Last Dance on the Starlight Pier, a review by Di

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Sarah Bird

St Martin’s Press
April 12, 2022
432 pages

Amazon | Goodreads

This book is about the almost forgotten phenomenon of Dance Marathons that were popular back in the 1920s and 30s. I have heard of them but I did not know very much about them. In this book, the reader gets to live life along with the marathoners. And, it’s quite the life. Gruelling beyond belief.

The protagonist is Evie Grace Devine. She started in vaudeville as a youngster. Trying to better herself, she wanted to become a nurse to help people but life circumstances led her into a different path with a Dance Marathon Group.

Evie is a strong character with weak moments. She struggles to better her life throughout. She has dreams. But, the prologue foreshadows that her dreams may never come true.

The setting of the book is from Galveston to Chicago back to Galveston. I have spent a bit of time in Galveston and it’s been a goal to return. With this book, I got to experience Galveston in 1932.

All the characters are interesting. They’re a tough bunch but loyal to each other as a group. The Dance descriptions are lifelike, the reader can almost feel the sore muscles and exhaustion of the competitors.

The author did a lot of research to bring this story to us. Ms. Bird did an excellent job bringing the book to life. It is a fictionalized version of a way of life for many during the dark days of the Depression. It was a way of life that many of us aren’t aware of.

Ms. Bird was also able to dig out some vocabulary that is befitting of the era. I love that in a book. I love seeing old words that are just not in use anymore. Among my favourites in this book were: Galumphing, Stumblebum and Wiseacre.

The ending is perfect. Despite injustices, a near tragedy, and an almost romance there is hope.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an Advance Readers Copy.

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