Today is a book that I picked up purely because there’d been chatter on twitter about the author’s new YA book, and I recognised the name. This is actually one of Sarra Manning’s adult novels, and I ADORED it.
Two women. Two love affairs. One unforgettable story.
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.
Oh my god, this book. I have a couple of books that I’ll recommend to anyone, whatever they normally read, and I knew about halfway through After the Last Dance that it would be added to that pile. Rose is one of my favourite characters ever – the way she changed from a naive young girl at the beginning of the book, to the person the war makes her, to the strong, stubborn, dying woman she is in the present day sections was brilliant. The war sections were by far my favourite, but I loved seeing how the two time periods tied together. Jane is harder to warm to, but it’s testament to Manning’s writing, and the slow reveal of Jane’s background, that you do, and the relationship with Leo becomes something that you root for.
I should probably point out that this book broke my heart twice, so I definitely recommend having tissues to hand if you read it, and you should probably avoid reading it in public if you can. I actually exclaimed out loud at one point too, so maybe make sure you’re in a room by yourself so you don’t have any awkward explanations to give.
I feel that I have not done justice to this book at all here, but I just don’t have the words to explain how good it is. I read it in June, and it’s stayed with me since then. I’m trying to write this review without squealing out loud about the book, so I think you can take that as the best recommendation!