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John and Abby are ready to call it quits. But is it ever too late to love?
They're the perfect couple—envied by their friends, cherished by their children, admired by their peers. But John and Abby Reynolds know they're just pretending to be happy. In fact, they're waiting for the right time to tell the kids they're going to divorce. But at the family meeting where they plan to tell their children, Nicole shares a surprise of her own: she's ...
John and Abby are ready to call it quits. But is it ever too late to love?
They're the perfect couple—envied by their friends, cherished by their children, admired by their peers. But John and Abby Reynolds know they're just pretending to be happy. In fact, they're waiting for the right time to tell the kids they're going to divorce. But at the family meeting where they plan to tell their children, Nicole shares a surprise of her own: she's getting married. How can they spoil her joy with their announcement?
They can pretend a little longer—until after the wedding. But questions begin to haunt them as the date draws nearer. What happened to the love and commitment that held them together for so long? Is it still there somewhere under all the pain and misunderstanding? And is it still possible, alone in the moonlight on an old wooden pier, to once more find . . . a time to dance?
The first novel in Karen Kingsbury's celebrated series about the resiliency of love, the power of commitment, and the amazing faithfulness of God.
Without question, it was the moment Abby Reynolds had waited for all her life.
Beneath the Friday-night lights in the biggest college stadium in the state of Illinois, Abby's husband was on the brink of winning his second high-school football championship. Moreover he was about to do so largely on the talents of their older son, the team's senior quarterback.
Abby pulled her blue-and-gray Marion Eagles jacket tighter to her body and wished she'd brought a thicker scarf. It was early December, after all, and though snow hadn't fallen for more than a week, the air was biting cold. "Football weather," John always said. Cold and dry, straight from heaven. She stared beyond the lights to the starry sky. Even God is rooting for you tonight, John.
Her gaze fell across the field, and she picked out her husband on the sidelines, headset angled just so, body bent over, hands on his knees as he waited for the play to unfold. She could remember a million afternoons when his eyes had sparkled with laughter, but here, now, they were hard and focused. His face was the picture of concentration, lined with the intensity of the moment as he barked commands in a dozen directions. Evenfrom her place high up in the packed stands, Abby could feel the energy that emanated from John in the final minutes of this, his most prized football game.
No doubt about it, coaching was his gift.
And this was his finest hour.
If only everything else hadn't gotten so—
"Come on, Eagles. You can do it!" Abby's daughter, Nicole, clapped her hands and gritted her teeth, holding tighter to her boyfriend, Matt's, hand, every ounce of her energy focused on her younger brother.
Tears nipped at Abby's eyes, and she blinked them back. If only I could freeze time, here and now ... She turned and squeezed her father's knee. "I can feel it, Dad. They're gonna win."
Her father, an old man who barely resembled the dad she'd grown up with, raised a shaky fist partway into the freezing night. "You can do it, Kade!" His hand dropped weakly back into his lap.
Abby patted her father's limp arm and then cupped her hands around her mouth. "Make it count, Kade. Come on!" Her fingers tightened into fists, and she tapped them in a fast, steady beat against her knees. Please, Lord, let him have this.
After tonight there were bound to be few moments of light for any of them.
"I kinda hate to see it end." Her father grinned at her through wet eyes. "All those years of football together. The boy's amazing. Plays just like his father."
Abby focused her gaze on her son and the corners of her mouth lifted. "He always has."
"Mom, isn't it weird?" Nicole leaned her head on Abby's shoulder.
"What, honey?" Abby took her daughter's free hand and resisted the urge to close her eyes. It felt so good, sitting here in the thrill of the moment, surrounded by family ...
"This is Kade's last high-school game." Nicole's voice was thick, filled with tender indignation, as though she'd only now realized a loss she hadn't prepared for. "Just like that, it's over. Next year he'll be at Iowa, and it won't be the same."
A stinging sensation made its way across Abby's eyes again, and she struggled to swallow. If only you knew, sweetheart ... "It never is."
Nicole stared down at the field. "I mean, this is it. After tonight he'll never play for Dad again." She glanced at the scoreboard. "All those practices and games, and in a few minutes it'll be over. Just a box full of memories and old newspaper articles."
The lump grew thicker. Not now, Nicole. Let me enjoy the moment. Tears clouded Abby's vision. Come on, get a grip. Life is full of endings. She squeezed her daughter's hand and uttered a short laugh. "We're supposed to be cheering, remember? They haven't won yet."
Nicole stuck her chin out and shouted as loud as she could. "Go, Eagles, come on! You can do it!"
