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The Last Dance 35★ Good but not my favourite by this authorSoon after the death of both her parents Stella meets the enigmatic Monty at a dance hall At first reluctant Stella finds herself telling this charming stranger her sad tale and before she knows it he is setting her on the path to make some uick money to provide for her younger siblingsTaking a 6 month posting as school holiday tutor to the Ainsworth girls in Kent Stella finds herself uickly caught up in a world of privilege and intrigue An invitation to join the family on a cruise to the Holy Land changes her life foreverFiona McIntosh is a reliable storyteller and writer I was drawn to this novel by its Moroccan setting but was disappointed to find it took 75% of the story to arrive there While it was a perfectly entertaining read I suspect I will have forgotten it within a short time I didn't realize this was a romance I thought it was of a woman spy novel While it certainly was an easy entertaining read it wasn't believable to me Stella the main character was against love and then one conversation later with a stranger and she is madly in love and they are soul mates and she is working in his house and they can't bear to be apart? WHAT? I felt like I missed several chapters some how developing this love affair 3 things that bothered me 1 Grace the little girl fell in the shower and hit her head and her arm her arm was obviously bent at a wrong angle and yet when they went to the doctor he addressed her concussion but not her arm? There was no and her arm was casted or anything2 The main character male who has too many names to keep track of wrote Stella a long letter about being a secret agent and his secret agent activities? O come on What kind of spy would be as indiscrete and stupid as that3 The main character going into his certain death so his friend didn't die alone? Seriously did England not have any type of military operations at this point in their history? Ok there were many little things that bothered me also But I kept reading it so I obviously found it entertaining enough oh 4 I am so sick of women in novels who are throwing up and blame it on everything but morning sickness Women are NOT that stupid And it isn't foreshadowing when you keep repeating that a woman character is nauseated and then shockingly she is pregnant The Last Dance a new novel by Fiona McIntosh is absolutely brilliant Filled with compassion some empathy imagination suspense and always an element of 'surprise' which I always think is a very important aspect in a very good book Set in the 1930's with dancing and romancing beautiful clothes of the 1930's with just a hint of French perfume and the language to an encounter with a mysterious person who leads her into a life unknown a voyage of discovery to back home to where the heart is Starting with romance dreams of Tearooms to mint tea in MoroccoThis novel is a bit of a spy thriller filled with 'secrets' as well as being an adventure story Read to be enjoyed I highly recommend this new novel The Last Dance by author Fiona McIntosh Spoiler alertSorry but this book is a terrible disappointment with a very poorly thought out plot and simply too many holes in it which I could at first ignore until it became untenable The story began with so much promisealthough I did think their romance was rather rushed into and gripped me until about half way through when it spiralled down into disappointment with a ridiculous plot and completely unbelievable actions from characters It's a pity as there were great parts some amazing characters some witty dialogue and some great background to this novel It could have been a grand novel But it isn'tA shortlist of several things I felt were completely unbelievableThe moment Stella discovered that RafeMonty had orchestrated this entire situation of bringing her to work at Harp's End Apart from some mild surprise our feisty heroine didn't even appear very upset with his self serving manipulations seeming very out of character for StellaIn spite of being brought to Harp's End as a governesstutor Stella completed all of 2 lessons as far as I can see I can't see how a heroine with the high moral grounds of Stella could without protest accept these exceptionally high wages she was receiving by spending all that time at Harp's End for little other reason than being paid by Rafe to be near him in his home especially when there were so many previous objections to being a paid woman When she changed positions to become Douglas assistant it seemed to be in name only as only near the end of the novel do we even read of her receiving the key to his studyoffice area and entering it for the first timeWhy a spy so adept as covering his trail who put so much effort into disguising his true persona as Rafe would leave a letter to Stella with so many details of his life and work firstly lying around in his office secondly given to Stella when discovery by anyone else would have been detrimental to his spy career There was no continuity in his espionage actions At some points he was secretive to the extreme in other places not such as his telephone call in the house from Basil in which they openly discussed British intelligence when anyone could have been listening as Stella wasThe completely ridiculous climax to the story of Rafe meeting his brother in the Peacock café After so much subtle manipulation pulling secret strings to arrange for family to cover for him etc it seemed completely ridiculous that the two men would be loudly blatantly deliberately discussing Hitler in the café until a Nazi official and his sidekicks turned up to arrest them and bring on certain death for them both Surely a spy who had employed so much subterfuge