by Nan Ryan

December 2003
ISBN: 0-9743639-3-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Medallion Press
Mass Market Paperback

Lucy Hart is doing something she has never done before in her almost thirty years of life. She is about to step out of her comfortable world and make some memories for herself. Lucy has realized that she is sliding quietly into spinsterhood without even a memory to keep her company. So, she’s heading to Atlantic City to meet a man and spend some time making those memories.

Instead of her mild mannered postmaster, Lucy runs into Blackie LaDuke. Blackie is in Atlantic City to escape the oppressive New York City heat and the clinging arms of a possessive mistress. He has come to enjoy the drinking, the gambling and the women that he has always been able to find. Instead he runs into the prim and proper Lucy and finds himself helping Lucy make her memories.

As the last weeks of summer wind down, Blackie and Lucy find themselves becoming friends. Blackie is used to not living up to anyone’s expectations for him. He’s been the black sheep in his family. Yet, in Lucy’s eyes, he sees an image of the man he longs to be. Lucy has never been anything but the spinster aunt. She has never been able to unleash her passions and relax. As Blackie teases and plays with her, she looks deep inside herself to find the woman that she has always wanted to be.

In the romantic setting of turn-of-the-century Atlantic City, we find a couple that has never been happy with the roles that society has set for them. They think that they have made their peace with those roles until they meet each other and find the place that fate has meant them to be. Blackie is your classic rogue, inconsiderate and self-indulgent. He’s always been alone, even in a crowd. But there is a lonely pain hidden in his soul that makes the reader long for him to find a loving heart. Lucy has a good heart. While she is content in her comfortable life, she wants to live a little. The reader can’t help but root for her as she begins to experience life. Well-written characters populate this book from start to finish. The secondary characters, Blackie’s friends from the hotel are wonderfully portrayed.

Love swirls around as Atlantic City is brought to stunning life in Nan Ryan’s The Last Dance. Curl up and allow the story of Blackie and Lucy carry you away to a more charming era.

Reviewed in February 2004 by Jenni.

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