Last Dance on the Starlight Pier

A Novel

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Pub Date 12 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 26 Apr 2022


Set during the Great Depression, Sarah Bird's Last Dance on the Starlight Pier is a novel about one woman—and a nation—struggling to be reborn from the ashes.

July 3. 1932. 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.

Set during the Great Depression, Sarah Bird's Last Dance on the Starlight Pier is a novel about one woman—and a nation—struggling to be reborn from the ashes.

July 3. 1932. Shivering and in shock...

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ISBN 9781250265548
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Average rating from 290 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you for giving me an ARC to review. I haven’t read much about the Great Depression or Prohibition. I enjoyed reading this book because of the plot. There was many story lines going on to keep my interest. It drew me in from the first chapter. There was a constant need to find out what happened after the teaser in the first chapter. This book was tight up my alley because it is historical fiction. Thank you again for allowing me to review this book.

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Sarah Bird's Last Dance on the Starlight Pier takes us back to the time of the Great Depression. Evie Grace is a character of the time: determined, resilient, and resourceful. She grew up on the vaudeville circuit as it was fading, under the care of her narcissist mother and a string of "uncles'. We follow her as she gets a nursing school scholarship, loses the opportunity to graduate due to maternal sabotage, and enters the unique world of marathon dancing. This book will keep you enthralled from start to finish.

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A heart wrenching, enthralling read. Sarah Bird artfully explores the humanity of those dancing for survival, as well as their struggles, secrets, and friendships. The financial struggles, politics, policed sexuality, and the role of modern medicine are also brought to light through the captivating storyline. Definitely would recommend.

After being denied her Nursing pin, Evie ends up as a nurse in the somewhat underground Dance Marathon circuit during the Great Depression. Tending to the participants, including the handsome star Zave, Evie becomes part of the family, and therefore part of the show. But lines blur between what is for show and what is real: the characters are not necessarily who they seem on stage. As a nurse, Evie feels the need to heal everyone, but what aspects of people truly need healing, and where is it society that needs to change? (I did not know much about Dance Marathon's in the 1930s and was shocked - even google dance marathons to see the results that come up - it's astounding.)

I couldn't put it down! I read quite a bit of historical fiction, and it's not common to find a book as refreshing and new as this one. Even with the book that begins with the climax and then goes back in time, I genuinely had no clue what was coming next.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are all my own.

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A saga set around the time of marathon dancing. I enjoyed learning about the ins and outs of how dancers survived with all the rules they had to follow or be eliminated. A wonderful work of fiction with characters so well developed I lost myself in their lives. A great story.

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This was a really good piece of historical fiction of the Depression and Dust Bowl era, and a specific activity about which I knew nothing, the community of dance marathons. Evie is a poor girl with a dreadful mother who is a child vaudeville dancer turned nurse turned marathon dancer. The book covers abuse, hidden homosexuality, and deep poverty and hunger and yet had a lot of uplifting joyful moments of friendship, dance and camaraderie, It really made me feel the era in a way that other books of this era have not. Just the logistics of getting from place to place made me feel the time period. Very well written and great story. I'll be recommending this one to friends.

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I really loved Last Dance on the Starlight Pier, its an excellent Depression era historical fiction about dance marathons. Its an excellent read that is really enthralling and wonderful to read!

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A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley.
Desperate times called for desperate dancing during the Great Depression. Sarah Bird sets the stage for the fascinating, fast-paced craze of dance marathons with Evie, a student nurse who will steal your heart. I was swept away by this nuanced portrait of impoverished couples who danced for days to keep a roof over their heads and their dreams alive. Last Dance at the Starlight Pier is a reminder of our resilience.
There were twists, turns, surprises, heavier moments balanced with fun/lighter aspects that had my toe tapping created a really great experience. I enjoyed the cast of characters and enjoyed how it all played out.

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I love historical fiction and this account settled on the time period during the Great Depression. I thoroughly enjoyed the “dance competition” perspective as I’ve never read anything about these competitions that were so popular in the 1920s-1930s. I learned quite a bit, enjoyed the characters and the storyline, and I appreciated the reminder that human beings have the capacity to endure and thrive even in the most difficult of life’s circumstances.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

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I love books that are written by story tellers. Sarah Bird is a story teller extraordinaire! I'm so glad I discovered this book!

If Evie Grace Devlin hadn't had bad luck, she wouldn't have had any luck at all. As an emotionally abused child whose mother manipulated Evie at a young age, and made her work to support the two of them, to an unsure and gangly adult, Evie had a hard row to hoe all her life. Getting into nursing school is a dream come true for Evie.

This book illustrates the dance marathons of the 1920s and 1930s, and the diverse people who populated them. Normally, a book that has this many characters in it drives me to distraction, but all these characters belonged here and showed the numbers and differences of the people who made up the regulars on the marathon circuit. Throw in a healthy dose of mobsters, and this becomes quite a story!

Evie meets Zave, a dancer and a beautiful specimen of humanity. Zave knew Evie's father, back in the 1910s, and the connection carries forward. Evie becomes a nurse for the dancers and their lives all mesh throughout the book.

There is so much more to this book, so many more stories. Get this book and become one with Evie's world!

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Last Dance on the Starlight Pier by Sarah Bird is a great historical fiction novel that takes place during the Depression Era and into WWII and is so unique and enjoyable in its narrative involving the wonderful world of dancing and dancing competitions. I really enjoyed it.

This is such a breath of fresh air in regard to subject matter and narrative. A lot of books are written about the Depression and during the long-difficult years surrounding WWII, but I do not think that I have ever read a book that delved into the world of dance-offs and competitions that sprang up during this time period. During a time of such difficulty, loss, fear, change, and darkness, these events and gatherings seem to me to be a way that many could express themselves, let out energy/frustration, and make a few ends meet in the process if possible. The added level of companionship, togetherness, mutual interest, and therapeutic aspects of bonds and support formed to create a steady aspect in a bumpy world seems to be perfectly fit.

There were twists, turns, surprises, heavier moments balanced with fun/lighter aspects that had my toe tapping created a really great experience. I enjoyed the cast of characters and enjoyed how it all played out.

5/5 stars

Thank you NG and St. Martin's Press for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

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