Book review: One Last Dance by Judith Lennox
Imagine an ancient country mansion, carved out of its landscape and perched on a blustery headland on the windswept coast of Devon…
This is Rosindell, seat of the upper class Reddaway family and star of a sweeping, spellbinding saga that takes us from the First World War to the closing decades of the 20th century.
Judith Lennox, author of a string of enchanting, nostalgic novels, knows how to put passion and humanity into storytelling and this compelling blend of history, romance and intrigue is the perfect partner for dark autumn nights.
Heartbreak, betrayal and the unravelling of dark secrets form the backbone of a dramatic tale that pitches two very different sisters into a rivalry that will touch their lives forever and echo down the years.
Esme Langdon was always the plain, ‘less favoured’ daughter, relegated to hovering on the edge of the ballroom while her cool, glamorous sister Camilla, armed with a reckless smile and natural beauty, gathered men like moths round a flame.
So it was no surprise when dashing Captain Devlin Reddaway, on leave from the trenches of the First World War, fell passionately in love with Camilla despite a history of distrust between their two families.
Before heading back to France, Devlin pledged to Camilla that when the war ended, they would marry and just for her, he would restore to its former glory his crumbling Devon family home Rosindell, once famous for its magnificent summer balls.
But the war changes everything and in 1918, Devlin returns to England to find that Camilla is engaged to someone else. Angry, hurt and vengeful, his life inadvertently becomes tangled up with Camilla’s younger sister Esme who has been secretly in love with him for years.
For purely practical reasons, Devlin marries Esme who tries to win his heart by reviving Rosindell’s annual summer dance but, as the years pass, she fears the house has a malign influence on those who live there.
The revelation of a shocking secret on the night of a Rosindell dance tears Esme’s life apart and decades later, she knows that the time has arrived when she must finally lay the ghosts of the house and the past to rest…
Lennox is a skilful, perceptive writer, using a vivid canvas for her rich assortment of characters, a hauntingly beautiful house built on dreams and memories, and a story that puts the eternal ties of love, home and family at its heart.
Curl up and enjoy…
(Headline Review, paperback, £7.99)