- Also check our best rated Romance Book reviews
After the Last Dance: Two women. Two love affairs. One unforgettable story Paperback – 3 Dec 2015
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A deeply satisfying read on every level. It's spirited, unpredictable, evocative and engrossing. Impossible to put down. I loved it! (Santa Montefiore)
What a fascinating book. Such a gripping and unusual story of love and war - everyone needs a Rainbow Corner! (Rachel Hore, author of A Week in Paris)
An absorbing, unconventional love story (Woman & Home)
Highly absorbing and atmospheric (Stylist)
Full of glamour, danger and more than a few swoon-some moments (Fabulous)
A lavishly detailed sweeping romance, which expertly captures a country at war (Sunday Mirror)
I absolutely devoured After the Last Dance . . . Sarra has pulled off the almost impossible task of having two equally powerful strands with characters you're rooting for all the way . . . It works best of all as a love story. Two love stories really. And in that, it's just brilliant. For me, it had echoes of Me Before You (Tamar Cohen, author of The Mistress's Revenge)
After the Last Dance has fascinating settings, a compelling storyline with a skilful interplay of light and shadow, and vividly-realised characters that you immediately take to your heart. Sarra Manning's beautifully assured writing pulls you in from the very first page. (Margaret Leroy, author of The English Girl)
A wonderfully absorbing story that you utterly lose yourself in. I read it in two nights and only wish it had been longer (Pippa Wright, author of The Foster Husband)
Evocative, poignant, beautiful. Long live Rainbow Corner (Maggie Harcourt, author of The Last Summer of Us)
* The brand new novel from the much-loved Sarra Manning
* Two women. Two love affairs. One unforgettable story.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The second thread of the story is set in present day Las Vegas and features a runaway bride. Leo, a struggling artist is nursing a hangover with a beer when the most beautiful woman he's ever seen walks into the bar, wearing a white dress and a tiara on top of her honey-blonde hair.
While we see Rose settle into war-time London, dodging bombs and falling in love, her story is intertwined with a budding romance between Leo and the mysterious English beauty. After they drunkenly get hitched, in tried and tested Las Vegas style, Leo gets a message from London that his aunt is dying. Though realizing the marriage was a terrible – alcohol induced – mistake, they decide to travel together back to Britain.
I couldn't put this book down. The two stories, which are intertwined in the book, are both engaging. You're almost sorry when you realize the next chapter is returning to the other strand – until you again get involved with that story. I did, however, prefer Rose's tale, which is set during the war. Descriptions of Rainbow Corner; the bombings during the Blitz, the rationing and lack of foodstuffs, stockings and almost everything; the soldiers who come and go in and out of Rose's and her friend's lives seemed very well researched and paint vivid images of wartime London. If I had one criticism of After the Last Dance, I would say that the present day tale lacked some of the passion and enthusiasm of the wartime story, although the modern strand gives the novel a balance and an insightful comparison to the life we lead now to the one lived more than 70 years ago.
Sarra Manning has revealed that the inspiration for this book was Rainbow Corner, a social club run by American Red Cross for US servicemen stranded alone in London during WW2. They were described as 'overpaid, oversexed and over here' by the Brits at the time. Manning says that she saw a Pathe film clip about the club and was fascinated by the place. She imaged how a young girl, in the 1940s, would have seen the same images and wanted immediately to have a slice of that glamour and fun. In one of my blog posts, I talk about how we writers find our stories. This is such a good example!
The Rainbow Corner
The famous Rainbow Corner was a social club during WW2, (opened in 1942) and run by the American Red Cross.It was a piece of home for the American soldiers far away on leave from their homeland and their families. In fact this was a real piece of Americana. These soldiers were issued every possession by the American government but it was the music, the dancing and the social activities they missed the most. This is where the Rainbow Corner came in.
The novels is extremely evocative and you can taste the coke, coffee and doughnuts which Rose is very keen to taste for herself. The sugar on her lips makes for a bitter sweet moment however as she then meets the solider who will change her life and not necessarily for the best. Sarra mentions in her author note that every detail she evokes is as it was – including Dunker’s Den and the fact that it was the first place in Britain to stock the now very widely available and famous drink coca Cola. The Where Am I room really existed too and English women really did come here to dance and meet American soldiers. There is another, modern day story which ties in with the WW2 one at the end but I really feel that the novel could have been built on the WW2 thread alone - I got so lost in it!
This was not just a dance hall however it was a home from home – boxing matches, dinners, hair cuts and chat – everything was available here.
In present day London, the Rainbow Corner is no more, but this book captures it as if you were there with your Mary Janes ready to jive yourself. Ah, let the dancing begin…..
I struggled to get into this book, as many other reviewers have said the historical story of Rose was much easier to lose yourself in than the modern day story. Overall it felt like not enough of either story, they didn't sit side by side well and I rushed through the modern day text to get back to Rose at Rainbow Corner. I would have much preferred to continue with her story, without the need for crudely adding in the modern-day characters, I don't feel like that tool worked well in this book.