Don’t Mean A Thing, by Renee Conoulty

What if you finally took the lead, but life refused to follow?

Thirty-year-old introvert, Macie Harman, has finally found a career she is passionate about, and after months of training, she’s begun her new job in the Royal Australian Air Force. Leaving behind her family, friends, and the life she knew, Macie has travelled to the other side of the country where the only person she knows is Rachael, the extroverted girl she went through basic training with. Everywhere Macie goes, Rachael is there too.

While looking for a way to widen her circle of friends in her new town, Macie discovers a local swing dancing class. The jazz music captures her heart, and Matt, the sexy swing dancer, sweeps her off her feet. Matt has claimed the tropical Northern Territory as home and has no plans to leave. He loves his teaching career with its predictable routine and has a great bunch of friends. All he wants now is the right girl to make his house a home.

Military life is tougher than Macie expected, and not everyone can deal with the inevitable separations and last minute changes. Is this exciting but unpredictable life something Macie wants to fight for, or could she give it up and put down roots with Matt? (synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

At first glance this novel appears to be all about romance, and trust me, there’s plenty of that to go around. Macie falls hard for Matt, even though she’s had her heart broken before by a man who wasn’t willing to be with a strong, independent woman. So, she’s very concerned about Matt’s intentions, and whether she sees a future with him. Rachael has plenty of love life to go around. So do a lot of other secondary characters, lending into the romance.

However, I felt as though the strongest vein was the one pertaining to Macie’s passions in life. She loves to travel, she loves her job. She’s worked hard to get to where she’s at, having a hard time coming to grips with the possibility of having to give it all up for someone. That’s what ruined her prior relationship. Will it be the final straw for Matt?

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I could totally relate to Macie. I suppose most of us could. I can think of several times in my life when I’ve given up something I’ve wanted or felt I needed in order to maintain the status quo, to keep others happy. I think the real work happens when you find a way to compromise, so both people in the relationship are able to fulfill their passions in life. It’s not always easy, it doesn’t always happen, but you can always hope. And, Macie has to try and find balance, or it will never work.

Life has a way of changing up the things that matter most to us, our life goals and passions often pliable. I appreciated Renee Conoulty’s take on what it means to find who you really are in not only a relationship with other people, but in the relationship that really matters most; the one you have with yourself. I don’t think there are enough motivating novels out there that support a character who tries hard at achieving her goals, never giving up. It’s incredibly motivating!

Originally reviewed for Chick Lit Central

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