Abby's eyes moved toward the field where Kade was at the center of the huddle, relaying his father's plays to the team. Third down and eight, twenty-five yards to go for a touchdown. There was just over a minute to play, and Marion was up by three. This touchdown—and Abby could feel in her gut that there would be a touchdown—would seal the win.
"Let's go, Eagles!" Abby clapped her mittened hands together and stared intently at the field as the play unfolded. Come on, Kade. Nice and easy. Like a hundred times before ...
Her strapping son took the snap and, with practiced grace, found his place in the pocket, searching downfield until he saw his target. Then, in the fluid motion that comes from being the talented son of a storied football coach, he fired the ball, threading it through two menacing defenders to land, almost like magic, in the hands of a Marion receiver.
The home crowd was on its feet.
Over the din of ten thousand screaming fans, the announcer explained the situation: the Eagles had a first and goal on the three-yard line with less than a minute to play.
The opposing team called a time-out, and Abby breathed in slowly. If she could savor this moment, bottle it up or capture it forever, she would. Hadn't they dreamed of this time and place since Kade was born, first joking about it and then realizing with each passing year the chance of it actually happening? Dozens of yesterdays fought for her attention. The first time she saw John in a football uniform ... the way his eyes loved her as they spoke their wedding vows and toasted to forever ... Nicole playing in the backyard ... the gleam in four-year-old Kade's eyes when he got his first football ... the thrill of Sean's birth seven years later ... years of meeting on the pier at the end of the day ... the music that they—
A whistle blew, and the players took their positions.
Abby swallowed hard. Her family had spent a lifetime getting here—two decades of memories, many of them centered around a white-lined, hundred-yard field of mud and grass.
The crowd remained on its feet, but despite the deafening noise there was a quiet place in Abby's heart where she could hear her children's long-ago laughter, see the way John and the kids tickled and tackled on the Marion High field every day when practice was over. For years John had known instinctively how to involve their children in his role as coach, how to put the game behind him at day's end. The image and voices changed, and the stadium noise was only a distant roar.
"Dance with me, Abby ... dance with me."
There they were, on the pier. Dancing the dance of life, swaying to the sound of crickets and creaking boards long after the kids were asleep on nights when summer seemed like it might last forever.
A gust of wind sent a chill down her arms, and she blinked back the fading visions of yesterday. No matter how he'd betrayed her, no matter what happened next, there would never be a better father for her children than John Reynolds.
Another memory rang in her mind. She and John on the lake, adrift in an old fishing boat a year after Kade was born. "One day, Abby, one day Kade'll play for me, and we'll go to state. All the way, honey. We'll have everything we ever dreamed of and nothing will stop us. Nothing ..."
Now—in what seemed like the blink of an eye—they were here.
Kade took the snap and raised the ball.
Come on, Kade. It's yours, honey. "Go, Eagles!" she screamed.
The ball flew from Kade's hands like a, bullet, spiraling through the winter night much the way Kade himself had flown through their lives, a blur of motion. Come on, catch it ... Abby watched as Kade's best friend, T. J., the team's tight end, jumped for the ball. Fitting, she thought. Like the perfect ending to a perfect movie. And she realized that everything about Kade and John and their football days—even this final play—had somehow been destined from the beginning.
It all seemed to be happening in slow motion ...
T. J. wrapped his fingers around the ball, pulled it to his chest, and landed squarely in the end zone.
"Touchdown!" Abby's heart soared and she leapt up and down, her fists high in the air. "I can't believe it! We did it! We won!" She pulled her father and Nicole into a hug and high-fived ten-year-old Sean three seats down the row. "State champs! Can you believe it?"
On the field the players kicked the extra point and then lined up for the kickoff. Fifteen seconds more and the Marion Eagles would be state champs. The Reynoldses' father-and-son team would forever be part of Illinois prep football lore.
John, you did it ... you and Kade.
In honor of everything they'd ever been—of the beacon of light that had been their love, their family—Abby felt nothing but pure, unhindered joy for her husband.
Two tears spilled from the corners of her eyes and burned their way down her freezing cheeks.
Not now, Abby. Not when it's supposed to be a celebration. The crowd was shouting in unison: "Five ... four ... three ... two...."
As the stands emptied onto the field, a swirling blue-and-gray mass of celebration, Abby's father hooted like he hadn't since he'd been relegated to a nursing home. Sean bounced along behind Nicole and Matt as they rushed down the stairs to join the others.
Abby sat frozen in place, soaking in the moment. She searched the crowd until she found John, watched as he ripped off his headset and ran like a madman to meet Kade. Their hug put Abby over the edge, and the tears came in quiet streams. John pulled their son into a solid embrace that shut out everyone else: teammates, coaches, members of the press. Everyone but each other. Kade gripped his helmet in one hand and his father's neck with the other.
