Have you ever come to the end of a book or a series and felt like you were saying goodbye to a friend? That’s how I felt when I realized that They Danced On is the final book in The Darling Family series. This has been one of my favorite series of all time, and I eagerly waited for the release of each new book. It’s hard even to describe why the Darling family is so appealing. These books aren’t full of mystery, suspense or even romance. They’re basically just the tale of a family. They love each other, but are far from perfect. Throughout the series we’ve seen them struggle, fight, fall in love, deal with disappointment and heartache, and ultimately triumph with the care and support of each other. They Danced On brings the story full circle as they face their hardest battles yet.
Jane Darling is the matriarch of this big, crazy family and she has loved Leander for most of her life. When he faces a serious illness, Jane can only cling to faith that he will be miraculously healed. But her denial his condition only hurts Leander. It takes all of her children working together (and perhaps a little Divine Intervention) to help her see that her husband needs her support now more than ever. Meanwhile, Laura is fighting her own battles in her new home in Arizona. She went there for a fresh start after dealing with substance abuse, but when her new life begins to crumble, Laura has no one to turn to, and her old addictions come calling again. Only a tragedy will bring her to her knees. Nick and Ivy are also having problems with their adopted son, Hammer, and some new anger issues that have arisen with him. Amy and Mitch are slowly building a friendship until the day he’s been one-year sober and they can begin dating. Justice and Sephy are happily serving in Africa as a veterinarian and a nurse/midwife, but they have trials of their own ahead, too. The Darlings will face all of these problems head-on with the same courage and determination that they’ve always had—and with the love and support of family.
While I hate to see this series end, I think this book was the perfect way to complete the Darlings’ story. And even though we thought some of the characters got their happy ending in the precious books, they aren’t finished yet. Real life doesn’t always have happy endings, and some of the Darlings will find that out. I guess that’s part of the appeal of this series. The Darling family could be your family, or your neighbors, or people from your church. None of them are perfect, but they’re always there for each other.
This book has a lot of happy and sad moments, and even some heartbreaking ones. The epilogue is literally one of the best endings I’ve ever read. I actually closed the book and cried. The only negative thing I can say is that I wish this book had more of Sephy, since she’s my favorite character, but that’s just personal preference, and not a true negative. I dare you to read The Darling Family series and not fall in love with their family. However, definitely don’t start here! You absolutely MUST begin with All Right Here and Better All the Time. Fortunately for me, I love the cover art on all of these books, so they earned a place on my physical shelf instead of the digital one!
Even though The Darling Family has ended, I truly hope that Carre Armstrong Gardner will write many more books in the future. I plan to read them all! I love her style, and how she writes about every day, ordinary things in a way that makes them seem extraordinary. I highly recommend this wonderful series.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own and a favorable review was not required.