Dancing in the Rain by Eileen Rife & Jennifer Slattery (Review, Excerpt & #Giveaway)

Read my review, as well as an excerpt, and enter to win a copy of your own below...

Dancing in the Rain
By Eileen Rife & Jennifer Slattery
Christian Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 342 Pages
June 4th 2018 by Slattery and Rife


Loni Parker, a music major struggling to find employment, seeks refuge at Camp Hope only to encounter the man who took her sight.

On the verge of college graduation, Loni Parker seeks employment as a music teacher, but no one will hire her since she’s blind. Or so she thinks. To take her mind off her troubles, her roommate invites her to spring retreat at Camp Hope in the gorgeous North Carolina mountains. Unbeknown to Loni, Michael Ackerman, the director, is an ex-con responsible for the accident that caused her blindness. When Loni warms up to camp and wants to return as a summer counselor, Michael opposes the idea, which only makes Loni want to prove herself all the more. Though she doesn’t expect to fall for the guy. Still, her need for independence and dream of teaching win out, taking her far away from her beloved Camp Hope . . . and a certain director.

Camp director Michael Ackerman recognizes Lonie instantly and wants to avoid her at all costs. Yet, despite the guilt pushing him from her, a growing attraction draws him to the determined woman. She sees more with her heart than the average person does with his eyes. But her presence also dredges up a long-buried anger toward his alcoholic father that he’d just as soon keep hidden. When circumstances spin out of control, Michael is forced to face a past that may destroy his present.

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My Review

DANCING IN THE RAIN is a contemporary romance that focuses on faith and conversion, mostly set at a ministry camp for troubled teens and adults. There is a sense of camaraderie between those at camp who have known each other and developed friendships. There is also some complex family dynamics. The heroine's blindness and her and the hero's baggage add another level of complexity to the story. All of these add a level of depth to this sweet romance. Those who enjoy a strong inspirational element to their stories and a story of hope will enjoy this one.

I just couldn't imagine how tough it would be to be blind and just starting out on a career. Loni received rejection after rejection, but she keeps trying. She is rather fierce in places and quite vulnerable in others, such as in romance. I got so used to her POV at times that I even thought of others as blind, especially as they describe things for Loni. It was kind of interesting that this story had that affect. I really loved Michael. He has his own demons, but he is such a great guy. I loved how patient he was with Loni and others. They make a really great pair and I loved the awareness between them that, as a reader, I could feel. I also really enjoyed the friendships in this story and the way the family relationships were unique and suited to each situation.

I did have a few issues with the story. I felt like Loni was so determined and stubborn in some ways that it actually hindered her. Although, I also understood why she might feel as she did. I think it just frustrated me when she was practically leading Michael on and having all these feelings for him and then was in complete denial over and over. I think I would have liked it if she just would have accepted how she felt, but decided that she needed to pursue something anyway and then come back to it. Then when things progress with their friendship, it's like they go from zero to sixty in two minutes. I wanted a little more development there, but maybe that's the romantic in me. The story is also really heavy on the inspirational front (and I like mine on the lighter side or more woven through instead of constant). Lots of written out prayers, lots of conversion steps, some parts working on training characters to convert as counselors, etc. So this isn't a story for those who like their inspirational stories on the lighter side.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was an overall enjoyable story about faith, hope, loss, and love.

Content: Some domestic abuse.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.



The letter was probably one more rejection Loni could add to all the others crumpled in her trash. Maybe she could start a bonfire. Or build a monument—1,000 reasons why no one wanted to hire Loni Parker.

No, scratch that. There was only one reason, and it was as evident as the sunglasses on her face. Her parents always taught her not to let her blindness get in the way of her dreams. If only the rest of society held that same sentiment.

No matter how smart, talented, or capable she was ...

But maybe . . .

She propped her cane by the bed and sat, her stomach fluttering. “Go ahead. Open it.”

Deidra’s desk chair squeaked, followed by the faint sound of tearing paper.

“Wait.” Loni inhaled a deep breath, released it slowly. “I’m not sure I can handle another set back.”

“Positive vibes, remember? Only positive vibes. For all you know, this envelope could contain the job offer of your dreams.”

“Right.” Loni wiped a sweaty palm on her pants’ leg. “And ten years from now I won’t be mooching off my parents and working odd jobs for minimum wage.” She flicked her hand. “Go ahead. No sense delaying the inevitable.”

Paper rustled, followed by silence.

Loni fought the urge to scream. “What’d I tell you?”

“I’m sorry, Lon. They said—”

“I know.” She switched into her old maid tone, making a face to match. “Thank you for your desire to partner with Alton Prep High School. Although your credentials and experience are quite impressive, we have received a great number of highly qualified applicants. We regret to inform you that you have not been selected for the job of lead music teacher.”

Deidra’s familiar vanilla scent filled Loni’s nose as her roommate sat next to her and placed an arm around her shoulder. “I’m sorry.”

“I can’t believe I wasted five years.” She slipped from Deidra’s embrace and moved to her electric piano. She slid her fingers down the keyboard in a dramatic flourish. The notes soothed her as much now as they had on those sorrowful nights after she’d lost her sight. Out of all the gifts God had given man, music had to be the most comforting. As the vibrations faded, she walked the seven steps to the window and stretched her neck toward the warmth of the sun.