Then it happened.
While Abby was still savoring the moment, Charlene Denton came up behind John and threw her arms around his shoulders. A rock took up residence in Abby's stomach and began to grow. Not now ... here in front of everyone we know. John and Charlene were easily fifty yards from Abby, but it made no difference. She could see the way the scene played out as clearly as if she were standing beside them. Her husband pulled away from Kade and turned to hug Charlene briefly. There was something about the way John brought his head close to hers and kept his hand on her shoulder that conveyed his feelings for Charlene. Feelings he had long had for her. Charlene Denton, fellow teacher at Marion High, John's greatest stumbling block.
Abby blinked, and suddenly everything good and memorable and nostalgic about the night felt cheap and artificial, like something from a bad movie. Even the tenderest thoughts couldn't stand against the reality in front of her.
Abby's father saw them, too, and he cleared his throat. "I'll be fine here by myself, honey. You go be with John."
She shook her head, but her gaze never left her husband and Charlene. "No, I'll wait."
Her eyes were dry now, and anger pulsed through her, glazing her heart with hard, empty bitterness. Get away from him, lady. This is our moment, not yours. Abby stared at Charlene, hating her. John's voice echoed in her heart once more, but this time his words had nothing to do with dancing.
And everything to do with divorce.
This was the weekend they'd agreed to tell the kids. The weekend they would shatter their family's mistaken belief that Abby and John were perhaps the most happily married people in all the world. Abby sighed. No matter how it felt to see John with Charlene, the reality was he could talk to the teacher or any other woman for that matter. In a few months, John would be single, after all. As would Abby. She hugged herself tightly, trying to will away the nausea that swirled around inside her. Why does it still hurt, Lord?
No magic answers came to mind, and Abby wasn't sure if she wanted to disappear or bolt down onto the field and join them so that Charlene would feel too uncomfortable to stay.
I thought I was past this, God. We've already agreed to move on. What's happening to me? Abby tapped her foot against the concrete stadium floor and shifted positions, hating the way the other woman seemed unfettered, lovely and young and without the burdens of two decades of marriage. What was this feeling assaulting her? Jealousy?
No, it felt more like regret. Abby's pulse quickened. It couldn't be, could it? What was there to regret? Hadn't they both realized the place they were in, the place they were headed?
Or was this how it would always feel to see John with another woman?
Her vision clouded over, and again she heard John's voice from long ago. "Dance with me, Abby ... dance with me."
The silent words faded from her mind and she blinked back fresh tears. One thing was certain: if this was how being divorced was going to feel, she'd better get used to it.
No matter how much she hated it.
Excerpted from A Time to Dance by Karen Kingsbury Copyright © 2006 by Karen Kingsbury. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted October 17, 2012
Out of 33 reviews,9 are plot spoilers and tell everything about the book. Why do you plot spoiling posters feel the need to reveal every detail of the book? The overview tells us all we need to know. We do not need vain, egotistical posters like you that dissect every sentence. Heck, one poster even said she took notes! That is obsessive and just plain weird. Just tell if you liked it or not and stop writing dissertations.
26 out of 34 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 3, 2012
This book is the most inspirational book Ive ever read in my life. Its definitely a great book for married couples who fall into daily lives and forget to stay close. While I was reading this book I felt as if she was following me around for the last two years of my life and writing about it. It was motivational and inspirational. I just can't say enough A MUST read!
7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 6, 2011
They had a love everyone thought would last a lifetime. John and Abby Reynolds were the picture perfect couple, with a marriage people only dreamed of. To Abby and John the love they once shared feels like just a dream. The relationship that seemed destined by God, the powerful connection physically, emotionally, and spiritually is falling apart. Divorce seems like the only option. Knowing the news is going to bring a devastating blow to family and friends, John and Abby decide to have a family meeting with their children to break the news. But when Nicole, their oldest daughter announces some special news of her own Abby and John realize they can't ruin their only daughters happiness. But can they pretend to be the happy couple they once were, the couple everyone thinks they are, for six more months?
When I requested to review this book, I thought half of it was going to be about the couple fighting while the other half was going to be about them learning to love each other again. You know, the usual christian fiction about divorce.
So I have to say hats off to Mrs. Kingsbury! What a wonderful job! She really struck a cord in my heart! During chapter eighteen I literally had to stop and collect myself, after bawling like a baby, in order to continue reading. This book brought a lot of deep emotions to the surface for me. With divorce being the norm today when a marriage isn't working, especially with celebrities, this book makes you feel like there is a light in the darkness. Hope. I am a single woman and was content with my lifestyle until I finished a Time to Dance. It made me believe that true love is worth finding. I definitely recommend this book to everyone. I absolutely loved loved loved it! And I really want a chance to read Book Two a Time to Embrace. I was given a complimentary copy of this book by booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.
