Reviews – In and Out of Step
Coralie Wood OAM
‘In and Out of Step kept me intrigued as each character leapt from the page and showed me a real insight to school life, teaching, and down to earth struggles with the joys of life. Christine Knight has captured the life of Cassie perfectly … where is the sequel!’
Knight’s skill is seen in the flow and intensity of the story, the complexity of her characters, the wonderful descriptions of place, and her ability to move readers. ‘In and Out of Step’ is an engrossing insight into life in the late 1980s. The hot topics then remain hot topics today.
Mollie Butler, Journalist
Tweed Daily News
‘In and Out of Step’, set in a coastal NSW town, takes us on a journey back to the late 1980s via characters in school rooms, on the dance floor, and battling bushfires. It possesses all the ingredients of a good Australian novel exploring the gender problems of the era while transporting us back in time with meticulous detail. From the first page to the last, it is compelling reading.
Christine M. Knight deftly tracks Cassie’s struggles and joys from innocent teenager to world-weary adult. Along the way, we meet a variety of real-life characters who could be your next-door neighbours or friends. Thus, the reader can sympathise not only with Cassie but also with many of the characters that make up her world. The author writes well, setting the scene and populating it with believable characters.
Reviews as featured on Bookworld for the first edition
A very ‘real’ world that is artfully brought to life. You care about these characters and also dislike some of them. Although not always a cozy read, overall it was very engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking. Not a dancer myself, I was fascinated by the way dance was made the backbone of the story and the way the dance scenes worked in the story. Wholeheartedly recommend this novel and writer to you.
great book lover
My mother recommended this writer to me as she knows I am a fan of Jean Auel. Knight’s subject matter is very different from Auel’s, but Knight is a skilful writer, and this novel is finely crafted. I really enjoyed the world and the themes explored in ‘In and Out of Step’. The picture of workplace dynamics is chillingly accurate. I was moved a number of times while reading which I can tell you doesn’t happen a lot nowadays. This is a strongly visual novel that entertains and causes thought as well as discussion. My advice is buy Auel and Knight.
I am a fan of the writing style of Jean Auel and Conn Iggulden and am constantly in search of other writers of that calibre to read. This novel was recommended by a girlfriend as such a book. I began reading with reservations thinking this was chic-lit. It isn’t! It’s people-lit and beautifully crafted. If you like Jean Auel and Conn Iggulden then you’ll like this writer. I liked the way the author showed that Cassie was a shadow of herself at the beginning and how and why she grew into a strong person and reclaimed her ‘lost identity’ as a result of adversity. Really liked the strong male characters as well as their ordinariness that made them closer to the world I know. A really good read with an increasingly strong grip as the story advances. Is there a sequel?
There is much to recommend in this novel. Knight has written a significant story that realistically captures the late 1980s and issues that were hot topics then and still hot topics now. I shared some great discussions with friends after we read this novel. I felt strongly about the characters and saw them as real people. I connected fully with the central character’s feelings of being overwhelmed and out of her depth in the workplace when confronted by serious issues. I wish I could say I had been as strong as Cassie became. I laughed, and yes, I cried as I shared the life explored in the story. Also loved the way dance was integral to the story. This is the sort of story that Aussie moviemakers should make!
I met the author at the Melbourne Central store. She was interesting to talk to. This story does not disappoint! The plots are cleverly woven together so that you can’t skim. The world and characters really lift off the page – it all seems so real. It has been a while since I read a novel that did this for me. The themes are complex. In a new job, I think I’d be like Cassie. I disliked the men for their early choices but came to understand their dilemma – well at least Selton and Van der Huffen’s. I don’t think many ‘bystanders’ in the workplace would make a stand at first either – we are all so preoccupied with our own work. It was interesting to see how the women became catalysts in the change process. Overall, this novel engages you, entertains, and makes you think. This is the sort of novel you want to discuss. I really loved the way dance was used in the story and the fact that it stands for something more than dance itself.
Set in the late 1980’s in a coastal NSW town, ‘In and Out of Step’ is a drama about life and love that is hard to put down. The characters are engaging and believable, drawing the reader into their world and their lives. The unravelling mystery in Cassie’s past and the challenges she faces in dealing with the sinister undercurrents in the workplace are important backdrops to Cassie’s journey. Regular injections of wry, tender, funny, observations and experiences lighten those darker moments. ‘In and Out of Step’ is one of those rare books that is entertaining for adults of all ages that will no doubt leave you yearning for a sequel.
A thought-provoking read with some of the issues coming a bit too close to home for my comfort. I ended up rereading this novel after my girlfriend read it. Knight has captured the complexity of real people. Most novels create an air of reality but essentially characters fall into two types: likeable or not. Knight’s characters have positives and negatives (like my friends). The debate over Talbut will be like that over Macbeth’s character. Knight showed that real life dilemmas are not easily resolved when heart and head are in conflict. I think this novel will be around for a long time.
An unforgetable story with a vast emotional landscape. I haven’t been pulled into the world of story like this for a very long time. This sort of writer of reason is why I love reading.
I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the set up of characters and story. Cassie is such a great character. I wish I’d had a teacher like her. All the characters seemed so real; I loved some of the them and was with Cassie in her dislike of others. Paul Selton is a great contemporary Aboriginal character – a great role model. I don’t think other stories have ever portrayed the successful Aboriginal male before in such a very real and endearing way. This is the sort of book you’ll come back to read a second time.
‘In and Out of Step’ is a beautifully crafted novel. I loved it! Readers who appreciate a good backdrop will enjoy Cassie Sleights trajectories into and out of places of social intercourse, a main strength of the authors writerly skills. The story works on several levels intertwining the psycho-social, emotional and political aspects in the personal. There is an interesting nod to myth and symbol; especially with the echo of the Greek story of Cassandra; a woman cursed to be disbelieved and unheard when she speaks the truth. This is a must read for anyone interested in relationships.