Medallion Press, Dec 2003, 5.99, 310 pp.
In 1899 Colonias, New York, Postmistress Lucy Hart, nearing thirty, sacrificed her happiness to care for her dependent mother, but now is recognized as an old maid with no prospects. She looks forward to her vacation in Atlantic City where she will finally meet her pen pal of the last three years Cooperstown, Pennsylvania Postmaster Theodore Mooney though no hint of romance is in any of their letters.
As Lucy heads south on her vacation, in New York City, Robert “Blackie” LaDuke escapes from his overly possessive lover leaving the Waldorf for Atlantic City too. At the Atlantic Grand Hotel, Lucy sees a man she believes is Theodore, but he tells her to call him Blackie as he clarifies she accosted the wrong man. Theodore fails to show up sending a telegram canceling his trip. Though Theodore eventually arrives, a despondent Lucy finds Blackie gets perverse pleasure shocking her especially with seduction, but the ultimate shocker is when the hedonist realizes he loves the prim and proper postmistress.
THE LAST DANCE is a fantastic look at the turn of the previous century inside the overly used theme of bad boy and good girl fall in love made fresh as newly fallen snow by the intricate descriptions of New York-New Jersey. The story line is brimming with a spotlight on the gilded age through a strong secondary cast that enhances the era. The lead couple is more by the book, but still charm the audience who want Lucy to find her heart's desire and her beloved rogue get what he deserves. Nan Ryan pens another winner.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner