Dancing on Broken Glass [NOOK Book]

Overview

A powerfully written novel offering an intimate look at a beautiful marriage and how bipolar disorder and cancer affect it, Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock perfectly illustrates the enduring power of love.

Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let alone gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes—he has bipolar disorder, and she has a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their ...
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Dancing on Broken Glass

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Overview

A powerfully written novel offering an intimate look at a beautiful marriage and how bipolar disorder and cancer affect it, Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock perfectly illustrates the enduring power of love.

Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let alone gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes—he has bipolar disorder, and she has a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy’s twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there’s no denying their chemistry. 

Cautious every step of the way, they are determined to make their relationship work—and they put it all in writing.  Mickey promises to take his medication. Lucy promises not to blame him for what is beyond his control. He promises honesty. She promises patience. Like any marriage, they have good days and bad days—and some very bad days. In dealing with their unique challenges, they make the heartbreaking decision not to have children. But when Lucy shows up for a routine physical just shy of their eleventh anniversary, she gets an impossible surprise that changes everything. Everything. Suddenly, all their rules are thrown out the window, and the two of them must redefine what love really is.

An unvarnished portrait of a marriage that is both ordinary and extraordinary, Dancing on Broken Glass takes readers on an unforgettable journey of the heart.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Thirty-somethings Mickey Chandler and Lucy Houston are married and desperately in love, but like all couples, they have their problems—Mickey is bipolar, and Lucy’s family has a history of breast cancer, which she’s battled once already. In order to preserve their marriage in the face of biological contingencies, they’ve drafted a contract governing their day-to-day lives. However, the rules fail to apply when Lucy discovers that she is pregnant, despite having had a tubal ligation. Three months into the pregnancy, they learn that Lucy’s cancer has returned and spread to her lungs, but she can’t do chemo without having an abortion. She refuses treatment and decides to have the baby. Mickey is devastated at the prospect of losing his wife. In an attempt to prove to Lucy his paternal ineptitude (and convince her to undergo treatment and abort the pregnancy), Mickey begins to act out, blaming it on his bipolarity. So Lucy drafts a contract providing, in the event of her death, for a three-way adoption between Mickey; Lucy’s childless sister, Lily; and Lily’s husband, Ron. Despite an occasional reliance on clichés, Hancock’s debut is an authentic tearjerker—an intimate and touching story that will remain in readers’ hearts. Agent: Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary + Media. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Hancock’s debut is an authentic tearjerker—an intimate and touching story that will remain in readers’ hearts."
Publishers Weekly

"In a world of Nicholas Sparks wannabes, there are an infinite number of ways to get a tear-jerking romance wrong. Ka Hancock’s lovely, heartbreaking debut novel, Dancing On Broken Glass, shows off one great way to get it right. ... She grounds her emotionally wrenching situations in beautifully detailed characters—including the amazing interplay between Lucy and her two sisters—and uses her background in nursing to provide compelling texture for the medical dramas. As those characters struggle to understand the connection between love and mortality, Hancock fills her pages with a rich, optimistic spirituality that never feels oppressive. Get ready for a good, cleansing cry built on real, tangled humanity rather than forced tragedy."
—Salt Lake City Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
An unexpected pregnancy ratchets up the complications for a cancer survivor and her bipolar husband in a three-handkerchief family weepy. Heading off with the character of death on page one of her moral-dilemma debut, Hancock establishes from the outset that she is heading for the emotional jugular. Both her central characters carry genetic predispositions, teacher Lucy Houston to cancer and club-owner Mickey Chandler to mental illness. A multi-clause contract, which includes a ban on children, has safeguarded their 11-year marriage, which is why Lucy, who has had her tubes tied, has mixed feelings about her pregnancy. She has two sisters, childless Lily and bossy Priscilla, and has already survived one serious bout of the disease; Mickey, meanwhile, struggles daily with the risk of mania and has made several trips to the hospital when off his meds. What happens after Lucy is diagnosed with further medical complications is less a plot and more a sequence of character reconfigurations within this schematic scenario. Narrated alternately by Lucy and Mickey, the tale's connective tissue consists of weeping, recriminations, pills, protestations and more weeping, concluding with a final wringing of the reader's exhausted tear ducts via a trifecta of birth, death and Christmas Eve.

