Dancing in a Distant Place
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Dancing in a Distant Place

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  180 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A warm and intelligent novel about a young teacher who throws herself into the lives of her students in the hopes of forgetting the past, only to find it returning more vividly than ever.
When Iris Chisholm arrives in the tiny Scottish Highland community of Green Cairns, she's still in a state of shock--not so much from her husband's untimely death as from the discovery tha...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 18th 2006 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published September 1st 2003)
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Alicia
Dancing in a Distant Place was a pleasant enough read, but it just didn't speak to me. I have no major complaints with this book, yet there were a number of small irritants that caused me to dock it a couple of stars. There were lots of deliciously eccentric villagers, and many redeemable sections involving the antics of the schoolchildren. I thought Colin, in particular, was beautifully characterized and written. Unfortunately, other parts of the book were quite dull. I found several of the mal...more
localfreak
I wasn't sure I would like this book at first despite it being the kind of book I usually do enjoy, because I found the first chapter- which introduces the characters we are about to meet many years after the events in the story- rather worrying that by reading it, which was also written in present tense which I don't generally like- the rest of the book would either be spoiled or continue in present tense. Happily, these worries were needless- I found the book un-put-downable. I was particularl...more
Sabine
Everytime I re-read this book, I cry when she writes her letter in the end. As a teacher myself, it rings a major bell. I love this book, would read it again and again.
Diane Will
I needed some easy reading after giving up on my last book. This one had been on my shelf for a while. I like Isla Dewar, probably something to do with her being a Scottish writer.

Iris is a teacher. Happily married, two teenage children and a husband she thinks she knows. Here husband dies in a car accident and they have to come to terms with their loss. That seems bad enough until she discovers they have no money, no home....he had gambled everything away. She has to make the decision of moving...more
Stormkpr
A novel about a woman in Ireland in the 1960’s who loses her husband and has to build her life anew. She moves to a very remote town and has to deal with small-town life in a community where everybody knows everybody. It wasn’t the most riveting thing I’ve ever read, but it was good; the author really does a great job creating characters who feel real and she also excels in transporting you to the place she describes. The protagonist was a confident lady; I liked reading how she dealt with situ...more
Laura
I LOVED this book. There were lots of interesting characters, an interesting setting (a running theme with books I like, set in a different time and place), challenges, tragedies, catastrophes, triumphs, victories, small pleasures, healing, coming together, moving on.

It was the moving on that got me, really. It was very encouraging. Whatever tragedy befell her, Iris figured out how to move on, to make things work, to accept. She never crumpled under the weight of her problems, though it was a s...more
Adri
Better than the previous Dewar I read. Guess I'll give her one more chance.
Janette
The setting is Scotland in the 1960's. The reader needs some background knowledge of the culture and history to fully understand the story. The characters had strong traits and the plot rolled at a steady pace. The only part I didn't particularly like is the beginning, which should have been the ending. The story starts with an episode of the characters 30 + years after the actual setting takes place. I think it would best if that part was last because I didn't comprehend the significance of the...more
Melee
I would have liked this book a whole lot better if it had focused more on Iris's teaching since the parts with the village children and in the school were the only parts I really enjoyed. The problems of her son and daughter who, quite frankly, I thought were both extremely asinine, did not interest me at all. Too much space was devoted to them, in my opinion.
But oh, I loved Colin! He was an absolute sweetheart. I think I have a weakness for little boys who are underdogs. (Then again, don't we a...more
Diane
I just discovered this delightful author. Set in Scotland, Iris is a teacher who at 39 becomes a widow with two teenagers. After the funeral Iris discovers her husband has led a secret life that has put her so deep in debt she is forced to sell their house and move her family to rural Scotland where a house is offered with a job as the "Missie" of a one room schoolhouse. The story is filled with love, laughter and tears but her love of her students and children, despite their issues shines throu...more
Georgina
This book was interesting and different. I felt the author was somewhat remote from the reader, but somehow I still managed to read this book. It was mainly about what life was like living in the countryside as opposed to dwelling in the city and the new situations the family had to deal with.
Mary Lou
It has lots of wonderful moments in between a great beginning & lovely ending. A schoolteacher resolves some of her single parenting problems & shares classroom goings-on to make us laugh & sigh in recognition. I doubt I learned much of anything but I certainly enjoyed it.
Frank
Anything by Isla Dewar will dependably be very satisfying. I read this most recently. About a recently widowed teacher who is shaken by her husbands legacy and wants to make a fresh start in a small country school. It has a distinctly scottish buzz to it
Terry
Quick, very pleasant read, about a teacher who takes over a one-room school in rural Scotland after her husband dies, leaving her penniless. Thought the main character was well drawn and fairly realistic. Not a terribly deep story, but lovely.
Kay
The story of Iris whose husband dies whilst leading a double lifeShe takes her children to live in a remote Scottish village where she becomes the Head at the school. Her effect on her children and vullage life. Moving and funny.
Rebecca
I wasn't sure what to expect, it looked like it could be some dreary British book, but it was actually quite funny and a really light read that I couldn't put down. It was nice to "meet" a new author whose work I enjoyed.
Emily
Fantastic. Now I'll have to search Amazon to see what else this Scottish author has written and hope something is available in the US. This is one to pass along to Mom, to friends, to teachers.
Nicole
A friend recommended this to me and loaned me her copy - great choice! I really enjoyed the author's writing style and will definitely be looking for more books by her!
Vilo
Engrossing novel about a woman who, after events that drastically change her situation, moves her children to a small community in Scotland.
Kay
This was really different for me. I never read about people in Scotland. I like books that open up the way people are in different places.
Colleen Anderson
Only read to page 144. Slow-moving, not engaging. Besides, the end was given away in the first chapter, so there's nothing drawing me to finish it.
Amanda
Generally a really easy, enjoyable read. The first chapter was very hard to get through but once I got past it, I loved the rest of the book.
Jan
Have read nearly all of her books. A contemporary look at Scotland. Hard to come by in US.
Ladyjexie
This couldn't miss becoming a personal favorite.
About a teacher - and takes place in the Scottish Highlands.
Jean
I really enjoyed this story of a woman who moves away to change her life--I guess I read a lot of this sort of book.
Ruth
A beautiful story. Well written, with wonderful observations. And a nice insight into rural Scottish life.
Susan
Good read, second time I read it and just as enjoyable as the first time I read it.
Brooke
Catch myself laughing out loud through the entire book, I can't put it down...
San
Alles van Isla Dewar is gewoon fantastisch!
Debbie
3 1/2 to maybe 4 star
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Born in Edinburgh, Isla Dewar now lives in Fife with her husband, a cartoonist, and two sons. Her first novel, Keeping Up with Magda, published in 1995, has been followed by a string of bestsellers.
More about Isla Dewar...
Giving Up On Ordinary Secrets of a Family Album Keeping Up with Magda Getting Out of the House The Woman Who Painted Her Dreams

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