“Kim Wright’s charming novel, The Unexpected Waltz, chronicles one woman’s second chance at happiness and an opportunity to find her authentic self. The writing is pitch perfect—this is a winner!” (Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author of The Matchmaker)
From the author of the “sharply written and emotionally accessible” (Kirkus Reviews) debut Love in Mid Air comes this moving novel about a middle-aged woman who regains her balance in life. Kelly Wilder becomes recently widowed from a much older, wealthy man with whom she spent her married life doing charity work, building a lovely home, and, as she says, “pretending to be a whole lot more conservative and stupid and nicer than I really am.”
Now, with too much time and money on her hands, Kelly has absolutely no idea what happens next. So on a whim she signs up for a ballroom dancing class, and slowly, step by high-heeled step, begins to rebuild her life with the help of friends old and new: Nik, a young Russian dance teacher who sees the artistic potential she left behind; Carolina, a woman in hospice, anxious to experience a whole lifetime in a few months; and Elyse, Kelly’s girlhood best friend who knows all of her past secrets—including the truth about the man who long ago broke Kelly’s heart.
In the vein of Jennifer Weiner’s novels, The Unexpected Waltz is a deeply felt story about moving on after loss and finding a new walk—or dance—of life through the power of second chances.
Wealthy widow Kelly is ready for a change, after 20 years of "pretending to be a whole lot more conservative and stupider and nicer than I really am." When she mistakenly wanders into the Canterbury Ballroom, the 52-year-old Charlotte, N.C., belle discovers her new passion: dancing. While frequenting the ballroom, she bonds with Russian migr dance teacher Nik and cancer-stricken, hospice-bound Carolina. Kelly's newfound interest also allows her to come to terms with a long-ago affair, precipitated by her distant relationship with her late husband. For in dance, and in life, Kelly learns, "you have to lose your balance in order to find it." Wright (Love in Mid Air) builds this dance drama and Kelly's painful reinvention with a cast of deftly drawn secondary characters: quirky best friend Elyse and her headstrong daughter Tory, pampered diva Pamela, feared studio owner Anatoly. She then expertly guides us through a moving, layered, and lyrical exploration of transformation.