessons straightaway. Dylan Lange is a bit skeptical. You can’t blame him. Dancing lessons are his punishment for having lost a bet, although he is willing to do his best to learn, not only because he finds his instructor exceptionally attractive, but also because he believes in doing things wholeheartedly.

When a body moves, it’s the most revealing thing. Dance for me for a minute, and I’ll tell you who you are.

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Dylan is a complicated character. On one hand, he is a good man who knows what is right and wrong, and knows that in Shannon he has met somebody special. On the other hand, Dylan tends to be overprotective of his sister Jennifer, who is a survivor of a horrific attack and assault. Even two years after the event, she is still unable to leave the house alone, let alone talk to strangers. Jennifer knows her life will never be the same, but she is working hard to regain her strength and independence.Β  It is never easy for family members to help and support victims of crimes like this, and it has been quite hard for Dylan to find the right balance.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain

Vivian Green

It is always difficult to create tension and conflict in a book where almost every character is a good decent person. Dylan makes a hasty judgement and speaks in a very harsh way to both Shannon and Jennifer. While Jennifer’s reaction and decision how to proceed seem absolutely right and natural to me, Shannon’s appear a bit rushed. I would have prefered to see more interaction between Shannon and Dylan to uderstand the development of their feelings and their relationship.

Dare, dream, dance, smile, and sing loudly! And have faith that love is an unstoppable force.

Suzanne Brockmann

The main characters are well-developed and it is clear that the other sisters are also going to get their stories told in the future. Although I felt really partial to Jennifer, I would love to know more about Traci and Kimber, their past before coming to Bridgeport and their new life. We know that Traci was never adopted and went through the foster care system. She is a tough police officer who is adjusting to working in a small town, which is quite different to what she did in her previous job. Kimber remained a bit of a mystery to me, although I liked her sense of humour and easygoing personality.

One of the features that I liked the most about this feel-good book was a wonderful selection of quotes on dancing and how it relates to real life.  I find it hard to pick one favourite, as all of them are entertaining and thought-provoking.

A sweet and heartwarming story of three sisters who are making their life in a new community, Shall We Dance? is an easy and entertaining read which feels a bit like a Hallmark movie. Grab your hot chocolate, get cozy and enjoy!

Thank you to Edelweiss and Blackstone Publishing for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  • Have you read Shall We Dance? or is it on your tbr list?
  • Do you enjoy reading books set in small towns?

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11 Comments

  1. I love books set in small towns! They make me feel so sentimental about the small town I grew up in where everybody knew everyone else’s business πŸ˜› This sounds like quite a good story. I haven’t read many novels with dancing in them so that would be an interesting element to learn more about. Great review! ❀ Jen

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My oh my! You always floor me with your amazing reviews dearest Toni!!! πŸ₯° Would love to share your lovely post on IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE!!! β€οΈπŸ’œπŸ§‘πŸ’›πŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ§‘πŸ’œπŸ’›πŸ’™πŸ’šβ€οΈ

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