Amalise Catoir is a young law student living in New Orleans in 1974. Growing up in a close knit, religious family, Amalise is somewhat naïve and a bit too trusting for the big city. While away from home, she meets Phillip Sharp, an artist, and is immediately taken by him. He is confident, a bit quiet, and charming, and when he asks Amalise to pose for a portrait for him, she agrees. During their sessions together, Amalise starts to fall for Phillip, despite his possessiveness and sometimes odd behavior. Amalise starts missing classes, her grades begin to slip, but she is in love with Phillip. When he tells her about his awful childhood and distant parents, she believes she was meant to help him, to provide him with the love and comfort that he never had. But her once safe world turns suddenly dangerous, as Phillip turns abusive, destructive, and tears Amalise away from her work, friends, and family. Can Amalise somehow escape Phillip, or will her choice to love become fatal?
Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen is a story that will make you hold your breath while you flip the pages. The story surrounding Amalise and Phillip will suck you in, and the exquisite writing and detail of New Orleans will make you feel as though you are there with the characters. It was difficult to read about abuse, especially when Phillip was obviously bad news from the beginning. Even without reading the synopsis, you know he is a violent man. It was hard for me to see why Amalise was drawn to him in the first place. She is portrayed as a very naïve girl, who could walk in a dark alley at night and not think anyone would attack her, but it was still a little tough to believe. And the ending made me positively want to scream at this girl- no spoiler's here- but possibly that is what the author wants us to take away from the story? She certainly made me feel and brought up a lot of emotions while reading. I did enjoy the side story regarding Amalise's career as a lawyer- which was very different for women back in the 70's. Overall, I did enjoy the book and thought it was beautifully written, but it was tough to swallow some of the main plot points. I would still recommend it if you are looking for a deeper read, and be sure you can handle tough scenes with physical abuse.