as Rafe would have handed over such important documents in secret giving his brother and himself a chance to escape rather than this idiotic deathwish operation when so many other options would have been possibleSecondly having found the love of his life I find it hard to imagine that Rafe would deliberately endanger her life also for no necessary reason If he was so determined to be arrested by openly reading and discussing Hitlers letter at a table in a public café thereby deliberately drawing attention ending in his death and his brother's why he would even reuire Stella's undercover presence at the table as it would be highly likely that she could also have been killed The plot is so far fetched with little point to it If that was his plan and he had already guessed the end result of his actions then there was little point in Stella's presence at the table Thirdly if Joseph was a uiet civil servant in the Reich and no one else knew of this dangerous letter how come this Nazi official and his men would be following him in Morocco seemingly waiting to pounce for a letter that was simply a piece of Hitler's throw away rubbish retrieved from a bin by a cleaning lady? I'll take that Klipfels said as soon as he approached their table and reached out for the papers How would Nazi officials even be aware of this retrieved piece of litter from a bin in the first place? Another small but pointless piece of the jigsaw puzzle that didn't fit for me And fourthly there seemed little point in all the subterfuge and cover leading up to the moment and finally loss of lives for simply a handwritten copy of the letter which Basil seemed a little disappointed in upon receiving anyway when a clandestine operation could have ensured that Britain receive the original documents that were in their hands in the first place If the author so wished Rafe could have lost his life in a worthy plot that made a little sense than this As other have mentioned in reviews it does seem a little tiresome when a smart heroine like Stella hasn't the slightest clue why she is constantly nausesous scene after scene since her passionate affair with Rafe Sighreally? it wouldn't even cross her mind?Her meeting with Basil at the end made little sense to me One moment she is detesting him little short of blackmailing him inferring that she suspects he may try to do away with her and in the next breath she is trying to match make him with her old best friend Madge There were many wonderful parts I enjoyed the background settings the fancy department stores I loved the crotchety old housekeeper at Harps End but unfortunately I felt the author was asking me to stretch my imagination too far with this unbelievable plotThe fact that we never once again met Carys and Rory later in the story although they were there in the background but never in any scenes towards the end seems a little shallow too They just seemed to fade out of the story as though of little importance Having read Fiona McIntosh books previously I had expected a higher standard Would you risk everything for loveStella Myles is suddenly impoverished through a family crisis and becomes forced to make ends meet by selling herself as a dance partner in a Piccadilly ballroom Here she meets the enigmatic Montgomery who orchestrates a job for her as governess for the wealthy Ainsworth family in Sussex But nothing is as straightforward as it first seemsIn entering the mansion of Harp's End Stella encounters a family with secrets than most She struggles to fit in above or below stairs – although nothing proves so challenging as restraining the illicit love that ignites between herself and the mysterious Douglas AinsworthWhen Douglas announces that they are all to voyage aboard a cruise ship bound for Morocco tensions reach new heights and finally bubble over Stella finds herself caught up in a family at war and in a world on the edge of another She is now the keeper of an incendiary document smuggled out of Berlin one which must reach London at all costsFrom the rolling green hills of the Kentish Weald to the colourful alleys and bazaars of Morocco this is a thrilling story of intrigue and danger – and a passion to risk dying for Oh Fiona Mcintosh you've done it again A female character I just adore a male lead who is intriguing and interesting a story that pulls be along and characters I love and hate along the way I think I picked up where this book was going to end up at a certain point but bloody hell woman will you stop making me cry You make me swoon laugh and bawl with some of these stories The romantic in me gets a hell of a workout Lol Seriously Stella was soo many things I love captured in one character feisty independent intelligent spunky And as for your male lead wellwhat an unusual complex and wonderful man I think I enjoyed THE LAST DANCE than the past two books still strong fascinating woman that I'm constantly drawn to wonderful settings and good story lines I have a tendency to fall in love with these characters and the romantic storyline is always a winner Counting down to the next one now Truly terrible A book set in England in the 1930s about orphaned Stella who goes to work as a governess in a rich country household Populated by stereotypical monochromic characters such as the adorable little girl the bratty teenage daughter and the superficial class conscious wife and full of unrealistic awful dialogue The story follows the predictable affair between Stella and her employer a romance that blossomed in all of about five minutes Then out of the blue a disjointed spy hero story that seemed totally at odds with the rest of the book Aaaagh I must just say that the main character Stella was one of the most irritating people I have come across in a long time