Last Dance on the Starlight Pier by Sarah Bird
Title: Last Dance on the Starlight Pier
Author: Sarah Bird
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction
No. of Pages: 416
Date of Publication: 12 April, 2022
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Evie’s life has been anything but easy or pleasant - growing up in vaudeville to losing her father at a young age, accompanied by a morally corrupt mother with zero scruples, Evie is forced into dark situations to earn money. As she ages, Evie breaks free and goes to nursing school. When she is kicked out of the school on what was to be her graduation day and without receiving her nursing pin, she is yet again forced to live according to situations out of her control, she becomes a traveling caregiver for a dance marathon troupe.
This was not an easy review to write; I wanted to love this and really thought I would - a story of marathon dancers, student nurses, friendship, potential romance, historical fiction? Yes! But, not really… The writing was gorgeous, the plot is such an interesting one, but the characters were so flat and insipid. The romance part isn’t and is just frustrating; I couldn’t really see making Evie so incredibly naive given the mother she grew up with, but, regardless, it held my attention.
Again, the writing is terrific but I hoped for more character development and less repetition.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an eARC of this title. Opinions shared are influenced by nothing other than my reading experience.
Shivering and in shock, Evie Grace Devlin watches the Starlite Palace burn into the sea and wonders how she became a person who would cause a man to kill himself. She’d come to Galveston to escape a dark past in vaudeville and become a good person, a nurse. When that dream is cruelly thwarted, Evie is swept into the alien world of dance marathons. All that she has been denied—a family, a purpose, even love—waits for her there in the place she dreads most: the spotlight.
Last Dance on the Starlight Pier is a sweeping novel that brings to spectacular life the enthralling worlds of both dance marathons and the family-run empire of vice that was Galveston in the Thirties. Unforgettable characters tell a story that is still deeply resonant today as America learns what Evie learns, that there truly isn’t anything this country can’t do when we do it together. That indomitable spirit powers a story that is a testament to the deep well of resilience in us all that allows us to not only survive the hardest of hard times, but to find joy, friends, and even family, in them.