The Little Book Cafe on Facebook shared an exclusive from Sarra Manning ‘How I came to fall in love with Rainbow Corner’ (I’m hoping the link will still be available for you). Sarra ended the article with:
All of us yearn for somewhere that will never turn us away, that will always be open when we need a haven, a magical place where we can be our best selves.
Sarra’s passion drew me in and I couldn’t wait to get started on After the Last Dance.
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 1514 KB
Print Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Sphere (3 Dec. 2015)
Kings Cross station, 1943. Rose arrives in London hoping to swap the drudgery of wartime for romance, glamour and jiving with GIs at Rainbow Corner, the famous dance hall in Piccadilly Circus. As the bombs fall, Rose loses her heart to a pilot but will lose so much more before the war has done its worst.
Las Vegas, present day. A beautiful woman in a wedding dress walks into a seedy bar and asks the first man she sees to marry her. When Leo slips the ring onto Jane’s finger, he has no idea that his new wife will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
So when Jane meets Rose, now a formidable older lady, there’s no love lost between them. But with time running out, can Rose and Jane come together to make peace with the tragic secrets that have always haunted their lives?
After the Last Dance is an extraordinary story of two women, separated by time but connected by fate, that will make you believe in the redemptive power of unexpected love.
The prologue in September 1943 introduces us to an underage Rose arriving in London at King’s Cross station. Rebelling, she’s run away from her family home in Durham and is looking for Rainbow Corner. September 2003 introduces us to Jane also arriving in London at King’s Cross station but in a much different state …
Narrated in alternating timelines, we experience Rose’s life as she lives through war torn London although in Rainbow Corner it’s not all dancing, donuts and Coca Cola. There’s heartache with friendships and romance … I loved the camaraderie she has with her group of friends. Very different personalities but all drawn together through Rainbow Corner. In the present day we get to know Jane and Leo and once they arrive in London and stay with Rose, emotions get very tangled for them all.
I always think an author has a gift in making their readers have feelings for their characters. Even more so when the author can change your mind about a character … I didn’t like Jane at all, however, through her relationship with Leo and the unfolding honesty, I saw her becoming more human, approachable and loving. For me she changed into a strong woman who faced reality and wasn’t afraid to go to places emotionally that others would. We see Leo change as well. Always in the shadow of his younger brother he has a huge chip on his shoulder. This is a couple that I never thought would work so I was intrigued to see how it would play out. I enjoyed knowing Rose in the 1940’s and again in present day. It took me a while to get used to the changes from that risk taking, fun loving young girl to the straight backed and authoritative older woman in the present day. I would love to have known her after the war ended too.
The story flowed and switching between timelines was seamless. Often in a dual timeline I enjoy the historical aspect more but in After the Last Dance, I enjoyed both equally, probably because Rose links them both. It was interesting to be a part of Rose’s life and experience Rainbow Corner and the war – so much emotion when the doors were shut for the final time! She also has a powerfully emotional role to play in present day.
I found After the Last Dance to be quite a dark read on the whole. Emotive issues are dealt with sensitively and with reality. One to add to your wishlists.
I would like to thank the publishers for approval via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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