3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 30, 2011
This is the 3rd Karen Kingsbury book I have read, this one was just okay. Plot was predictable and a bit drawn out, will likely read the 2nd book in this series. Previously read "Unlocked", that one was a 5 star book that I could not put down.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 3, 2010
This book is about your all American christian family.They have been married for 21 years and have 3 kids.John is a football coach at his sons high school and Abby is a stay at home mom who writes reviews for magazines. They had a very strong marriage and family but it all falls apart when John starts an affair with another teacher at the High school. On the road to divorce their daughter announces she is getting married in 6 months on John and Abby's wedding anniversary.They are torn in two.They slowly go back to all the wonderful memories they once had and the love they once shared.Once they seek God the pieces slowly get put back together.This novel takes you right into the life of a family having marital problems and into their thoughts as it all unravels.
This book was great I couldn't put it down!I cannot wait for the opportunity to read another Karen Kingsbusry novel.The timeless love series is fabulous!This book really shows you how God can change your life for the better and teaches the power of forgiveness.I would defiantly recommend this book to family and friends.Once you start reading it you wont be able to put it down, I know I couldn't!
I got this book for free courtesy of the booksneeze program.This review is strictly my opinion.
2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 17, 2012
I'm only 15 years old, and my grandmother gave me this book and suggested l read it. It was alright, but much too old for me. 18+ years old. I might even go as far to say "book for married women". It's very clean of course (duh it's Karen Kingsbury!), but the whole storyline and purpose for the book is definately NOT for teenagers. Just a warning! God bless y'all!.....side note; if you are a teen girl looking for a great Christian fiction, check Janette Oke books! I've read all of her books! Some are better than others. Love Comes Softly series, Seasons of the Heart series, A Gown of Spainish Lace, and Roses For Mama are my personal favorites! :)
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2011
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Posted February 12, 2011
If you like Karen Kingsbury this is definately 1 to read. It will make you laugh and cry as all of her books do. This was the 1st book I read on my Nook and loved it. Can't wait to read "A Time to Embrace" which continues this story.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 2, 2010
A Time to Embrace is part of the Timeless Love series, and is built on the idea that there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1 - 8). John and Abby, who met as young children, are on the brink of divorce. John's affections have began to stray to a colleague, and Abby has drifted away as well. As they struggle with when to tell their children (with events happening that prolong their announcement), both begin to slowly and subtly question what it is they are about to do. Their daughter, Nicole, announces her own engagement, pushing back the announcement even more. Nicole and her fiance Matt decide that they will marry on John and Abby's anniversary because they want a love like the Reynolds'. What follows is the work of God in John and Abby's hearts, and the most important decision they will ever make - to stay married or to divorce. They must work through issues of trust, commitment, and most of all, faith in God.
On the surface, this book touched me because I know people whose lives and choices mirror John and Abby. I could see their faces, their names, as I read instead of the Reynolds'. It was sometimes hard to read it because of that. But I enjoyed the story and thought it was wonderfully done. It wasn't mushy, wasn't cheesy - nothing I've associated with Christian literature previously. The one thing that did kind of get on my nerves after a while were all of the italicized quotes from God. Both John and Abby heard God speak to them. While I believe God speaks to people, it was kind of overkill to me as a reader. It could be more an aesthetic thing than anything else, but it was the one black mark against the novel.
1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 15, 2015
What a beautiful, thought- provocating, and well written story. It touched the very depth of my heart and soul. So very glad the Reynoldes family could solve their problems with God's help. I loved the story. LA-TXNWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2014
Karen Kingsbury gives an amazing example of what marriage and love should be, and how quick it can get away from us if we do not protect and honor it. Using a fictional story, she shows just how important a marriage can unravel if you look at it as what can the other person is or isn't doing for me instead of what can I do, how can I serve the other. Karen is an amazing author who hooks you from the first page and I promise you will not be able to put it down! It is so encouraging to be able to read an incredibly well written story, and be able to apply it to the Christian life as well. Karen truly does write life changing fiction!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 3, 2014
Posted August 16, 2014
I am 3 chapters in, and between the boring, drawn out story line and the bad spelling and punctuation, I don't think I can take much more. Don't these companies employ editor's for that kind of thing. I guess the editors were enjoying a day off when this novel swung through their offices. Enough is enough. My 8 yr. old grandson could have done better on all points.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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