A tidily crafted but treacly excavation of misery in the name of higher sentiments.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451637380
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 29,914
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Ka Hancock has two nursing degrees and has spent most of her career working with psychiatric and substance abuse patients. She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and has four children. Dancing on Broken Glass is her first novel. 
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Interviews & Essays

An essay by Ka Hancock

The first thing you should know about me is that I like reading and writing about complicated people. I think they make for great fiction and even better nonfiction. I like real people who make me feel real things. That was the primary goal when I set out to write Dancing on Broken Glass—to compel the reader to feel real things. Dancing on Broken Glass was born of a few bare details that woke me up one night: sisters, cancer, an unplanned pregnancy and a small town that was to become a character in and of itself. This disjointed idea was like a little gift from God—emphasis on little—I could have used a bit more to go on. But what I knew and understood from the start turned out to be just enough. I even count the many false starts, wrong turns, bad prose and revisions as part of the journey that evolved into exactly the story I wanted to tell. That must be my process. No time-saving outline for me (but I really, really wish I could make that work); just a lot of stumbling through discovery until the path becomes clear.

Way back before the first revision, Dancing on Broken Glass was predominantly a story about the aforementioned sisters. The crux, given my few known details, was: one could not have children, and another was never supposed to. That seemed compelling. Ill Sister B would give childless Sister A her baby. But what would motivate her to do that? My heroine was married, so why would she doubt the capability of her own husband? Little did I know how that one question would come to define and enrich my story, not to mention nicely satisfy my affinity for complicated characters.

For me, the adage write what you know became a natural means of authenticating the story. I've come to know that for a writer, nothing is ever wasted. In my case, every good, bad, dull, bizarre, heartbreaking or embarrassing experience sits somewhere in me where it ferments until it surfaces in my writing. Hooray for Mickey Chandler, my bipolarized hero! My day job is working as a nurse in the field of Behavioral Health, so fortuitously I know my way around this diagnosis. I've cared for people in various stages of mental instability and I've been deeply humbled by their challenges. I admire the strength required of them to get up each morning and face those challenges all over again. It's that determination to be the master of one's own life, despite mental illness, despite failures, that has inspired this complex character. All that said, I never relinquished the story of the sisters. It now lies within the larger story and is of women who are flawed and wounded and wholly human.

My heroine, Lucy Chandler, was inspired by women I admire; intelligent women who get a little lost in big things, but are careful with their lives and fiercely protective of the people they love even when those people mow them over. Women who live fully, fearfully, and purposely and cry or laugh or scream themselves to sleep at night because, you know, they're complicated.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Anonymous

    If I could give this book more stars, I would! I absolutely loved it! A wonderful story beautifully written. It's not very often a book like this comes along, but I'm glad it did. I'm also glad that that the author is working on another book. I'm already looking forward to reading her next story. Also, not one time did I have to skip over the F word. Proof that you don't need dirty language in a story. Read this one. You will not be disappointed!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 12, 2012

    Lucy and Mickey both have bad genes--in Lucy's family runs breas

    Lucy and Mickey both have bad genes--in Lucy's family runs breast cancer and Mickey has Bipolar Disorder. So beside all the other rules they have in their marriage, they decided not to have children and Lucy was sterilized. What a surprise to find out after 11 years of marriage that Lucy was pregnant! A pregnancy with complications, but the choices that were made were admirable.

    Ka Hancock beautifully writes Lucy and Mickey's story from the time they met, their wedding, Lucy's first battle with cancer, Mickey's battle with his mental illness. Both characters are so easy to love--and never to forget. I really felt for Mickey. He really wanted to be a good man and husband and then seeing him battle his demons broke my heart at times. I felt respect for Lucy that she was not afraid to love Mickey.

    I had the privilege to read this book a couple of months before it was published, but I still haven't forgotten Lucy and Mickey. I read many books and forget most of what I read, but this story has left a lasting impression.
    This is an author to watch!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    Run don't walk to get this book, you won't regret it!