The way she spoke to the people who employed her was so rudeReally disappointed as I usually love Fiona Mcintosh's books I should know better than to pick up a book classified as romance by the library What fooled me was a the size of this novel and b the blurb which seemed to promise a Mary Stewart like story However this is a typical genre Romance full of unnecessary repetition padding and emotional wallowing I'm sure Fiona McIntosh can write a good book when she takes the time to but this one was churned out There's a prologue to tell us about the heroine's parents which is unnecessary because the whole thing is rehashed in Chapter 1 Later it takes 12 pages to describe the trip from London to Tunbridge Wells during which nothing happens including such gems as Colours blurred and clarity dimmed and the familiar world she knew began to shimmer and hint at its new shape At one point it takes three full pages to cover the heroine dressing for dinnerThe plot is a classic Regency plot young gentlewoman falls on hard times after the death of her parents takes a job as a governess and falls in love with the father of the children The author has moved it to the 1930's and that's where it falls apart In Georgian times a refined young lady's only option would be to educate other young ladies in French and piano As a twenty something 1930's girl Stella already has a job and good career prospects to boot so why take a job as a governess? The reason given is that it's better paid which it is as it turns out because the job is a set up but I can't imagine Stella would believe such a job would pay better than her job as a buyer Or that she would put her career on hold for it Or that her employer would be happy for her to disappear for a year Other aspects of the plot don't fit the time either Stella is meekly accepting when the father turns out to be Rafe In Regency England where the heroine has no choice she might do so Any modern woman even a 1930's one would be saying how dare you and would also jump to the obvious conclusion as to why he wants her there I was waiting for a feisty display of anger but it didn't happenThere's a time shift in the other direction too At times the dialogue and attitudes seem like 2003 than 1933 for instance at her first meeting with Rafe Stella pours out her whole past including the fact she's illegitimate Maybe that would happen in today's over sharing world but in reserved 1930's Britain??? Of course it's a sign of how this has been churned out the author needed to tell the reader Stella's backstory and that was the easy option I'm still reading because the blurb promises a Moroccan adventure and I'm interested to see where that goes It's not really fair to criticise the emotional wallowing because that's what dedicated Romance fans want I'm skimming From the rolling green hills of the Kentish Weald to the colourful alleys and bazaars of Morocco this is a heart stopping novel of romance intrigue and dangerThese are the words that sum up The Last Dance on its back cover and I have to say they are pretty much spot on I've had this book for uite some time now a couple of years at least but that's not so unusual for me and not at all indicative of my expectations I just have a lot of books to get through so many get lost in the pile so to speak The Last Dance is a fine novel containing all of the ingredients reuired to make up a satisfying and engaging read It has a glamour about it that puts me in mind of an English period drama combined with Casablanca To me the romance between Stella Myles and Rafe Ainsworth is of a grand and sweeping nature doomed from the outset yet still holding you in its thrall from start to finish uiet hopes for a different outcome whispering in the wings  If I have any criticism of this book it's that I felt it finished too uickly Events culminated rather rapidly towards the end of the book and then it was all over with a time jump of five years for the last chapter I felt the absence of those missing years and wished we had been treated to I was also dissatisfied with the direction taken for Grace Ainsworth I felt her sweetness was sacrificed for the sake of her sister Georgina's redemption but I think my feelings on this are tied up with my longing for from those missing yearsCharacter wise this was a novel populated by a variety of sorts all created to perfection Beatrice Ainsworth with her disdain and polished indifference; Georgina Ainsworth the very definition of a spoilt self centered horror; Grace Ainsworth a sweet and intelligent child bent on pleasing those around her yet caught in a family unable to appreciate her Stella herself was a worthy heroine her passion honesty intelligence uick wit and ever present consciousness was never tiring I liked her immensely Rafe on the other hand was like a kaleidoscope and I still feel by the end of the book that we never truly got to know him He was uite the intricate character so many sides to his personality all crafted with a particular purpose He was an expert at manipulation yet I still liked him I believe his love for Stella was true even when so much else about him wasn'tAll in all I think this was an excellent historical novel with an engaging story about interesting characters What could you ask for? #AWW2017

About the Author: Fiona McIntosh

Fiona writes best selling historical adventure romance alongside the heroic romantic often brutal fantasy she built her career upon She lives in Australia but freuently roams the world meticulously researching the locations and gathering material for her historical novels that have international settings Her books are published worldwide and in various languages Her most recent historical fi

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