“You haven’t wasted five years,” Deidra said.

“Then why won’t anyone hire me?” John Thompson, her guide dog, pressed his wet nose against her hand. Leaning forward, she scruffed the soft fur between his ears.

“Jobs are hard to come by these days, especially for someone fresh out of college.”

“Particularly blind ones.” She rubbed her arms and moved away from the window.

Laughing voices passed outside their dormroom, likely other students discussing job offers or future plans. Plans to find independence, to make something of themselves.

“That’s ridiculous,” Deidra said.

“Is it?” She ran her hand over the bed and sat. A cozy puddle of warmth created by the sun soothed her.

“People don’t discriminate against the handicapped anymore.”

“You’d be surprised. Someone once said to me, ‘Ya know, if you could see, you’d be pretty much normal.’”

Deidra laughed. “Sorry. But when were you ever normal?”

“Thanks.” Loni raised an eyebrow in mock annoyance. “Seriously, though, all I want to do is teach music to kids. There’s got to be openings somewhere.”

“Why don’t you go the performance route? Hit the professional music scene?”

When Loni didn’t respond, Deidra nudged her arm. “You’re an awesome pianist. Why, you rival Derek Paravicini. All you have to do is listen to a song once and you’ve got it. Imagine the gigs you could get with your talent.”

“Hah! You really think performing for a living would be easier?”

“When were you ever about easy? The Loni I know and love goes after what she wants.”

“Correction. What God wants.” Her shoulders slumped. “I hope.”

“Then trust Him. In His time and in His way, He’ll open the right door for you.”

“I love it when you give pat answers.” She leaned back and hugged her leg to her chest.

“God’s got something awesome planned for you, Loni. Don’t give up.”

“Who said I was?” A musical jingle filled the air as her laptop sputtered to life. “I have no intention of quitting, if that’s what you think. If anything, every closed door makes me more determined to prove blind women can teach kids music.”

“That’s the spirit!” Deidra crossed the room. The closet door squeaked, releasing the scent of cedar chips. “Hey,” her voice diminished to a muffle “I know the perfect thing to take your mind off things.”

“No more blind dates.”

Deidra chuckled. “That’s not what I had in mind.”

“What then?”

“I’m going to sweep you away for spring retreat at Camp Hope.”

“Where? What are you talking about?”

“You know, where I’ve counseled in the past.” Deidra’s voice grew louder as she emerged from the closet. She gently spun Loni’s chair. “This might be my last time going. Who better to share it with than my best friend?”

“What about the Rickster? Won’t he feel left out?”

“Oh, he’ll be in New York discussing details about his internship at that firm.” She clapped her hands. “So, it’s perfect. Our last big thing before we part ways.”

“You’re so dramatic. We’ll see each other again.” I hope. She twirled her chair and touched a key.

“Yeah, but it’ll be harder.”

Because once Deidra wed, Loni would become the third wheel. And while Deidra started her future—got married, moved into the perfect little house to rear perfect little kids, it appeared Loni would be moving home. With her parents. Not exactly the step up she’d been looking for.

She pinched the bridge of her nose. “Tighten the faucet, will you?” The constant drip didn’t seem to bother anyone else, but it irritated her to pieces.

Deidra padded to the bathroom shared by two dorm rooms, still dispensing information about her marvelous Camp Hope. The enormous campfires, horses, climbing wall, go-carts, and amazingly handsome camp director.

“Come on, Loni, what do you say? It’ll be fun. You’ll meet other college students, from all over the country most likely. Seriously, what do you have to lose?”

Loni sighed. “Fine. I’ll check the place out.” A rich, buttery smell clung to the air, causing her stomach to growl. “I smell popcorn. Let’s go see if we can grab us some.”

All decisions came easier after a healthy dose of comfort food.
About the Authors

"Healing words for hurting hearts," is how Eileen Rife describes her books. Whether through fiction or nonfiction, Eileen wants readers to come away with love that extends beyond themselves, faith that can see the impossible, and hope that endures against all odds.

An alumna of Christian Writers Guild, Eileen has published several fiction and nonfiction books, written newsletters, a marriage column, and over ten church dramas. Her byline has appeared in magazines, such as Discipleship Journal, Marriage Partnership, Mature Living, Christian Home & School, Drama Ministry, and ParentLife, as well as other print and online publications.

Her current project is a Missionary Kid series inspired by her daughter and granddaughters. Her hope in creating these children's books is that kids will enjoy an entertaining story with a meaningful message while learning what it's like to live and serve in another country.

Eileen and husband, Chuck, a licensed professional counselor and marriage/family therapist conduct marriage seminars for churches and organizations internationally. They have three married children and nine grandchildren, all serving the Lord around the world.

Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers. Her debut, "Beyond I Do", releases in August. She also writes Christian Living articles for Crosswalk.com and devotions for her personal blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud; Internet Cafe Devotions; and Takin' it to the Streets', a ministry serving Omaha Metro's working poor and homeless.

When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, hanging out at the mall with her teenage daughter, enjoying her real-life hero husband, or serving in her church or community.


1 ebook copy of DANCING IN THE RAIN
Provided by Jennifer Slattery
Open internationally
Ends July 13th

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