    I loved, loved, loved this book. I loved the characters in their failablilty. I loved the dynamics of the different relationships. Husband/wife, sisters, neighbors, friends. The portrait of the marriage between Mickey and Lucy was painted beautifully and makes you examine your own relationships and how to make them stronger. A book that makes you think, laugh, and cry. I couldn't put it down. Highly recommend for anyone who has someone they love fiercely when maybe no one else can understand!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    Good Read!

    Could not put it down! Felt so realistic & like you were right there with the characters! Had me at the very first page!
    Could see this becoming an very good movie, too!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2013

    Emotionally devistating

    By far the most wonderful book I have ever read. I cried thru the entire last 100 pages. In fact, I couldn't read it in public because I couldn't keep it together! perfection

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I have to say I loved this book and it was bitter sweet ending b

    I have to say I loved this book and it was bitter sweet ending but I could never get enough of the book... It was sad and happy... LOVED IT.. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 8, 2013

    This is one of the most intruiging books I have read. I never w

    This is one of the most intruiging books I have read. I never wanted to put it down. It shows what real love is. That it is not just a warm, fuzzy feeling but a choice and committment. If I could give it ten stars I most certainly would. I pray she graces us with more wonderful stories.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    Wow

    I really enjoyed this book really tugged on all of my heartstrings

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2013

    Enjoyed the book and learned a lot about what a bi polar person may experience

    Get your hankies out!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Loved this book

    This is by far one of the best books i have read in ages. It makes you step back and think of what it is to truly love. Read it ...you won't be sorry. You wont want it to end.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2013

    True love at its finest. I loved the realness of this book, love

    True love at its finest.
    I loved the realness of this book, love is not perfect. This story showed the many unfair obstacles that life sometimes puts in our paths and how two strong individuals fought through them for the love of one another. This book will bring tears to your eyes as well as many smiles. This is one book you will not regret reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    HIghly recommend

    I found this book to be a most compelling read. The character development by this first time author was simply amazing. The story was poignant, moving, and completely unforgettable. An absolute MUST read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2012

    Highly recommend! A must read!

    Such a wonderful love story. Took a few chapters to really get interested and fully develop the characters. I cried so much my eyes hurt for two days.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    One word describes this book . Wonderful!

    This is such a well written book .
    The emotions it evokes are limitless .
    The characters are wonderful,and although I have been married to a man with a bi-polar disorder Dancing On Broken Glass gave me so much insight as to what he goes through .

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    Not your average read! Will be a favorite :)

    I so enjoyed these characters! The ending was fairly predictable but the two main characters were so very interesting - I learned a lot about bipolar disorder and how it affects every aspect of a persons life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    What a wonderful book! It is so well written. I highly recomme

    What a wonderful book! It is so well written. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I couldn't put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    This story was amazing , couldn't put it down.

    You might think the love story of a bipolar man and a woman with a history of cancer would be depressing and morbid. NOT. The author makes these characters so real and believable. I loved them with all their issues. Reading this book made me a better person and enriched my faith in love and the afterlife.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Loved it

    This book moved me like no other has in a long time. I highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2012

    Beautiful. Absolutely stunning!

    I consider myself an extensive reader, and it is rare that a book comes along that is so significant and powerful as Dancing on Broken Glass. This book kept me captivated on every single page. It is artfully written with truly memorable characters and an absolutely heartbreaking but beautiful story. I fell in love with Brinley and wanted to move right in! I felt true compassion for Lucy and Mickey--I wish I could meet them in real life! I loved that this book made me look inward and examine my own life, ideals, and priorities. It is a truly talented author that can do that, and I look forward to much more from Ka Hancock!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Don't sweat the small stuff...

    First of all you will need to read this book with a box of Kleenex handy, most nights my husband would have a look of worry on his face wondering if he did anything wrong. This novel, really gave us some late night discussions and though this book is fiction you still wonder what if this was happening to me? What would I do?

    The reader is introduced to a wonderful couple Lucy and Mickey who turns out not to be the usual couple. They both come from backgrounds filled faulty genes. Enough so that they both have a contract to prove it. You wonder why they even decided to spend their lives together. The two of them have such an admiration and love for each other that you don't know what would happen if the other one wasn't around. Life happens even when you have it planned out, just sometimes not the way you expect. This novel is about life's decisions and how you coupe with them. It really makes you stop and take a look around and enjoy the small things in life and don't stress over the things you have no control over.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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