Alexandra Jacobs
April 10, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A smartly turned-out first novel, about the push and pull between a young Louisiana couple, The Next Step in the Dance holds you snug and won’t let go. She — Colette — itches for something bigger (fancy cars, etc.); he — Paul — is content to tinker with machinery and caper with all the pretty girls in town. She huffs off to California; he follows; she gets pregnant; they return to much harder times and have to rebuild everything, a silvery pair rising from the swamp. Somewhere along the way, you become terribly invested in their reunion. A

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